Arms Control Today

Linked with Judge C. G. Weeramantry – Sri Lanka, with Weeramantry International Centre For Peace Education and Research, and with Arms Control Association.

Nuclear weapons play a dominant role in shaping today’s world. They encourage their possessors to adopt overbearing attitudes toward their neighbors. They ground international negotiations in power and terror rather than harmony and goodwill. They divide the world into two groups, the nuclear and the non-nuclears, with a huge class distinction between them.

In the sphere of international law, they override the entire system through their very existence, which is in total violation of its fundamental precepts. They undermine international law by creating the impression that there is one law for the nuclear-weapon states and another for the non-nuclear-weapon states. In effect, they enable their possessors to tell the non-nuclear-weapon states that they had better behave themselves and not seek to acquire nuclear weapons, for that is a total contravention of international law except when it is done by the nuclear weapon states. They are an open declaration to the world that possession of nuclear weapons is the prerogative of the nuclear powers, who have a legitimate right to possess them and to refine them even further. They have the right to keep them in their arsenals as a threat and a deterrent. They even have the right to proclaim openly that they can use them in a first strike against a nation that is ignoring or violating international law. (full text).

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