Letter: Risk of nuclear weapons use grows with increasing arsenal

Organization asks that nuclear arms control and disarmament be made a national priority

The COVID-19 pandemic has given us a new understanding that the well-being of humankind is inextricably linked.

It could also serve as a cautionary tale that helps us appreciate the fragility of life and avoid threats to humankind that are within our control.

One such threat is the new nuclear arms race taking place as nuclear arms control treaties are abandoned.

The U.S. and Russia have withdrawn from the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. The U.S. refuses to extend the New START Agreement that limits U.S. and Russian strategic nuclear weapons. New scenarios for using nuclear weapons are being adopted.

In this context, the world’s leaders will gather for the 2020 Review of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), the cornerstone of efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. It obligates all nations to engage in negotiations towards the elimination of nuclear weapons.

Read more: Anti-nuke activists seek their own Greta, as Canada urged to push NATO on bombs

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But all nine nuclear weapons nations are modernizing and expanding their nuclear arsenals. Others, including Iran, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and even Japan signal that they too might develop nuclear weapons.

Experts around the world warn that the risk of deliberate or accidental use of nuclear weapons is higher now than it was during the Cold War.

The City of Salmon Arm is a member of the 7,689-city organization Mayors for Peace. Its main goal is a nuclear weapons-free world, and it sees a role for cities and engaged citizens toward achieving this goal.

The Salmon Arm Ecumenical KAIROS Committee is asking city council to write to federal government leaders urging that Canada make nuclear arms control and disarmament a national priority, and work towards achieving an international consensus that will save the Non-Proliferation Treaty when it comes up for Review at the United Nations.

Anne Morris

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