The Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Shridath Ramphal, marked the start of United Nations Disarmament Week on Thursday (23 October) by an address calling for an end to the arms race and a freeze on international military expenditure.
GV & GV (MUTE) Officials seated on platform with delegations seated in auditorium (2 shots)
SV Mr. Ramphal, Commonwealth Secretary General speaking in English as delegates listen
SHRIDATH RAMPHAL: "The UN study of 1978 on economic and social consequences of the arms race, which examined the relationship between military expenditure and current problems of recession, inflation and low growth, demonstrated that large military expenditure contributed to the depletion of natural resources, to the aggravation of inflationary tendencies and to the worsening of balance of payments problems. Inflation, in particular, is a seldom acknowledge by-product of militarisation, which overheats the civilian economy, depressed productive investment and thwarts economic growth. When for so many industrialised societies the fight against inflation is proclaimed as the most urgent priority, it is well to remember that armaments expenditure prolongs inflationary pressures. Today all these economic consequences are in evidence. And the tragedy of all this is that a false rationality has overtaken reason. Once possessed of the power to destroy all life at a stroke, what reason can there be to multiply that power so as to be able to kill the human race ten times over? Not the least frightening part of the nuclear arms race is the new military culture it has bred, in which theories of institutionalised deterrence, of strategic and tactical nuclear weapons, of global war and theatre war, all underpinned by the doctrine of mutual assured destruction, with the appropriate acronym 'MAD', are aired and promoted with cool detachment to enlarge the overkill capacity which already exists. It is as if mankind is caught in the grip of a relentless technological determinism, where the accelerating proliferation of nuclear weapons is held to the indispensable for peace and security. Yet the truth is that ever more sophisticated terror weapons, once explained away as intended to deter, are becoming, through their cycles of development, destabilising elements that make nuclear holocaust more, rather than less likely. And non only by design. The more complex the system becomes, the more likely it is that one day
things will go wrong. The truth is that the nuclear arms race has lost its rationality and become a monstrous menace."
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Background: The Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Shridath Ramphal, marked the start of United Nations Disarmament Week on Thursday (23 October) by an address calling for an end to the arms race and a freeze on international military expenditure. An annual United Nations Disarmament Week was proclaimed in 1978, during the General Assembly's Special Disarmament Session.