Those who want to rid the world of nuclear weapons can celebrate a milestone at the UN Friday—122 nations backed the first global treaty to ban them. The big caveat? The nine nations known to have a nuclear arsenal, including the US, boycotted the negotiations, reports the Guardian. So what's the point? Advocates say they hope that once the treaty is in force—which will formally happen when 50 nations ratify it later this year—the nations that currently have nukes will eventually come around.
- 'Starting point': “We don’t expect them to sign the treaty right now, but it’s a good starting point for changing perceptions," Beatrice Fihn of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons tells the New York Times. Indeed, the treaty includes language that would allow nuclear weapons states to join, reports the AP.
- The treaty: See the 10-page treaty here. Those who sign it promise not to develop, test, manufacture, or possess nuclear weapons. Nor would they allow any nuclear arms to be stationed within their borders.
- The vote: Of those nations that took part in the negotiations, 122 voted in favor and only one—the Netherlands, which has nuclear weapons from the US on its territory—voted against. Singapore abstained.
- US objection: “We have to be realistic,” said Nikki Haley, the American ambassador to the UN, earlier this year. "Is there anyone who thinks that North Korea would ban nuclear weapons?”
- All in favor: At National Geographic, Ari Beser assesses the pact and thinks it's long overdue. He channels Winston Churchill, saying that while this might not be the end of the age of nuclear weapons, "it is the end of the beginning of the battle to rid Earth of this terrible scourge."
- The 9 nations: 24/7 Wall St ranks the nine nations with nukes, ranging from No. 1 Russia, with 7,000 warheads, to No. 9 North Korea, with 10 to 20. The US is No. 2 with 6,800 warheads.
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