5 Days Remaining
Pic: Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament

Friday 6th
posted by Morning Star in Editorial

Campaigning for a world free of nuclear weapons has never been more necessary

AWARDING the Nobel Peace Prize to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) is welcome for rehabilitating the Norwegian Nobel Committee’s reputation and for emphasising the danger posed by these armaments.

The committee has a history of inappropriate awards, most notably to former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger.

Just last year it gave the prize to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos to mark the country’s peace process while omitting the Farc liberation forces without whom he would have had no negotiating partner.

Still, credit where it’s due, the committee’s timing is immaculate given the menace posed by the US administration’s brinkmanship over relations with North Korea and Iran.

US media is speculating that President Donald Trump plans to announce some provocative action, possibly military, next week.

After dinner and discussions with senior military leaders at the White House on Thursday, he asked waiting media to guess the significance of their gathering.

“Maybe it’s the calm before the storm,” he suggested, teasing the media by replying to questions by saying: “You’ll find out.”

If he had been planning military strikes against North Korea, they might well have taken place by now already.

The longer the tension over the Korean peninsula has played out, the more the Pyongyang regime has tested and improved its arsenal, ensuring that a pre-emptive strike against North Korea would be met with retaliation against US and South Korean targets.

More likely is that Trump will signify his intention to pull the plug on the Iran nuclear deal, thus empowering the US Congress to reinstate economic sanctions on Iran.

His pretext for doing so is that the deal negotiated by the Barack Obama administration undermines US security interests.

The US president has previously declared that Tehran “supports terrorism and exports violence and chaos across the Middle East. That is why we must put an end to Iran’s continued aggression and nuclear ambitions. You will be hearing about Iran very shortly.”

The fact that none of this is true is irrelevant. Trump’s diatribe echoes the position of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who urged Barrack Obama not to sign the agreement and has not relented in efforts to persuade Trump to walk away from it.

The current president portrays himself as Israel’s greatest friend and is happy to retain a US ambassador to Tel Aviv who insists that only 2 per cent of Palestine’s West Bank is under zionist occupation.

Trump may anticipate broader political support if he plumps for Netanyahu’s belligerent stance, but the Iran nuclear deal is not a bilateral agreement. It is an international treaty under the auspices of the United Nations.

Apart from the US and Iran, Washington’s key European allies, together with Russia and China, are bound by it.

His Defence Secretary James Mattis has stated that he views the deal as in the US national interest, but Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has portrayed Tehran’s military backing for Syria as evidence of a failure to contribute positively to regional security, as though victory for Islamic State would have been preferable.

Trump’s infantile hints that military activity could be authorised some time next week confirm his erratic personality and reduce possible acts of war to a TV fake-reality game.

Anxiety about potential conflicts over Iran and Korea emphasises the need to campaign, along with ICAN, for the complete eradication of all nuclear weapons and, as Jeremy Corbyn says, “to avoid a nuclear apocalypse.”