Progressive politics, ideas & culture


Control small arms? Yes, but what about nukes?

This Magazine Staff

Call me a dreamer, but I think Control Arms — a new campaign from Amnesty International, Oxfam and the International Action Network on Small Arms in which people can voice their support for the UN to start putting limits on the trade and transfer of small weapons — is going after the wrong bad guys.
It reminds me of environmental campaigns that aim to get individuals to reduce their greenhouse gas output and energy consumption: What about the big players? Instead of targetting individuals, go after big polluters in industry. Instead of targetting small arms (which as a peace-loving human I admit are a problem), why not put pressure on nation-states to reduce their weaponry (say, Trident ballistic missiles)?
Something else about targetting small arms bugs me. Without them, how are exploited peoples such as Palestinians or Tamils supposed to defend themselves against entire armies? I’m against violence in general, but I’m more against apartheid and genocide.

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