Let’s look at the example of the UK, whose leader in 2003 helped initiate a catastrophic war based on the lie that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. On 18 July this year, the British parliament voted strongly in favour of renewing, at budget-breaking expense, the country’s own WMD program, the Trident nuclear submarines. The new British PM Theresa May confirmed that she would be prepared to press the button that unleashes them. No doubt she is aware that when Trident was chosen in 1980 as a replacement for its predecessor, Polaris, it was estimated to be capable of killing up to 10 million Russians.
If however a ban treaty were already in place, the pressure that could have been exerted for Britain to abandon these horrific weapons is likely to have been overwhelming. To vote to renew a WMD program is bad enough, but to do so when the vast majority of the world’s governments have banned these weapons because they are immoral and illegitimate could prove one step too far.
If we’re serious about a nuclear weapons free world, it is imperative that the current momentum for a ban treaty is not lost. The nuclear armed states and supporters such as Australia are doing their best to undermine it. From the perspective of the rest of the world however, criminals are not the best people to have control of the law