To say that nuclear weapons will never be rid of is defeatism

United Nations ambassador Jayantha Dhanapala presented a humanist approach to the topic of Nuclear disarmament, reminding us that 8,000 nuclear weapons could destroy the world in a moment’s notice.

His lecture on May 12 at the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) was entitled “Global Nuclear Challenges and Multilateral Responses.”

Two motifs that were present throughout the lecture were United States President Barack Obama’s stance on nuclear weapons and the odds of sheer luck.

In the struggle towards disarmament, Dhanapala supported Obama and his efforts towards disarmament. He believes that as a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) member, Canadians should support Obama’s endeavours.

In approaching disarmament, Dhanapala said, “What we require is actual destruction of nuclear weapons.”

Dhanapala is a member of the Global Zero action plan, which consists of leaders in business, politics, military and faith, which began this past February.

In essence, the goal of this plan is to reach complete destruction of all nuclear weapons by 2030.

This 20-year action plan gradually reduces the amount of nuclear weapons being held by each nation instead of destroying all of them.

Dhanapala believes it is a concrete achievement and suggested that “to say that nuclear weapons will never be rid of is defeatism.”

His philosophy is that if people believe the spread of nuclear weapons is inevitable, the use of nuclear weapons is inevitable.

Throughout the lecture, Dhanapala returned to the fact that we haven’t experienced nuclear disaster due to luck. In light of close-calls in Scotland and other countries involving nuclear weapons, including the recent collision of a French and English submarine containing nuclear materials, it was luck that kept situations like these from ending in catastrophe.

There are many factors that increase the likelihood of nuclear weapon use. As Dhanapala explained, these factors included the design, accidents and the hostile intentions involving the use of nuclear weapons and nuclear materials and by terrorist groups or a nation.

“The world cannot continue in its present state of nuclear haves and have-nots,” said Dhanapala.

However, as he later stressed, “[The] danger of nuclear weapons being used today is far greater than it was in the Cold War.”

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