The Nobel Peace Prize for 2017 has been awarded to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, the international NGO fighting for the abolition of nuclear weapons. The award is coming in the heat of a global environment filled with rhetoric of nuclear war that could become real.
The Nobel Committee which decides the award noted how successful the campaign has been in what it calls engaging people around the world on the threats of such weapons, carefully and quickly explaining how the award is not a commentary on any particular country.
The award is being compared to a similar one to the international campaign that resulted in the global ban on personnel land mines. That was 1997 and it marked most forcefully the emergence of International NGOs in global security agenda determination even against powerful arms interests in international political economy. ICAN, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons which has just won the award is the INGO that has been coordinating the campaign for nuclear disarmament. It has won clear majority of states in the UN system, working on winning the nuclear armed states as far as coming off from the beatification of insanity called nuclear armament is concerned.
The award raises the question of why nuclear weapons have not been used since the Second World War. Professor Nina Tannenwald’s argument has remained the most fascinating of the two positions on it: that non-use is not because of any law or punishment but because it has emerged as the ‘Other’ of the norm.