The UN is running out of money and risks bankruptcy. Member states are not paying off their debts to the UN, notably the United States accountable for 22 per cent of the budget. Controlled by the major powers holding veto power (Russia, China, the United Kingdom, France and the United States), the United Nations Secretary-General Guterres claims for a reduction of expenses with a focus on non-staff costs to solve this vacuum. In the meantime, these five veto powers are spending nearly this amount of money merely on nuclear weapons. This scenario trumps the realization of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals striving for ending all forms of poverty, inequalities and tackling climate change.
According to the SIPRI database, Global military spending in 2017 was $1.74 trillion. The 10 countries with the highest military spending accounted for nearly three quarters (73%) of this total. These countries are the USA, China, Saudi Arabia, Russia, India, France, UK, Japan, Germany and South Korea. US military spending in 2017 was $610 billion—nearly 3 times as much as China’s military spending, which was the second highest in 2017 at $228 billion. US military spending is larger than the next 7 biggest military spenders combined.
In accordance with the Union of Concerned Scientists, the cost to extend the lifetime of each US Trident nuclear missile is $140 million, the same amount as the UN shortfall. “If the US retires just one Trident nuclear missile from their arsenal, the money saved could be used to wipe out the current UN deficit,’ says Alyn Ware, Director of the Basel Peace Office and Co-founder of Move the Nuclear Weapons Money. Nearly 100 billion dollars could be spared if the US government withdrew the upgrading of their nuclear weapons system.
However, the pro-nuclear lobbies strike hard. The US government auctions off its political power to nuclear weapons businesses to the detriment of the economy for job creation, climate protection, education, health, peace, diplomacy and sustainable security.
Fortunately, there are those who still have faith “We can reduce this pro-nuclear lobbying power, and encourage the companies to get out of the nuclear weapons business, by nuclear weapons divestment “says PNND Co-President Senator of Smarter Approach to Nuclear Expenditures Ed Markey “Already four governments and a number of cities, religious institutions, banks and pension funds have done so”.
More information on the “Move Nuclear Weapons Campaign” can be found here. The campaign was launched in October 2016 by the Basel Peace Office, International Peace Bureau, World Future Council and Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament.