More of us favor abolition. Why don't our governments?
Could giving the UN authority over international security do the job?
By Lawrence S. Wittner
Given the fact that nuclear war means the virtual annihilation of life on earth, it’s remarkable that many people continue to resist building a nuclear weapons-free world. Is the human race suicidal?
Before jumping to that conclusion, let’s remember that considerably more people favor abolishing nuclear weapons than oppose it. Public opinion surveys—ranging from polls in 21 nations worldwide during 2008 to recent polls in Europe, Japan, and Australia—have shown that large majorities of people in nearly all the nations surveyed favor the abolition of nuclear weapons by international agreement. In the United States, where the public was polled in September 2019 about the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, 49 percent of respondents expressed approval of the treaty, 32 percent expressed disapproval, and 19 percent said they didn’t know.
Nevertheless, surprisingly large numbers of people remain unready to take the step necessary to prevent the launching of a war that would turn the world into a charred, smoking, radioactive wasteland. Why?