Nuclear addiction, codependence and learned helplessness

Nuclear-weapon states constantly state their commitment to disarmament. They make promises and undertakings, they agree to 13-step programs. They probably even believe what they're saying.

But at the same time, they consistently undermine any progress towards their stated goal. They make excuses, drag their feet, rationalize, reinterpret, accuse others of misunderstanding, shift the blame, complain of persecution, behave secretively, succumb to irrational outbursts, lie to friends and family, and neglect their personal hygiene.

Whether it's alcohol, drugs, gambling or nuclear weapons, the symptoms of addiction are the same.

And reasoning with addicts is pointless. That is why all the studies, commissions, analyses, and carefully constructed arguments have failed to shift the nuclear-weapon states. They are powerless: their weapons own them.

Surrounding the addicts are the enablers - the codependent nuclear weasel states, the umbrella-dwellers - who wring their hands and worry, but won't face up to reality for fear of breaking up the family.

Then there are all the others - the non-nuclear-weapon states, the civil society groups - who have become so used to getting nowhere, to beating their heads against the wall, that they are trapped by habit, locked in the endless NPT dance of hope and disappointment, unable to detect and act upon a chance for real change when at last it appears. And this suits the addicts just fine.

Maybe the addicts can be helped. Maybe they can't. But it's time for the international community to stage an intervention, if only for its own protection and self-respect. That means a radical change in approach. It means a treaty banning nuclear weapons, now.

And for the nuclear-weapon states, as Robert Palmer might have sung:

Whoa, you like to think that you're immune to the stuff, oh yeah
It's all that you can do to stay away from the truth
You know you're gonna have to face it
You're addicted to nukes