In August 1945, the U.S. government dropped two nuclear bombs on Japan, first on Hiroshima and then on Nagasaki. Regardless of where you stand on this decision, I think we can all agree that, in the future, no innocent civilians (especially children) deserve to die and/or suffer the way the residents of these cities did. If we are to eliminate the threat of a nuclear war that continues to hang over us, it seems reasonable to turn to the United Nations, the one institution which brings the nations of the world together.
The United Nations in its current form is unable to eliminate or control the spread of nuclear weapons in our world. There is no mechanism for the UN to create and enforce global laws. Plus, the five “victors” of World War II (U.S., Great Britain, France, Russia, and China) still hold veto power in the strongest body at the UN, the Security Council. Miraculously we have avoided another World War, but with growing international tension and the rise of reckless leaders with nuclear arsenals the risk of nuclear war is ever increasing.
After the bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Albert Einstein and other prominent Americans—dismayed by the prospect of future wars fought with nuclear weapons–promoted the idea of transforming the UN into a federation of nations. This idea was well received in the late 40’s until Senator Joseph McCarthy and other demagogues began denouncing “one-worlders” as engaged in a communist plot, which of course it wasn’t. (Joseph Stalin, in fact, denounced it as an American capitalist plot!) The time has come to dust off the idea of world federation.
When the United States was established with a federal government, the states agreed to solve their differences through legal means. Rather than use their state militias to fight each other, they hired lawyers and went to court or resolved interstate conflicts through national legislation. The Civil War provides an example of the terrible carnage that resulted when, for a brief time, they departed from this practice.
Transform the UN
This federal model can work on a global level if the UN is transformed into a democratic federation of nations, with the ability to create and enforce world law. We can then outlaw war and nuclear weapons, create a plan for the dismantling and elimination of all nuclear weapons, and solve any disagreements through world law. If the leader of any nation violated world law that was created by a democratically elected world parliament, he or she would be arrested, tried in a court of law, and sent to prison if found guilty.
Einstein said, “I do not know with what weapons World War III will be fought, but I do know that World War IV will be fought with rocks.” Humanity must come together at the UN to put an end to war and nuclear weapons. We can use the same path (enforceable world law) to guarantee universal human rights, protect our global environment, and improve the way the world deals with global pandemics.
Einstein was on the National Advisory Council of the World Federalist Association, currently operating as the Citizens for Global Solutions Education Fund. Consider supporting us as we work for global solutions to our global problems like nuclear war, the global climate crisis, human rights abuses, and global pandemics.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog post do not necessarily reflect the official policy of Citizens for Global Solutions.