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So what, the cynic may say - the nuclear weapon states have ignored the World Court opinion, as they have ignored Article VI of the NPT. The cynic can make a good case here. Five years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, in 1994, the Pentagon completed its Nuclear Posture Review, which made unmistakably clear that the US remains committed to a large arsenal and to doctrines of massive retaliation and first use. By 1995, it was also well established that the US intended, through the Stockpile Stewardship program of computer simulations, subcritical tests, laser fusion generated explosions, etc., to maintain nuclear superiority indefinitely, with or without underground testing. The 1996 ICJ opinion has produced no change in official discourse in Washington, as dramatically illustrated by the Senate non-debate on the CTBT. The defeat of the CTBT in the Senate reflected in large part the doubts of Republican senators that Stockpile Stewardship is adequate to achieve the objective of nuclear superiority, but the objective itself was not questioned by any party to the debate, including the Clinton Administration. Other aspects of the Washington political climate in this decade: The US could not even have a truthful, searching discussion of its atomic bombings of cities in Japan, and members of Congress continue to assert triumphantly that the nuclear threat won the Cold War. I do not believe that historical research will bear out this assertion, but even if it was true, it is hardly a matter for jubilation.

Despite all this, the law as stated by World Court is penetrating discussion of these issues, slowly to be sure, not only in the United Nations General Assembly or among small abolitionist groups, but also in mainstream "arms control" NGOs in Washington and in Congressional caucuses. Stated another way, in the US, law is beginning to move from traffic courts to the halls of Washington.


Another resource, sometimes not fully appreciated, is found among ourselves, in civil society. Let me give some examples.

In the United States, demonstrations at the Nevada Test Site involved thousands of people at a time, with as many as 2000 people arrested at a time. These demonstrations were little noticed by the media and apparently by the US government, but they probably did make some difference in US policy calculations - remember US testing was stopped in 1992. And the Nevada Test Site demonstrations were definitely noticed in Kazakhstan, where a powerful anti-nuclear movement succeeded in shutting down the principal Soviet test site in Semipalatinsk. That campaign was named the Nevada-Semipalatinsk Movement, in recognition of the link with demonstrations in the United States!

In 1991, the Partial Test Ban Treaty Amendment Conference took place at the United Nations in New York. While this treaty banning tests everywhere except underground was not amended at the conference, the conference did isolate the United States. Soon thereafter, the US Congress enacted a moratorium on testing, and negotiations on a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty began in Geneva at the Conference on Disarmament. The Partial Test Ban Treaty Amendment Conference was initiated by Parliamentarians for Global Action, a non-governmental organization, though its members are parliamentarians, in a several year campaign in the late 1980s. Despite the refusal of the US Senate to approve the CTBT in 1999, I believe that full-scale underground nuclear testing is on its way out, that a global non-testing norm is emerging. We must ensure that this norm becomes firmly entrenched, and also challenge forms of laboratory testing and development that nuclear weapon establishments are using to replace underground testing.

In the World Court Project, supported by over 700 groups worldwide, civil society succeeded in inspiring and supporting Non-Alignment Movement countries which obtained the advisory opinion on nuclear weapons from the International Court of Justice.

In the Middle Powers Initiative, international disarmament NGOs have launched a campaign to support and embolden non-nuclear weapons countries, like the New Agenda Coalition, in their efforts to inject some life into the nuclear disarmament process.

Scientists, lawyers, and former diplomats, coordinated by the Lawyers' Committee on Nuclear Policy, drafted a Model Nuclear Weapons Convention, which subsequently was circulated in the United Nations by Costa Rica. The model convention sets out the institutional framework for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear forces.

In 1995, the Abolition 2000 Global Network was formed at the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Extension and Review Conference, immediately attracting the adherence of 200 groups around the world. The Network today comprises almost 1500 1400 groups worldwide. Its program remains the same, including:

* commence multilateral negotiations leading towards the early conclusion of a nuclear weapons convention; * de-alert, de-mate, and disable nuclear forces globally; * cease the design and development of nuclear weapons; * commit to non-use of nuclear weapons and reject deterrence; * move away from reliance on nuclear power providing the infrastructure and materials for weapons programs, including through the establishment of an International Sustainable Energy Agency.

In January 1997, Abolition 2000 held its annual meeting on the island of Moorea, in Polynesia (Tahiti), a year after the end of French testing there. The meeting was hosted by Hiti Tau, a local network of NGOs dedicated to supporting indigenous culture, anti-nuclear activism and support for test site workers and other victims of testing, independence, and economic self-sufficiency, including through enterprises like vanilla and manoi (coconut) oil cooperatives. Women are well represented among the Hiti Tau leadership.


In her essay "The End of Imagination," Arundhati Roy refers to the need to pursue beauty to its lair.

When I was at Nevada Test Site for demonstrations, in the wild desert, at times I was overwhelmed by the beauty.

In Tahiti, the constant presence of the ocean was a powerful, disturbing and beautiful reminder that humanity is only a part of the world.

Here among you, I experience also the beauty of being among fellow creatures.

So I wish us all a good conference.

Los Alamos Study Group • 2901 Summit Place NE • Albuquerque, NM 87106 • ph 505-265-1200

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