As U.S. President Donald Trump's looming withdrawal from a Cold War-era nuclear deal with Russia stokes fears of a new arms race, anti-nuclear activists on Monday launched a new monitoring resource to track compliance with the historic 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), which campaigners optimistically predict could come into force as early as next year.
The world's nine nuclear-armed nations have continued to fight against it since 122 countries adopted the landmark U.N. agreement last year. So far, only 19 have ratified it, according to the Nuclear Weapons Ban Monitor produced by Norwegian People's Aid (NPA), a partner of the
Today, we’re launching the Nuclear Weapons Ban Monitor, which tracks progress towards the entry into force, universalization and implementation of the #nuclearban. Find the full report on: https://t.co/i7L1GA7zG6 pic.twitter.com/88EIIxZTN4
— Nuclear Weapons Ban Monitor (@BanMonitor) October 29, 2018
"We're pushing for getting 50 ratifications by the end of 2019," ICAN executive director Beatrice Fihn told Reuters. The treaty will enter force 90 days after the 50th state ratifies it.
"We have about 25, 30 countries that say that they will be ready by the end of 2019, so it's definitely possible," said Fihn, whose group was awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize "for its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons."
While there is widespread support for the TPNW, NPA's Grethe Østern, editor of the monitor, explained that "nuclear-armed states and some of their allies are trying to prevent the ban treaty from becoming international law. But the ban treaty is well on its way to entering into force. It has broad support in all regions of the world apart from Europe."
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However, Trump's decision to ditch the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty (INF)—a move lobbied for by warmongering National Security Adviser John Bolton—could impact European opposition. As Fihn pointed out, the INF treaty outlawed missiles that were "meant to wipe out cities in Europe." As Trump and Bolton have doubled down on withdrawal plans, many experts have warned the move will likely alienate European allies.
As the world braces for a new arms race between the United States and Russia, the monitor is measuring each nation's progress related to the ratification process and adherence to the treaty's ultimate principles.
According to the monitor report (pdf) released Monday:
Today, 157 states—four-fifths of the world's 197 states—have rejected any role for nuclear weapons in their security policies. This includes the 127 TPNW supporters and 30 other non-nuclear-armed states. A minority of 40 states—one-fifth of the world's states—explicitly base their security on the possession and potential use of nuclear weapons: the nine nuclear-armed states of China, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPR Korea), France, India, Israel, Pakistan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States; and 31 states which the Nuclear Weapons Ban Monitor refers to as "nuclear-weapon-endorsing states."
In other words, despite nuclear-armed nations' efforts to retain and even build up their arsenals, as the report concluded, "Nuclear-weapon-free security strategies are the norm, not the exception."