Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Nuclear moves...

Picture credit: U.S. DOE (Operation Upshot Knothole at Nevada test ground)

Nuclear Disarmament and the Nonproliferation Treaty, by Harald Müller – Peace Research Institute, Frankfurt, published in WMD Insights' Dec 2008/January 2009 issue, traces the connections between the nuclear 'haves' and the 'have nots' and argues (convincingly, in this blogger's opinion) that the actions of the former greatly influence those of the latter...

The article goes on to discuss how the NPT can be revived and progress made denuclearization. However, once again they have the order wrong, arguing for reductions by the "Big Two" before any by the other nuclear haves. Presumably this is because they believe that progress by the "Big Two" is necessary to convince the others to move.

As argued in the December 22nd 'Zero Global Zero' entry this blogger would argue that the British and French be 'pushed' to eliminate their nuclear weapons as an immediate first step. The next steps would be to leverage the momentum created by what would be a ground-breaking, paradigm-changing move to immediately look for quick progress on denuclearization by India and Pakistan, while beginning negotiations between Russia and the U.S., with China to be brought in once the "Big Two" have begun real reductions. (Note: the biggest potential stumbling block in the Asian subcontinent would be Pakistan, since nuclear weapons are more 'important' to them given India's overwhelming superiority in size and in conventional forces... Russia and the U.S. would have to work out some sort of guarantee that would be sufficiently robust for them to give up the nuclear fall-back option...).

Not mentioned yet is Israel - at some point they would have to be brought/forced into the denuclearization process to make it complete, though it must be admitted that it is hard to see when this could happen given the current situation on the ground and the fact that Israel's denuclearization would have to be tied to significant improvements and progress across the Middle East (i.e. resolution of the Israel-Palestinian issue; resolution of issues between Israel and Syria; between Israel and Lebanon; etc.)

P.S. Another article in the same issue, Commentary: U.S. Nonproliferation Policy – Selected Possibilities for a New Presidency, also touches on this topic, and argues further that the nonproliferation agenda needs to "keep up with science" and include other technologies e.g. thermobaric weapons and nanotechnology.

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