Diplomacy and Hypocrisy: on Trump and Putin’s meeting & more

The prospect of peace is crucial–war and violence disproportionately impacts the most marginalized people in society

Earlier this week, Putin and Trump met in Helsinki to discuss trade, military, and other matters of importance between the two countries.

While many are focusing on the fact that Trump took a kind stance toward Putin–even putting Russia over U.S. intelligence officials’ word–it is true that this conversation was a step toward diplomacy, away from taunting and threats of war. However, we are troubled how neither leader acknowledged their own countries’ complicity in maintaining the nuclear threat, and would urge the President to continue diplomatic relations regarding nuclear issues. Georgia WAND believes in peace and diplomacy over militarism–valuing words over bloodshed any day.
Our friends at Code Pink write:
“If our goal is to build peace, then calm talks, rather than threats and military escalation, are always the better path to take.Trump’s meetings with Putin and Kim give us the opportunity to set a significant precedent for diplomacy. If we can parlay this into a summit with Iranian president Hassan Rouhani, we might have a real chance to avoid war with Iran.”
However, at the press conference, The Nation reporter Sam Husseini was forcibly removed for holding a piece of paper saying “Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty.” He was unable to ask his questions about nuclear weapons because he was “dragged out” of the press conference. Here are the questions he was hoping to ask regarding the hypocrisy of both Trump and Putin when it comes to nuclear weapons:
Your governments pledged in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to conduct good faith efforts to eliminate nuclear weapons. But 50 years later, Russia and the United States are nowhere near eliminating them. President Trump, you’ve said that you’d like to get rid of nuclear weapons, but your government is spending over $1 trillion “modernizing” its arsenal. A year ago, 122 nations voted at the United Nations for the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, and the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) won the Nobel Peace Prize. Why are both of you not living up to your commitments under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty? And why are you blocking the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons?
And a question for President Trump: Your administration has echoed the line of the Israeli government by refusing to acknowledge the existence of Israel’s clandestine nuclear-weapons arsenal. Will you end that policy by acknowledging it here and now? (Read full article here.)
As of today, Iran has filed a lawsuit against the US for leaving the 2015 Iran Deal, saying the US’s withdrawal is a violation of a 1955 treaty. D. Parvaz of ThinkProgress writes:
Still, leaving the JCPOA [Iran Deal] seems to counter the emphasis that the president (at times, anyway) seems to place on nuclear non-proliferation. This was among the key topics he reportedly discussed with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on Monday, where Putin emphasized the value of the JCPOA. (Read full article here)

At Georgia WAND, we believe non-proliferation must happen, not only for the sake of those who would be killed in a nuclear attack, but from those suffering silently due to radiation contamination near nuclear sites in nuclear countries like the U.S. In the midst of all of these political discussions about nuclear threats, we must remember that people’s lives are being directly affected all across the nuclear fuel cycle–from Dine communities feeling the human impacts of uranium mining to the rural people of Burke County Georgia who live near the Savannah River Site as well as nuclear power Plant Vogtle, and whose lives are harmed by radiation–these are people living with risks that they never consented to. Thinking of politics as a game harms the human beings whose very lives are affected by decisions made by those in power. Political power is held by those most privileged by society, and used to make decisions without considering impacts on those who are already marginalized by race, class, and gender.

Read this article in Scalawag Magazine lifting up the voices of Natalie Herrington and Leona Morgan, two panelists from our Mother’s Day for Peace event, women who fight environmental racism every day in nuclear-impacted communities.
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