Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Iran Call for Nuclear Abolition by 2025 is Unreported by New York Times

Logo of the Non-Aligned Movement
(photo: Wikipedia)
This guest blog was written by Alice Slater.

The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), formed in 1961 during the Cold War, is a group of 120 states and 17 observer states not formally aligned with or against any major power bloc.  The NAM held its opening 2012 session yesterday under the new chairmanship of Iran, which succeeded Egypt as the Chair.

Significantly, an Associated Press story in the Washington Post headlined, “Iran opens nonaligned summit with calls for nuclear arms ban”, reported that “Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi opened the gathering by noting commitment to a previous goal from the nonaligned group, known as NAM, to remove the world’s nuclear arsenals within 13 years. ‘We believe that the timetable for ultimate removal of nuclear weapons by 2025, which was proposed by NAM, will only be realized if we follow it up decisively,’ he told delegates.”

Friday, August 10, 2012

Prisoner's Dilemma Applied to International Treaty Interpretation

            Two prisoners are brought into a precinct.  Separately, the individuals are approached by an attorney to negotiate a ‘deal’ for prison length.  These prisoners are presented with options: defect or cooperate.  In defecting, prisoner A rats out prisoner B.  In cooperating, prisoner A does not rat out prisoner B, in assumption (or hope) that prisoner B will also cooperate.  Prisoner B is given mirrored options.  The payoffs depend on the option the prisoners choose.  If prisoner A betrays B while B cooperates, prisoner A comes out on top; if both prisoners cooperate, they both win- a mutual benefit; when both rat out each other, both lose; and, when prisoner A cooperates, but B betrays, prisoner A loses.  If this sounds familiar, it is because it is a popularized international relations (IR) theory coined as the Prisoner’s Dilemma, and stems from rational choice-Game Theory in political science academia.  In recent, however, this dilemma has found scholarship in explaining international law of treaties. 
            Because there is no domineering international legislature or centralized lawmakers, it remains very difficult to implement international law.  Thus, treaties become monumental in maintaining international harmony and cooperation.  They can be thought of as an international public service/good. 
            As mentioned, treaties are designed to encourage international relations among nations.  Therefore, when nations became signatory to a treaty (and upon ratification of a treaty), they make a public commitment to abide by its rules/articles. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Call for Peace from Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Nagasaki Peace Bell

At 8:15 am, on August 6, the Peace Bell at the Hiroshima Peace Park begins ringing, and people closing their eyes start praying for the victims of atomic bombings as well as for world peace without nuclear weapons. Another bell rings in Nagasaki at 11:02 am on August 9.

Last summer, I visited Nagasaki and attended the peace ceremony for the first time. Despite hot and humid weather of summer in Nagasaki, many people came to the Peace Memorial Park, including hibakusha (A-bomb survivors), politicians, students, children, and people from other countries. I was outside of the main place when I heard the peace bell ringing. With complete silence in the park, the deep sounds of the bell were only resonating as if it was carrying all the memories of the A-bomb victims and our prayers for world peace.  

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Unnecessary Bombing of Hiroshima: 67 Years Later

Today marks the 67th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima. August 6th, 1945 is day in which violence, hate, and patriarchic posturing led to the unnecessary death of hundreds of thousands of people. While the actions of the American government are often described as regrettable, unfortunate, and horrific, we also celebrate these bombings either through claiming their necessity or in the indoctrination of false history for our children within their schools.

Are bombs really an answer to our problems? This blog will describe two scenarios, one fictional and one historical, which prove nuclear weapons are not a solution to international conflict.

Nuclear Weapons Were Not Needed in Japan

Growing up in school I was always taught the Japanese war effort was still strong going into the summer of 1945; that a full land invasion of Tokyo would be required for the allies to cause Japan to submit. It is this logic that is used to justify the intolerable use of nuclear weapons on the civilians of Japan. This could not be further from the truth. Admiral William D. Leahy, the President's Chief of Staff, wrote in his memoir that, “The use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender.”1

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Story of Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes

The Story of Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes

August is a bittersweet month. It is the month in which we mournfully remember the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and August 9 during the final stages of World War II. The nuclear weapons, developed and deployed by the United States, brought complete obliteration to the two cities and killed approximately 200,000 Japanese from both immediate and long-term effects. Most of the Japanese who fell victim to the nuclear weapons were innocent civilians. The laws of war and ethical standards were shattered, and the United States set a precedent of nuclear proliferation. Yet, although August is the month in which we reflect on the horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it is also the month in which worldwide peace efforts that stemmed from such tragedy are celebrated. The story of Sadako Sasaki is one story that has inspired generations to pursue a peaceful and just world.
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