Incirlik Air Base in southern Turkey, on Feb. 26, 2016. Saudi military aircraft, in the foreground, joined the fight against Islamic State militia in Syria. The growing instability in the region is cause for concern with US nuclear weapons said to be on site.
Photo Credit: AP

World Social Forum to focus on nuclear disarmament

The World Social Forum will be taking place in Montreal from August 9th to the 14th. The 12th edition is happening in a northern country for the first time, and nuclear disarmament will be one of the key issues in the spotlight.

“Once a nuclear war starts, there’s no way to limit it”

Gordon Edwards, president of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility says the “world is teetering back towards the cold war syndrome and towards an escalation of the nuclear threat.”


The opening of the WSF on August 8th will commemorate the nuclear bombing of Nagasaki, Japan 71 years ago. With that reality in mind, a round table will consider the renewed tensions in the world and some of the most recent changes geo-politically.

The changing situation in Turkey is of key concern. Edwards says the NATO nuclear weapons in that country were under the oversight of a man now under detention for his alleged part in the recent coup attempt.

Turkish authorities acted quickly encircling the base, cutting off the power supply and temporarily closed the airspace around Incirlik as they resisted the coup launched on Friday July 15th, 2016.

Edwards says, “It’s really crucial we get rid of these weapons, everybody agrees to that proposition but we do not have the collective will to bring it about.”

The official declaration, however, from the NATO summit in July held in Warsaw, Poland, said, “As long as nuclear weapons exist, NATO will remain a nuclear alliance,” 

And any decisions about NATO’s nuclear weapons have to be made unanimously by all 28 member states.

The Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons will be actively raising the issues during the forum. Edwards says, as the Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, Nobel Peace Prize winners in 1985, pointed out, the pursuit and possession of nuclear power is like a drug addiction:

The Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons is planning to bring pressure to bear on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, “to really stand up for the future of the planet, and to really play a leadership role in bringing about a true abolition of nuclear weapons.” Gordon Edwards says.

“Right now, not only the Americans, but the Russians, the Chinese, all the nuclear weapons states are prepared to spend billions and trillions of dollars in modernizing, “modernizing” their nuclear arsenals.” 

Edwards says, “If we embark upon a trillion dollar expenditure in the United States alone, to modernize these weapons systems, then the world is going to be that much scarier and the risk of an accidental nuclear war is going to be that much greater.” He says one of the goals in modernizing nuclear weapons is trying the make the weapons more precise, destroying the “enemy’s” response capability.

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