Elio Delgado Legon
HAVANA TIMES — Before the Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), Cuba has once again called on nations to work towards general and complete disarmament, including the banning of nuclear arsenals. Though we must continue to ask for this at all international forums, this goal is, in my opinion, nothing short of an unattainable dream.
This may strike some as a defeatist attitude. In light of everyday world events, however, I consider it a realistic statement, for two fundamental reasons I will explain below.
First of all, there are countries that aspire to rule the world, and even though the world cannot be ruled by any one power, such hegemony can only be achieved through the use of weapons – something which is ethically and morally reprehensible (as is to be expected, as anyone who espouses such a philosophy of conquest knows neither ethics nor morals).
In addition, in order to rule the world, these countries need other governments to take on the role of police forces in different parts of the globe, and these armies need to be armed with the newest and deadliest arsenals.
Secondly and no less importantly, there are countries whose economies are heavily dependent on the sale of weapons. These countries will therefore never even consider the possibility of general and complete disarmament.
What’s more, the politicians that would have to approve disarmament documents have many financial stakes in the weapons trade. An example of the repercussions of this situation is the impossibility of adopting measures to restrict the sale of firearms to US citizens, in spite of the many victims of the frequent shootings that take place in such places as schools, shopping malls and parks.
The financial interests of big weapons manufacturers – who control the agendas of politicians in this connection – make it impossible for governments to take even the slightest measures. It doesn’t matter how many innocent people die, no. What matters are profits.
If this is the way things work in a country internally, why should we assume it will be any different at the global level?
There are of course many leaders, even in powerful and developed countries, who would be willing to consider disarmament if an international agreement binding for all were reached – ultimately, they are well aware of the strain an arms race means for the world economy.
With the resources currently being spent on weapons – by those who defend themselves from aggression and those responsible for such aggression – hunger, extreme poverty, insalubrity, illiteracy and a great many things that scourge the better part of humanity could be eliminated around the world in a short span of time.
Every minute, 25 to 30 children die around the world as a result of hunger and disease, most of which are curable and can be prevented with vaccines. In the same minute, however, around 1.5 billion dollars are spent for military purposes.
This fact alone should make politicians aware of the urgent need to reach a general disarmament agreement.
Producing food for the entire planet and training medical doctors and teachers to help the least developed countries attain sustainable development should be the chief aims of First World politicians. If that dream ever came true, the world would become a paradise worth living in. That dream could be reached with only 30 percent of what is spent in weapons today.
The first step ought to be the complete elimination of nuclear weapons, given the danger they pose to humanity’s very existence. That said, how many years have we been waiting for at least a considerable reduction of nuclear armaments? If any political will existed in this connection, this modest aim could have been reached by now, but economic interests continue to prevail.
To save humanity from catastrophe, a relentless struggle aimed at the gradual elimination of weapons and, ultimately, general and complete disarmament, is needed. Savage capitalism, which only encourages egotism and the drive for ever greater profits, stands in the way of such agreements.
For this reason, as long as capitalism as we know it today exists, general and complete disarmament is an unattainable dream.