Negotiations on the prohibition of nuclear weapons must be enforced

Danger of an atomic war in Europe

rt. Since several years it is an open secret that the possibility of using nuclear weapons and thus of a nuclear war is increasing again from month to month. A possible trigger for this might be “events” in North Korea, Syria or Ukraine.
In the past few months, there are ongoing movements of weapons, war materials and soldiers taking place in the neighboring countries of Russia. There are new military NATO manoeuvers being carried out on the border of Russia, a nuclear power, and a military rearmament is notably being carried out. The tensions are purposely increased.To this development fits the latest announcement by Polish Defense Minister Michal Dworczyk that students in the country are to be trained militarily and 300 new army schools are to be established. Furthermore, the armed forces are being enlarged and the defense budget considerably increased (cf. dpa, from 26 April 2017). Similar developments are taking place in the Baltic and in the Nordic countries as well. The request of US Vice President Mike Pence at the Munich Security Conference in February was unmistakable. The NATO allies would have to increase their defense spending.
 One source of tension is the still unresolved conflict between Ukraine and the Donbass region. Since its beginning in February 2014, the conflict is steadily fueled from the outside. Despite the deployment of the OSCE and the Normandy talks a political solution is evidently prevented. No European country is interested in a further escalation of the situation.
If one imagines a sudden escalation of the conflict in this region or a preventive first strike of a nuclear power, the use of tactical and strategic nuclear weapons is becoming likely. The move towards nuclear retaliation could be the consequence. Nuclear weapons ready for use are deployed in Europe, Russia, France, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Turkey, and Italy. 90% of the world’s nuclear weapons are under Russian and American command.
The global impact of using atomic bombs is known for a long time: radioactive fallout all over the globe, atomic winter, irradiation for millennia, changes in the genetic material and finally destruction of all human life on earth. Hence, since 1945 mankind has struggled to ban and abolish nuclear weapons.
The impact of (even a “local”) nuclear war will hit every person on earth.
In the face of this situation, everyone, including any US citizen, even any holder of shares of an armaments company, any military worker or politician is summoned to have the courage to use their own minds and draw the logical conclusions.
Since an atomic war affects the existence of every person, urgent approaches have to be found. A conflict like in Ukraine must be solved, whether through bilateral or multilateral negotiations, through various peace building measures, or through the use of UN blue helmets.
Switzerland can make use of its neutral position in order to introduce the essential policy of mediation and negotiation and to make use its good offices. After all, Switzerland had been credibly and constructively acted in the Ukraine conflict during the OSCE presidency.     •

Preparing a nuclear battle field called Europe?

rt. As early as 1997, at the NATO summit taking place in Madrid, the former Warsaw Treaty states Poland, Czech Republic and Hungary were invited to join NATO for the first time. In 1999, Poland, Czech Republic and Hungary joined NATO. During the summit in Prague in November 2002, NATO invited Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia to accession talks. These countries joined NATO in 2004. At NATO’s Bucarest summit in April 2008, the accession of Albania and Croatia was agreed upon officially. Candidates that were offered further accession talks included Georgia and Ukraine.
In 2010, the US announced the development of a missile defence shield against Iran in Poland, Romania and Turkey. Despite a number of denials, it was well known that the development of this missile defence shield was hardly directed against Iran, but served the sole purpose of neutralizing Russia’s nuclear deterrence.
A geostrategic line with a possible battlefield called Europe begins to emerge.

Nuclear facts

rt. Since 1945, there are a few very simple facts to be taken into account when considering nuclear warfare:
–    a nuclear war is neither manageable nor winnable,
–    nuclear contamination has a global effect,
–    part of the nuclear radiation does not disappear until thousands of years later,
–    nuclear radiation affects everybody everywhere – mothers, children, fathers,
–    the United States will also be affected by a locally limited nuclear war,
–    the Earth’s southern hemisphere will be contaminated as well.

Withdrawal of all nuclear weapons in Germany

rt. In the German government’s 2009 coalition agreement (Merkel/Westerwelle) one issue raised is the demand to withdraw nuclear weapons in Germany: “[...] in the course of working on a strategic concept for NATO, we – within our alliance as well as facing our American allies­ – will strive toward a removal of the remaining nuclear weapons stationed in Germany.” This promise has not been fulfilled yet.