Anti-Nuclear Group Wins Nobel Peace Prize, Say’s Nuclear War Is ‘A Tantrum Away’

On Sunday, the winners of the Nobel Peace Prize, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (Ican), warned mankind’s destruction caused by a nuclear war is just one “impulsive tantrum away“, referring to the ongoing situation on the Korean Peninsula.

Tensions on the peninsula have heated up to a boiling point, as Pyongyang has launched ballistic missiles and conducted nuclear tests in 2017. At the end of November, Pyongyang shocked the world when it launched an ICBM that can hit anywhere in the Continental US (see: “It Can Reach Washington, DC”: Latest North Korean ICBM Can Hit Anywhere In The Continental US.) To make matters worse, in a direct response, the U.S. with its South Korean partners launched the largest ever military drills with 16,000 troops and 230 jets, to simulate a war the North Korea.

“Will it be the end of nuclear weapons, or will it be the end of us?” Ican head Beatrice Fihn said in a speech at the Oslo peace prize ceremony on behalf of the anti-nuclear group.

“The only rational course of action is to cease living under the conditions where our mutual destruction is only one impulsive tantrum away,” Fihn said. “Nuclear weapons are a madman’s gun held permanently to our temple.”

Ican, a coalition of 468 partners in 101 countries around the world, works as a collective effort for a treaty banning nuclear weapons. In July of this year, Ichan led the campaign for a global treaty banning nuclear weapons that resulted in a UN treaty being adopted, which is committed to never “develop, test, produce, manufacture, otherwise acquire, possess or stockpile nuclear weapons”. One hundred and twenty-three countries voted for the treaty at the UN general assembly, but only 56 countries have signed up to it and three have ratified it.

According to Yahoo, western nuclear powers sent second ranking diplomats to Sunday’s event rather than their ambassadors— breaking tradition in an apparent snub.

The text was weakened by the absence of the nine nuclear powers among the signatories. In an apparent snub of the ICAN-backed treaty, the three western nuclear powers — the US, France and Britain — broke with tradition by sending second-ranking diplomats rather than their ambassadors to Sunday’s ceremony.

Berit Reiss-Andersen, chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, said in her speech during the ceremony that Ican’s “message resonates with millions of people who perceive that the threat of nuclear war is greater than it has been for a long time, not least due to the situation in North Korea”.

On Saturday, a Senior UN envoy Jeffrey Feltman warned the tension between Pyongyang and Washington are at dangerous levels, which could trigger a conflict. The war of words between Kim and Trump have undeniably been amusing, taunting one another in headlines and calling each other names, but on a much serious note— tensions are at all times highs. 

“A moment of panic or carelessness, a misconstrued comment or bruised ego could easily lead us unavoidably to the destruction of entire cities,” Fihn said.

The wider problem

  • Nations with nuclear weapons: United States, Russia, Britain, France, China, Israel, India, Pakistan, North Korea
  • Nations hosting nuclear weaponsBelgium, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Turkey
  • Nations in nuclear alliances: Albania, Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain (plus the five host nations)

In a last-ditch effort to prevent nuclear war with Pyongyang and Washington, the international community has come together in the attempt to implement a global nuclear arms ban. The one question we ask: is it too late?