Good News Service #48: January 2017

10 Good News Stories published by Murray Thomson, O.C. [Good News Service #48]

  1. UN votes to outlaw nuclear weapons in 2017
  2.  AVAAZ : Attracts attention for more than 100 actions  on climate change, protecting wild-life, supporting refugees and saving the oceans.
  3. UN Manual seeks to protect Indigenous People from unwanted interventions on their lands and territories
  4. IFAD supports dairy farmers in Rwanda, and rural employment in conflict areas in Peru
  5. UN seeks to strengthen international humanitarian law
  6. Fix it! (…which begins with a confession from co-editor Randy)
  7. A swords into ploughshares story
  8. First Nations on the front lines
  9. Engaging the corporate world
  10. What about in Canada?

Trump’s Nuclear Weapon Policy: A loose cannon in the White House?

Following President-elect Donald Trump’s comments on U.S. nuclear capabilities over the holidays, 2017 begins with worrisome questions about his intentions.

By: Paul Meyer | January 3, 2017 | Originally published on opencanada.org

Recent utterances by President-elect Donald Trump on U.S. nuclear weapon policy have sent shock waves over the past two weeks through the international security community. Calling for the U.S. to “greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability,” his comments have prompted new concerns based on both his personality and his eventual policies.

How would this man respond to an international crisis or provocation? Would he seek paths of escalation or de-escalation? Would he rely on professional counsel or make his own decisions based on his mood that day or his selective, idiosyncratic processing of information?

These concerns are not entirely new. “Would you trust this man with the nuclear codes?” Hillary Clinton asked during the election campaign last year. The question resonated as Trump’s temperament, his impulsiveness and quickness to anger seemed ill-matched to the cool sobriety one would want to have in a Commander-in-Chief.

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Here’s how Canada can help eliminate nuclear weapons

From the Ottawa Citizen, 21 June 2016:

Disarmament ambassadors: Here’s how Canada can help eliminate nuclear weapons

Authors Marius Grinius, Peggy Mason, Paul Meyer, Douglas Roche and Christopher Westdal have each held the post of Canadian Ambassador for Disarmament, under four prime ministers.

Thirty years ago in Reykjavik, Iceland, U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev – almost – made a deal that would have led to the elimination of all nuclear weapons. The discussions foundered on Reagan’s insistence that the U.S. be allowed to develop a ballistic missile defence system.

Despite the 1986 failure, Reykjavik was one of the most important summits in history. A year later, the U.S. and Soviet Union signed the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), for the first time eliminating an entire class of nuclear weapons. The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) was signed a few years later.

Reykjavik projected the vision of a world without nuclear weapons. It showed how leaders could look beyond hostilities to build greater security for people around the world. The end of the Cold War quickly followed and hopes for global stability, if not peace, were raised.

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2016’s horrors, and hope for a more peaceful future

From the Edmonton Journal, 14 December 2016

Opinion: 2016 has been terrible, but there is hope for more peaceful future

By DOUGLAS ROCHE

It’s hard to think of a year in recent times when the world was in such disarray and people felt so fearful about the future. Christmas is supposed to rejuvenate us and revive our hope for peace, but Christmas 2016 seems to have an uphill climb.

Is it possible to hope for a peaceful world when mass shootings and acts of terrorism dominate the media, when refugees stream out of war zones and de-stabilize world politics, when 21st century cyberwarfare is underway, when global warming is producing extreme weather patterns and crop failures, when governments refuse to empower the United Nations to enforce peace? My answer is yes.

The false narrative of our times that the world is spinning out of control needs to be countered by a recognition that virtually every index by which we measure world progress is accelerating upwards. Commerce, technology, science, agriculture, renewable energy, medicine, communications, transportation, environmental protection, women’s rights, international law are all leaping forward.

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The Good News Service

The Good News Service is created by Murray Thomson, a long time member of Canadian Pugwash, now serving on the Executive Committee. He is also a major contributor to the Canadian’s for a Nuclear Weapons Convention initiative:

The Order of Canada is the country’s highest civilian honour and is the centrepiece of Canada’s honours system. It recognizes a lifetime of outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation. More than 1,000 recipients of the Order of Canada have joined an initiative led by John Polanyi, C.C., Douglas Roche, O.C., and Murray Thomson, O.C., calling for international negotiations to achieve a Nuclear Weapons Convention – a verifiable treaty on the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons.

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