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Reflection on the First Special Session On Disarmament at the UN on its 25th anniversary in 2003

"The Final Document established what it called the 'ultimate goal' of general and complete disarmament, a term that allowed for the retention of a limited number of weapons to protect legitimate security concerns of citizens, to maintain domestic order, and to fulfill international commitments. The document treated nuclear disarmament, by contrast, as the highest priority given the horrific human and environmental effects of such indiscriminate weapons.

Today, unfortunately, a few states continue to mix these priorities, despite wide consensus to restore these priorities to their rightful order, as registered in the Final Document of that Conference. Another recent trend is the alarming increase of global military expenditures, expected to rise well above the $1 trillion level. The Final Document termed the level of military spending in 1978 a 'colossal waste of resources.' The same words are even more applicable today, and even more tragic, as half the world continues to
live in dire conditions of chronic poverty, - conditions that give rise to authoritarian regimes, rising domestic violence, and new breeding grounds for terrorists. The Document urged not just the reduction of such spending, but also the re-investment of such financial and technological resources into efforts to alleviate these conditions."


Cartoon from 1946 reflecting popular disbelief that the victors [UK, USSR,US - Truman, Stalin, Attlee] would be able to set aside differences and work together for peace through the organisation, the United Nations, they themselves established.

CAPTION:
All three heroes:
'Fear not I will protect you and the in-no-cent chee-ild!
Heroine:
'Are you boys sure you've got your right lines?'

 

 

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