Nuclear War—Can It Be Avoided?
“They themselves will feed and actually lie stretched out, and there will be no one making them tremble.”—Zephaniah 3:13.
EVERYBODY longs for a world free of the nuclear threat. Seeing the reality of this world, however, many have a pessimistic view. “The idea of controlling, reducing and ultimately getting rid of nuclear weapons is slipping off the US and international agenda,” says The Guardian Weekly.
Still, some point to the efforts made by nations in this regard. For instance, it is estimated that the United States alone spent $2.2 billion in one year to prevent nuclear war. This is certainly no small amount of money. Yet, knowing that the same nation also spends some $27 billion annually in preparation to fight a nuclear war upsets many.
How about peace treaties? Can such efforts be a source of hope?
Nuclear Arms Control Treaties
Since the introduction of the nuclear bomb, a number of treaties designed to control or limit nuclear weapons have been concluded. Among them are the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Strategic Arms Limitation Talks, Strategic Arms Reduction Talks, and Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Have these not been effective in eliminating the nuclear threat?
Any treaty stands on a mutual promise between the parties involved. For instance, the success of the NPT, signed in 1970 and having 187 parties as of December 2000, depends on the goodwill of the nuclear and nonnuclear countries that signed the treaty. While the treaty prohibits nonnuclear countries from developing or acquiring a nuclear arsenal, it requires nuclear powers to seek to eliminate their own nuclear weapons. Has this been effective? “While the NPT regime is scarcely foolproof, it has been effective in preventing the diversion of civilian nuclear technology and facilities placed under safeguards,” explains Carey Sublette in the document “Nuclear Weapons Frequently Asked Questions.”
Though the treaty has seen some success, “it has not . . . dissuaded several nations from pursuing these weapons, in some cases successfully,” says Sublette. However, he says, it is only through secret programs conducted outside the Non-Proliferation Treaty safeguarded facilities that they have been able to do so. The effectiveness of any treaty depends on the trustworthiness of the parties involved. Can we simply accept the promises of humans? The answer is obvious as we see the facts of human history.
So, then, where can we turn for hope?
Thinking in a New Way
In December 2001, some 110 Nobel laureates agreed to and signed a statement that reads: “The only hope for the future lies in cooperative international action, legitimized by democracy. . . . To survive in the world we have transformed, we must learn to think in a new way.” Yet, what “new way” of thinking is needed? Is it realistic to believe that those who are threatening world peace with their nuclear weapons will learn a new way of thinking?
The Bible advises us: “Do not put your trust in nobles, nor in the son of earthling man, to whom no salvation belongs.” (Psalm 146:3) Why not? The Bible answers: “To earthling man his way does not belong. It does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step.” (Jeremiah 10:23) Yes, the fundamental reason is that humans are not endowed with the ability to rule the earth in peace. As the Bible states, “man has dominated man to his injury.”—Ecclesiastes 8:9.
If humans are not capable of ruling the earth, who is? The Bible promises that there will be peace under a trustworthy and capable government. This rulership is referred to in the Bible as God’s Kingdom, and without realizing it, millions have prayed for this government when uttering the Lord’s Prayer: “Our Father in the heavens, . . . let your kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth.” (Matthew 6:9, 10) This Kingdom has Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, as its King. Describing his rule, the Bible states: “To the abundance of the princely rule and to peace there will be no end.”—Isaiah 9:6, 7.
Even if “nobles,” or politicians, and human governments do not learn this new way of thinking, you can. Jehovah’s Witnesses have helped millions to embrace the Bible’s message of hope by means of a free Bible study course. If you would like more information, please contact the publishers of this magazine, or you may visit the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses in your area.
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Under God’s Kingdom government, the world will be free of the nuclear threat