Quick Facts About the United Nation’s Nuclear Weapons Treaty of 2017, With a Fast Twist.

When I first heard the news about the United Nations passing a treaty to ban nuclear weapons, I was more than overjoyed. I thought this was an incredible step forward in the progress to ensure we don’t blow ourselves into oblivion. Then I looked at the number of signatures that the news was reporting and realized that 122 seemed like a low number, with 195 countries on the UN’s list. This piqued my interest into looking deeper into the facts, which I found on the GreenPeace.org website. The facts that I found made the news of this new treaty sound a little less than fantastic.

First, here are some facts about what the treaty covers. It prohibits countries from:

  • Acquiring, manufacturing, or producing nuclear weapons
  • Developing or testing nuclear weapons
  • Using or threatening to use nuclear weapons
  • Installing, stationing, or deploying nuclear weapons on their soil

So far, this sounded great to me. Then came the not-so-great facts:

  • Out of 195 countries, only 140 participated.
  • Despite reports that the UK did not attend, only Singapore was marked as absent.
  • Only one country voted against the treaty — the Netherlands.
  • 63 countries abstained or boycotted the voting, among which were the nations currently possessing nuclear weapons: United States, UK, China, Russia, France, Pakistan, India, Israel, and North Korea. Also in this list of non-votes was Canada and the other members of NATO.

So, if someone asked me on the street to use an analogy to quickly explain this treaty, it would become even a bit more of a joke. I apologize in advance for using Lamborghini in this context, but it’s out of respect for their brand as being one of the most desired possessions.
(Insert Please Don’t Sue Me statement above)

For the sake of this analogy, let’s say we all live in a state with 195 cities. Nine of them are big cities. In those cities live people who are rich enough to afford to buy and drive a Lamborghini. They have dealerships, garages, and parking for Lambos, and everyone is happy. Those cities have 63 friends in other cities that allow Lambo parking. But there are 122 other smaller cities where there are no dealerships and no garages, and nobody has the parts or knowledge to build a Lambo in those small cities. So, the smaller cities band together and say, “Since we can’t have Lambos, we’re banning them and all they stand for. They’re no longer allowed in our city, and, as a matter of fact, it’s now illegal for someone in another city to even start their own Lambo.” One Nethercity says, “Everybody bring your Lambos here! Let’s have a party!” Meanwhile, in the 72 bigger cities, the people with Lambo connections say they need their Lambo rights because they earned them and that the smaller-cities ban won’t stop any owner of a Lamborghini from making and driving their supercar.

Now that we’ve seen this satirical scenario unfold in a different context, here’s a question for the reader: How much clout does the UN’s Nuclear Weapons Treaty 2017 really have?