Ican, the latest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, is wrong to think that
the Italian MPs of the government majority had been committed to convince
their Nato partners to give up nuclear weapons. The fact of the matter is
that the commitments the Nato member states make are purely formal: it is
the atomic bombs that form the basis for their security.

“Nato has traditionally been flexible for the wishes of its members, and
open to opt-outs from specific policy areas, such as nuclear planning”:
so declares an article that appeared on the Ican website [1]. Ican is an
international coalition of non-governmental organizations which has quite
deservedly been honoured with the Nobel Prize for Peace 2017.

This article would imply that Italy would have Nato’s permission to
become a party to the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
“More than 200 Members of Parliament from most Italian parties have
signed the ICAN parliamentary pledge and thereby committed themselves “to
work for the signature and ratification” of the nuclear ban by the
Italian Government. The largest group of signatories comes from the main
governing party, the Partito Democratico”.

Therefore it would be an Italy which – after violating the Non
Proliferation Treaty by hosting US nuclear weapons and getting ready to use
US nuclear weapons – is now, thanks to an initiative headed by Pd
parliamentarians, ready to sign and ratify the UN treaty. This treaty at
Paragraph 4, establishes:
“Each State Party that has any nuclear weapons in its territory,
possessed or controlled by another State, shall ensure the prompt removal
of such weapons.” [2]

It would then be an Italy that, thanks to a “flexible” Nato, removes
from its own territory the US B 61 nuclear bombs and refuses to station on
its territory the new B61-12. An Italy that inches further away from the
group of countries that – establishes Nato – “provide air planes
fitted out to transport nuclear bombs, over which the United States
maintains its absolute control, and staff trained for this purpose”; an
Italy that, remaining part of Nato, withdraws at the same time from the
Nuclear Planning Group of member states chaired by the United States.

Furthermore, the article adds,
“Italy is willing to play a leading role within NATO in clarifying that
there is no inherent contradiction between the North Atlantic Treaty and
the prohibition of nuclear weapons / Italy is now well-positioned to
advance the conversation on the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear
Weapons within the NATO alliance.”
It would thus be an Italy that, as well as bringing about its own nuclear
disarmament, would promote Nato’s denuclearization. But Nato is an
alliance that, in the strategy adopted unanimously (i.e. by Italy as well),
considers “strategic nuclear forces, particularly those of the United
States, the supreme guarantee of security”.

We are not questioning the good faith of those who published the article on
the basis of the information obtained. However we say quite categorically
that an Italy and Nato of this type do not exist. The battle that has to be
faced to implement the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons is a
tough one. The obstacles placed in the way of fulfilling the treaty
objectives are gigantic. Such objectives emanate from the powerful and
pervasive interests of the military-industrial complex that stretches over
the entire Nato area.

The Italian government, together with the other 28 states of the North
Atlantic Council, has wholly rejected and attacked the UN treaty. For this
reason, the PD Parliamentarians, that have signed the Ican commitment
together with M5S MPs and others, should lead a political battle against
their own government and their own party from the front line, against
weaponizing (nuclear weapons as well) Nato once again. Who is available,
demonstrate your desire to do it.

However that is not enough. “Disarmament is not a subject for those
representing the works but it must become everyone’s business ”. So
says Father Renato Sacco, the National Coordinator of Pax Christi Italia
(il manifesto, 11 November). We need “a mobilization from the bottom,
from civil society but also from the parishes and Catholic communities, to
push the government to sign it”.
“Italy’s parliamentarians spearhead efforts to ratify ban treaty”,
Ican, October 25, 2017.

Anoosha Boralessa
Il Manifesto (Italy)

[2Translator’s note: official English translation of treaty.