CPG Conference in Halifax, 23-26 July 2017
Registration is now open for our 60th anniversary conference, "Canada's Contribution to Global Security".
We'd also like to invite you to two concurrent events: a day trip to Thinkers Lodge in Pugwash village on 26 July, which can be booked here on Eventbrite, and the Vern Theissen play Pugwash, which runs from July 5-30 at Ships Company Theatre in Parrsboro. More information here.
Published 20 March 2017 at https://www.sipri.org/commentary/essay/2017/2017-year-which-nuclear-weapons-could-be-banned
At the end of 2016, the General Assembly of the United Nations voted by a large majority (Resolution 71/258 of 23 December 2016) to convene in 2017 a UN conference to negotiate a ‘legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination’. The result of the vote was 113 in favour, 35 against and 13 abstentions. Four of the five nuclear weapon states—France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States—voted against, along with the majority of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) states plus Australia, Israel, Japan and South Korea, all of which rely on US nuclear guarantees. Interestingly, North Korea voted in favour. Those abstaining included China (the only nuclear weapon state that did not vote against), India, the Netherlands, Pakistan and Switzerland.
http://ipolitics.ca/2017/03/30/is-a-world-without-nuclear-weapons-possible Thursday, March 30th, 2017
This week, the United Nations began negotiations to create “a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination.” The goal, in other words, is to make the possession of nuclear weapons illegal.
These negotiations are the culmination of lengthy and energetic efforts by the international nuclear disarmament community, including in Canada, to rid the world of nuclear weapons once and for all. The belief is that making nuclear weapons illegal could contribute to their eventual demise. The negotiations are born of frustration — of a sense that nuclear states have done little to live up to their legal commitments to get rid of these weapons.
Artistes pour la Paix et Pugwash Canada (document de Pierre Jasmin) 2017-03-23
Peace, still a Canadian value?
Canada has gained respect throughout the world for choosing to work for the common good and real democracy, rather than follow the paths of militarism, colonialism and corporate domination. For example:
- The 1957 Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Lester B. Pearson’s vision of the UN blue helmets;
- 1957, also: The first meeting of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs hosted in Nova Scotia by Canadian millionnaire Cyrus Eaton; Pugwash and Rotblat will receive the 1995 Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts against global nuclear arms’ threat;
- 1961: Foundation by the Alcocks of the Canadian Peace Research Institute – CPRI;
- 1963: John Diefenbaker’s opposition to Canada’s acquisition of nuclear weapons;
Toronto Star article by John Polanyi, 20 March 2017
At the dawn of the nuclear age, its principal architect, Robert Oppenheimer, spoke of a stable standoff between nuclear powers. They would be held back from attacking one another by mutual fear, instead circling endlessly “like a pair of scorpions trapped in a bottle.”
Subsequently, political scientist Albert Wohlstetter pointed out that this stability would be lost if a situation arose in which advantage accrued to the first to attack. Then deterrence would at best be “a delicate balance of terror.”
Unknown to most, the balance is today at its most delicate. President Trump has inherited from previous administrations a balance of power tilted so far in favour of the U.S. that it might be advised at some awful moment of crisis to resort to a “first strike.”
Maintaining peace between the superpowers under these conditions will demand the highest level of skill and restraint from the two leaders. The auguries for this are not promising, since the delicacy of the balance has been hidden from public view.