Speed Reads

bombs away

130 nations negotiated a treaty to ban nuclear weapons forever. The 9 countries with actual weapons aren't biting.

More than 130 members of the 192-member United Nations have negotiated a treaty aimed at the permanent destruction of all nuclear weapons, The New York Times reports. The document was officially adopted by the United Nations on Friday and will be open for signatures by member states during the General Assembly on Sept. 20.

There is one major obstacle, though: None of the treaty's participants include any of the nine nuclear-armed countries. "Disarmament groups and other proponents of the treaty said they had never expected that any nuclear-armed country would sign it — at least not at first," The New York Times explains. "Rather, supporters hope, the treaty's widespread acceptance elsewhere will eventually increase the public pressure and stigma of harboring and threatening to use such weapons of unspeakable destruction, and make holdouts reconsider their positions."

Others, including U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, have criticized the treaty as ill-timed due to the looming threat of North Korea. "We have to be realistic," Haley said of the treaty in March. "Is there anyone who thinks that North Korea would ban nuclear weapons?"

The United States, Russia, Britain, China, France, India, Pakistan, Israel, and North Korea all have nuclear weapons. President Trump has called for expanding the U.S. stockpile, prompting the metaphorical Doomsday Clock to swing just two-and-a-half minutes short of apocalyptic "midnight" earlier this year.