I would imagine most readers of Medium stories are above average when it comes to knowledge of world affairs. Even so, the movement to ban nuke weapons, sometimes called Countdown to Zero (after the movie by that title, narrated by Valerie Plame of CIA fame), does not get much press, except for the Nobel Peace Prize. The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons won that award in 2017.
A centerpiece of the nuke weapons ban is the UN Ban Treaty, passed by the UN General Assembly and sent to member states for ratification. The non-nuclear nations by and large do not appreciate being held hostage by the nuclear states. The latter, through reckless behavior or a series of mistakes, have brought civilization to the brink of destruction numerous times, in addition to the intentional annihilation of two entire cities in Japan.
The threat of proliferation only gets worse. Understandably, most individual humans, asked for an opinion, would consider a post nuke weapons world to be a world worth aiming for, and by a process of enlightened abandonment, not because of a suicidal psychopathology. We get there by developing our smarts as a species (adaptation), not through nuclear war (self annihilation).
At the center of the campaign is the Iran Deal, as the hope is to stop proliferation in the Middle East. Unfortunately, Iran’s enemies need Iran to be a nuclear threat, as this serves as a rationale for attack. The same reasoning was behind the attack on Iraq, which did not have nuclear weapons, nor an active research program, but the rational voices telling us that were drowned out by those favoring an invasion.
The hope, among some, is to replay that tape with respect to Iran, and the Iran Deal is an inconvenience in that respect. If Iran keeps getting certified as abiding by the terms, by the signatories to the agreement, that detracts from those seeking an excuse to attack.
Given the invasion of Iraq was so obviously accomplished on the basis of false pretenses, one might expect world opinion to stay on the skeptical side going forward, with respect to accusations that Iran is actively developing nuclear weapons.
Furthermore, Iran has more to gain by siding with the Ban Treaty signatories in calling for a world ban on these weapons. That’s moral high ground in today’s world. The nuclear states, having failed to pursue non-proliferation successfully and always talking about modernizing, have lost the trust and respect of the non-nuclear states.
The Marshall Islands tried to get a lawsuit going, over non-proliferation treaty violations, unsuccessfully, but not without making its point. The Marshall Islands was another victim of an overt nuclear attack, known as “atmospheric testing” back in the day.
Without being a nuclear weapons state, or with serious ambitions in that regard, Iran still follows many policies which defy those of the so-called United States of America. I say “so called” because the states themselves are hardly united on the matter of what course to pursue, with many mayors and state legislatures endorsing the Ban Treaty as something the US Congress should debate and then sign.
In the current climate, however, those in control of the White House are flaunting their military superiority and see an opportunity to punish Iran for its defiance. It’s all a matter of finding the right reasons. The US public stands by rather helplessly, knowing it has little to no say over how its dictators choose to proceed. There’s no longer much belief that the US is a democracy, or that it even exists in other words.
But from day to day, there’s no choice but to toe the line and act as if it does. As a prison state, the US is still real enough.
Adding to the perception that the US is bankrupt and extinct, is the fact that one of its native geniuses said as much in the 1980s, and was subsequently awarded a Medal of Freedom. The so-called “free press” failed to see this development as headline worthy, which further eroded its credibility, such that by May of 2019, the time of this story, “fake news” is the new mantra, along with “post truth” society.
The events of September 11, 2001 were a nail in the coffin for many. Not that they happened, but that the NIST narrative was unable to withstand scrutiny. Apparently, 911 was a day of miracles, acts of God. No plan to bring down that many buildings with only two commercial jets had any reason to succeed so spectacularly.
Not knowing what to believe anymore, literate people with a hunger for reliable models, began casting about for new sources of news and analysis. The internet became their lifeline, but did not lead people to uniform conclusions. The process of manufacturing consensus became far more difficult.
The invasion of Iraq was undertaken without consensus. That the dictators in the District of Columbia were nevertheless able to maintain their grip on power, fed calculations that consensus didn’t matter anymore. What mattered, apparently, was control over the military and the police. The population may complain, and even take to the streets, but so what? Gun ownership is not a threat either, as the war is psychological. Pitting gun owners against those who would restrict gun ownership, became a way to keep people fighting among themselves.
Oregon has many longstanding connections with Iran, on many levels. Portland and Shiraz have been exploring forming a sister city relationship, based on a shared love of roses and gardens more generally. Iranian filmmakers tend to be well represented at Portland’s film festivals. People understand the bad blood between Iran and the former British empire.
Last night, Dr. Peter Bechtold of Portland State University gave us a summary of many years of history leading up to current events. He has traveled extensively in Sudan, knows about Libya and Iran. I was in the audience, though way in the back. Our family has had connections with Libya, long ago, and we got to tour in Iran. The Urners spent most their time in Egypt, where my dad worked for the Ministry of Planning. Dr. Bechtold’s briefing was very detailed and interesting. I blogged about his talk in Bizmo Diaries.
Dr. Mel Gurtov, also from Portland State, has been blogging and circulating his thinking about Iran among Thirsters, a group that overlaps Wanderers quite a bit.
Wanderers meets in the Linus Pauling Center for Science, Peace and Health, whereas Thirsters meets at a McMenamins on East Broadway.
Neither professor took up the Ban Treaty in particular in recent talks or blog posts, but its ongoing relevance is pretty obvious. The Portland Mayor’s Office and the Oregon State legislature both support it.