Manlio Dinucci (Il Manifesto, 22 January 2021)
Today, 22 January 2021, it is the day that can go down in history as the turning point to free humanity from those weapons that, for the first time, have the ability to wipe the human species and almost every other form of life off the face of the earth. In fact, the UN Treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons enters into force today. However, it can also be the day on which an intended treaty enters into force, like the many previous ones, to stay on paper. The possibility of eliminating nuclear weapons depends on all of us.
What is the situation in Italy and what should we do to contribute to the goal of a world free from nuclear weapons? Italy, formally a non-nuclear country, has granted for decades its territory for the deployment of US nuclear weapons: currently dozens of B61 bombs, which will soon be replaced by the more deadly B61-12.
It is also one of the countries that - NATO documents - "provide the Alliance with airplanes equipped to carry nuclear bombs, over which the United States maintains absolute control, and personnel trained for this purpose ". Furthermore, there is the possibility that intermediate-range nuclear missiles will be installed on our territory (analogous to the Euromissiles of the 1980s) that the US is building after tearing up the INF Treaty which prohibited them.
In this way, Italy violates the Nuclear Weapons Non-Proliferation Treaty, ratified in 1975, establishing: “Each of the militarily non-nuclear states, part to the Treaty, undertakes neither to receive nuclear weapons from anyone, nor control over such weapons, directly or indirectly ".
At the same time Italy refused in 2017 the UN Treaty on the abolition of nuclear weapons - boycotted by all thirty NATO countries and by 27 of the European Union - which establishes: “Each State party that has nuclear weapons on its territory, owned or controlled by another state, must ensure the rapid removal of such weapons ".
Italy, in the wake of the USA and NATO, has opposed the Treaty since the opening of negotiations, decided by the General Assembly in 2016. The United States and the other two nuclear powers of NATO (France and Great Britain), the other countries of the Alliance and its main partners - Israel (the only nuclear power in the Middle East), Japan, Australia, Ukraine - voted against.
The other nuclear powers also expressed their opposition opinion: Russia and China (abstained), India, Pakistan and North Korea. Echoing Washington, the Gentiloni government defined the future Treaty as "a highly divisive element that risks compromising our efforts in favor of nuclear disarmament".
The Italian government and parliament are therefore jointly responsible for the fact that the Treaty on the abolition of nuclear weapons - approved by a large majority by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 2017 and entered into force having reached 50 ratifications - has been ratified in Europe to date only by Austria, Ireland, the Holy See, Malta and San Marino: a worthy act but not sufficient to give force to the Treaty.
In 2017, while Italy rejected the UN Treaty on the abolition of nuclear weapons, beyond 240 parliamentarians - mostly from the Democratic Party and M5S, with the current Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio in the front row - solemnly committed themselves, by signing the ICAN Appeal - the Nobel Peace Prize organization in 2017 - to promote Italy's accession to the UN Treaty.
They haven't moved a finger in that direction in three years. Behind demagogic covers or openly, the UN Treaty on the abolition of nuclear weapons is boycotted in parliament, with a few rare exceptions, from the entire political arc, agreeing in linking Italy to the increasingly dangerous NATO policy, officially called "Nuclear Alliance".
All this must be remembered today, on the Global Day of Action called for the entry into force of the UN Treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons, celebrated by ICAN activists and other anti-nuclear movements with 160 events mostly in Europe and North America. We need to transform the Day into a permanent and growing mobilization of a broad front capable, in each country and internationally, to impose political choices to achieve the vital objective of the Treaty.
(Il Manifesto, 22 January 2021)