A treaty banning nuclear weapons takes effect Jan. 22, says a letter to The Kansas City Star Jan. 21. “PeaceWorks Kansas City celebrates the Jan. 22 enactment of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons,“ begins the letter, written by David Pack, the treasurer of PeaceWorks Kansas City. The letter is at https://www.kansascity.com/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/article248640445.html (scroll down to the letter).

According to the treaty, says Pack, the 51 countries that have ratified it recognize the “need to completely eliminate” nuclear weapons. What does that mean? The ratifying countries “are prohibited from developing, testing, producing, manufacturing, transferring, possessing, stockpiling, using or threatening to use nuclear weapons, or allowing them on their territory,” the treaty says.

“Nuclear weapons is a local issue,” insists Pack. “Kansas City, Missouri, owns title to the National Security Campus, a plant that makes or procures 85 percent of the non-nuclear parts for US nuclear weapons.”

Pack notes that a 2019 US Congressional Budget Office report projects 2019-2028 nuclear weapons spending at an astronomical $494 billion. Pack asks, “Will that expenditure stop a future pandemic from killing over 400,000 Americans? Will that expenditure reduce the threat that climate change poses to our country?”

He continues, ”Celebrate the reality that nuclear weapons are banned in 51 countries. That number will grow, given 122 countries voting for (the treaty) in 2017. We look forward to every country on earth saying ‘No!’ to weapons that can extinguish all human life.”