According to SIPRI’s latest report, issued on Global day of Action on Military Spending, world military expenditure totaled $1.75 trillion in 2013, which amounted to 2.5% of world GDP. In 2011, it was estimated that $105.9 billion was spent on nuclear weapons, and a recent study from the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies shows that the US alone will spend over one trillion dollars over the next thirty years on maintaining, replacing, and upgrading existing nuclear weapons systems.
We are repeatedly assured by the nuclear-armed states that a gradual, step-by-step approach to disarmament is the only way forward, and any alternative initiatives are ‘distractions’ that threaten to derail the ‘progress’ made. However, nuclear-armed states continuously redefine any agreed disarmament objectives, throwing up smoke screens and pouring millions of taxpayer dollars into weapons that would cause an instant humanitarian catastrophe if ever detonated.
With the existence of nuclear weapons there is always the chance of an accident – Eric Schlosser’s recent book Command and Control makes it clear that the US grossly under-reported the number of serious accidents involving nuclear weapons. In many instances it was either extraordinary bravery or sheer luck that prevented the unthinkable from happening. Lest we think that the lessons have been learned, we need only refer to the seemingly endless list of scandals involving those tasked with the supervision of nuclear weapons. Meanwhile, policies of “nuclear deterrence” and military doctrines of nuclear-armed states make the use of nuclear weapons an ongoing potential threat.
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