American Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley announced Monday that her country and a list of nearly forty others would not participate in a meeting to pass an international nuclear weapons ban, calling the proposal “naive” and warning that “bad actors” like North Korea would take advantage of it.
Haley’s opposition to a global nuclear weapons ban – which she argues only responsible nations would follow, leaving them vulnerable to attack from rogue states – follows multiple calls from the Trump administration to modernize the American nuclear weapons arsenal.
“You are going to see almost 40 countries that are not in the General Assembly today,” Haley told reporters on Monday. “To ban nuclear weapons now would make us and our allies more vulnerable, and would strengthen bad actors like North Korea and Iran who would not abide by it.”
“There is nothing I want more for my family than a world with no nuclear weapons. But we have to be realistic,” Haley continued. “Is there anyone that believes that North Korea would agree to a ban on nuclear weapons?”
“In this day and time we can’t honestly that say we can protect our people by allowing the bad actors to have them [nuclear weapons] and those of us that are good, trying to keep peace and safety, not to have them,” Haley argued. She argued that those supporting the nuclear weapons ban did not understand the potential negative effect disarming responsible international actors would have and argued that North Korea and Iran would both be “cheering” if such a nuclear weapons ban passed.
The international resolution Haley opposes is the product of the UN General Assembly, which passed the legislation in December calling for the member nations to “negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination,” according to Reuters. Haley argues that such legislation would disarm responsible nations and remove a necessary deterrent for rogue nations who have since acquired some nuclear capabilities.