On 20 September, the day after President Trump presents a scenario of nuclear war in the United Nations, threatening to “totally destroy North Korea”, the “Treaty on the Prohibition on Nuclear Weapons”, opens for signature at the United Nations. Voted by a majority of 122 states, this treaty imposes on contracting states:
• A prohibition on manufacturing or possessing nuclear weapons;
• A prohibition on using or even threatening to use nuclear weapons; and
• A prohibition on transferring or receiving nuclear weapons either directly or indirectly.

The overriding aim of the treaty is to completely eliminate nuclear weapons. On the first day itself, the Treaty was signed by 50 states, including Venezuela, Cuba, Brazil, Mexico, Indonesia, Thailand, Bangladesh, the Philippines, the State of Palestine, South Africa, Nigeria, the Congo, Algeria, Austria, Ireland and the Holy See (which ratified it the same day). The Treaty will enter into force, once it has been ratified by 50 states.

But the day on which it opened for signature is the same day Nato resoundingly slammed it. The North Atlantic Council (composed of representatives of the 29 Nato member states)’s declaration made on 20 September, maintains that:
“a treaty that is not binding on any state possessing nuclear weapons, will not be effective, nor will it increase security or international peace, but will risk securing the opposite: the creation of divisions and divergences” [1].

Thus without beating up the bush, Nato makes it clear that:
“we will not accept any provision contained in the treaty”.

Thus the North Atlantic Council robs the national parliaments of its member states of their role, depriving them of their sovereignty to reach an independent decision on whether to adhere to the UN Treaty on the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons. Furthermore, Nato announces that:
“We will call our partners and all the countries inclined to support the treaty to seriously reflect on its implications” (read: we will blackmail them to ensure they neither sign nor ratify the treaty).

The North Atlantic Council confirms that:
“the fundamental aim of Nato’s nuclear capability is to preserve peace and to discourage aggression” and that “as long as there are nuclear weapons, Nato will remain a nuclear alliance”.

But Nato ensures
“Nato’s firm commitment for the full application of the Treaty on Non-Nuclear Proliferation”.

Yet a fact among others that violates this treaty is that the US B-61 nuclear bombs are stationed in five non-nuclear countries: Italy, Germany, Belgium, Holland and Turkey. The new nuclear bombs, B61-12, that from 2020 will replace the B61, are now in the final stages of their manufacturing. Once stationed, they will be able to be “transported by heavy bombers and by airplanes with dual capacity” (non-nuclear and nuclear).

In 2018, US spending on nuclear weapons sharply increases by 15% compared to 2017. On 18 September, the US Senate earmarked around 700 billion dollars for the Pentagon’s 2018 budget, 57 billion more than what the Trump Administration requested. This is thanks to the bipartisan vote. The Democrats that criticize the war-mongering tones of President Trump, have by-passed him when the issue is deciding military expenditure: in the Senate, 90% of the Democrat Representatives have voted with the Republicans to increase the Pentagon’s budget by more than Trump had requested. So, 700 billion was allocated. 640 billion will be used to purchase new arms – notably strategic arms for nuclear attack– and to the increased costs of soldiers’ salaries; the remaining 60 billion will be used for military operations in Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq and elsewhere.

The escalation of US military expenditure drives increases in the other members of the US-led Nato. This includes Italy. Italy’s military expenditure should spike from the current figure of 70 million euro per day to 100 million euro per day. Democratically decided, as in the USA, by a bipartisan vote.

Anoosha Boralessa
Il Manifesto (Italy)