It’s certainly the dream of this site, and five years ago President Obama stated in a speech that it was his aim too. So with the backing of the most powerful man on the planet, how much closer are we to achieving that goal? Well the respected Stockholm International Peace Research Institute – SIPRI have recently released some findings to help us view what progress has been made.
What they found does not surprise us. Most of the nuclear armed states still spend huge amounts of money on weapons, mainly modernising their existing arsenals. There seems little inclination to reduce never mind get rid of nuclear or other mass destruction level weapons.
There has been a steady decline in the number of nuclear enabled warheads over the last decade or so. The report states that nine countries still possess over 16000 of these weapons, a fall of about 5%, but the rate of reduction is slowing markedly. There is certainly little evidence to suggest that at any level complete disarmament is a policy or strategic goal of any of the military units who hold such weaponry.
There is also little surprise in who holds the majority of these weapons, over 90% of the world’s nuclear weapons are held by the USA and Russia. It should be said that that the fall in global nuclear weapons however small was largely due to the treaties agreed to these two superpowers.
There are five officially recognised nuclear weapon states who are – USA, China, France, Russia and the United Kingdom. All the other nations who possess these weapons like North Korea exist outside the global non-proliferation treaty. There is great criticism for these countries for not doing more to focus on disarmament. This was a central goal of the agreement which all other member nations signed whilst agreeing not to pursue arming themselves with nuclear based weapons. Simply put there has been very little evidence of this happening.
The report focused on the USA and Russia who instead of investing heavily in reducing their nuclear weapons have spent much more on modernizing existing systems. Including upgrading delivery systems,warheads and the production facilities required to produce such weapons. The same seems to be happening in other countries, although numbers might be falling slightly – existing weapons are being upgraded and developed constantly.
There have been many reports about the policies in these countries which seem to do little to reduce overall numbers of nuclear weapons. There was previously very high levels of political pressure being applied in many of these countries towards disarmament – the UK media used to focus heavily on this in earlier times – now if you watch British TV abroad using the internet, you’ll be unlikely to see many mentions at all.
Joe Simpson writes on many blogs, websites and traditional periodicals.
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