Nuclear Weapons Under Fire at the UN

Roger Kotila, Ph.D.

The world community should keep a close eye on the United Nations General Assembly as it prepares for a Conference starting in late March, 2017 to negotiate a “legally binding instrument” to prohibit nuclear weapons.

According to an NGO report by Reaching Critical Will, over 100 nations attended the initial meetings to organize the upcoming UN Conference to ban nuclear weapons.

The report titled “States discuss rules for nuclear ban negotiations” (2/16/17) makes for interesting and informative reading — it is our lead article (at  It will help us discover which countries truly seek a peaceful and safe world, and which nations prefer to continue to endanger our world by possessing nuclear weaponry.

The Conference will be an opportunity for world federalists to link up with delegates from nations who support peace over risking nuclear annihilation. A legal ban on nuclear weapons could bring up the problem of war.  If war is not outlawed it will be highly tempting for nations to want to keep their weapons of mass destruction.

Are nations “brave” to want to legally ban nuclear weapons?

Curiously, Ireland welcomed the “broad and brave participation” of the countries attending the organizing sessions for the ban.  But why did Ireland use the word “brave”?  Will there be retaliation against those nations who support a legal ban on nukes?

India quite sensibly worries about “the absence of international verification measures.”  Psychologist know that openness builds trust, and secrecy breeds paranoia. Yes, of course, there must be inspections — anywhere at any time.  This requirement is unlikely to happen without transforming the UN into a democratic world federal union — a step which will require a new Charter.

Delegates from many countries expressed their approval and strong support for the involvement and help given by civil society and NGO’s.  Mexico, Brazil, Malaysia, Austria, Liechtenstein, New Zealand, Nigeria, South Africa and many others voiced their support for continued participation by civil society.  Popular support for the ban from NGO’s and civil society could give these countries extra strength to prevail.

UN Charter lacks legal enforcement tools

The UN must somehow be persuaded to give a hard look at its fatally flawed Charter.  It allows almost unlimited sovereignty even to aggressive, militarized nations who routinely violate international law, and whose leaders suffer no consequences for their crimes — they are above the law.

For world federalists, an attempt by UN member states to ban nuclear weapons is an important gesture and a sign of progress.  However, the history of treaties is discouraging.  Treaties are too readily broken when a nation decides the treaty is not adequately in their self-interest.

UN Charter review the next step

Treaties and international agreements are not a solid basis for stability because the UN Charter is undemocratic and lacks enforceable world law.  That’s why Democratic World Federalists ( is lobbying for a review of the UN Charter to open the door for a resource like the Constitution for the Federation of Earth ( which would give the UN a democratically elected World Parliament, and enforceable world law.

All aspects of nuclear weaponry would become against the law, and those leaders of nations responsible for the development, manufacturing, or possession of nuclear weaponry could be held legally accountable, and like ordinary citizens, if found guilty, would be subject to imprisonment.


Roger Kotila

Roger Kotila PhD
Psychologist and peace activist
President, Democratic World Federalists, San Francisco
Earth Federation News & Views

Received a Ph.D. from Washington State University in 1969, he has worked in community mental health, for the State of California, and in private practice. Dr. Kotila served his clinical internship on a Public Health Fellowship at the Palo Alto Veterans Administration Hospital in conjunction with Stanford University’s Dept. of Psychiatry.

He has been a radio producer (Earthstar Radio, San Francisco), organized and worked with the homeless, and is an advocate/activist in the nonviolent protest movement for safe energy, human rights, and peaceful solutions.

He is USA Vice President of the World Constitution and Parliament Association whose mission is to build a parallel world body to the United Nations, an emerging Earth Federation with a Provisional World Parliament under the Earth Constitution.




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