In a historic moment, 120 countries gathered together to approve a treaty at the United Nations to ban nuclear weapons. Never before has there been such a global consensus around an idea. If such a treaty could actually be brought into force, the Doomsday Clock could be set back farther than it ever has. The threat of nuclear war could disappear from Earth, hopefully forever.
Such is the utopian thinking of the global community. In reality, those with nuclear arms have no desire to simply relinquish them. All of the world’s weapon holders, including the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, China, France, India, Pakistan, Israel, and the DPRK with a burgeoning nuclear program, refused to participate in the negotiations.
Each of these countries has a tremendous card to hold by having a nuclear program. They have a deterrent against invasion. To surrender them would be foolish. No one is going to place themselves in such a vulnerable position. Nor should any oppressed country surrender them.
It is truly a noble sentiment to want to rid the world of nuclear weapons, but it is not so simple as merely signing a treaty. Capitalism places countries against each other in the drive for profits, resources, and markets. Sets of international capitals compete with each other for access to the world’s wealth. This places them in direct contradiction with each other. There cannot be peace because there is always a struggle with one another.
As Lenin put it,
“Monopolist capitalist associations, cartels, syndicates and trusts first divided the home market among themselves and obtained more or less complete possession of the industry of their own country. But under capitalism the home market is inevitably bound up with the foreign market. Capitalism long ago created a world market. As the export of capital increased, and as the foreign and colonial connections and “spheres of influence” of the big monopolist associations expanded in all ways, things “naturally” gravitated towards an international agreement among these associations, and towards the formation of international cartels.” – Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism
Groups of capitalists are always thrown against each other by the very nature of capitalism. The states to which they belong are nothing less than their personal armies. By banning together with the state, their interests can be carried out internationally. Whereas once the bourgeois state was only a mediator between capitalists, under imperialism it serves an additional purpose. The Bourgois state will always serve the interests of the bourgeoise.
The solution to this situation is the radical reorganisation of society along a Marxist road. The wealth of the whole world should be distributed to each person as they have a need. Once this principle is applied and competition is eliminated, the need for wars will end. When imperialism dies, the need for nuclear weapons will die. Nuclear weapons are only needed because of a system which promotes imperialism.
As long as the enemy has a gun, we will need a gun to defend ourselves. The oppressed countries must develop nuclear arms if they are to exert their independence from imperialism.
This is best summed up by Mao,
“We are advocates of the abolition of war, we do not want war; but war can only be abolished through war, and in order to get rid of the gun it is necessary to take up the gun.” – “Problems of War and Strategy” (November 6, 1938)