Can the World Be Free of Weapons?

By Brenna Sullivan

Writers Anna Nigmatulina and Shakeeb Asrar give a historical timeline on the use and methodology of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD’s), ranging from biological weapons to nuclear weapons to landmines and other explosives, in their article “Can the World be Free of Weapons.” Since 1960, there have been 14 nuclear treaties and eight conventional weapons treaties among other types of treaties. Under the guise of “2017 Disarmament Week”,  from October 24-30, the members of the United Nations were called to highlight the danger of the arms race, propagate the need for its cessation and increase public understanding of the urgent tasks of disarmament. It is efforts such as these treaties that led the authors to their ending question: can modern warfare be regulated? While the use of WMD’s seems to be nearly halving itself with each passing treaty, ultimately, the better question to ask is: can the integrity of world leaders be regulated?

We rely on treaties as methods to securing peace among the world’s nation-states. However, treaties are no more than pledges for honesty, transparency, and ultimately, trust. We have to trust that a leader and citizens of their country aren’t going to produce any more weapons of mass destruction. We have to trust that a leader is going to destroy the weapons of mass destruction they do have. We have to trust that a leader isn’t going to lash out in a moment of despair and wield this unauthorized, potentially fatal power. We live in times where the leaders of two nuclear-armed nations are insulting each other through media and could destroy half of the world as we know it in a moment’s notice of rage. While there are consequences for breaking treaties, what is being tried for a war crime when you have the capability of global destruction?

As humans, we have evolved so far that we have cultivated the intelligence to innovate technology strong enough to erase ourselves completely. Rather than being impressed by this, we should be disheartened. It is during times like these that we must call to the values of cooperation, benevolence, and therefore peace in order to prevent power from continuing to become our weakness.

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