regime

The role of the nuclear test ban as a non-proliferation and arms control instrument

The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) was agreed in 1996 after more than 2000 nuclear tests had left a lasting, poisonous legacy. The treaty’s negotiations had already contributed to the indefinite extension of the NPT the year before (having contributed to the failures of the 1980 and 1990 NPT Review Conferences). Confidence in arms control and disarmament was high, and nuclear arsenals were falling dramatically. Strategic relations were good. But things look very different today, with high levels of distrust and low confidence in achieving further disarmament progress.

What next after the Iran Nuclear Deal?

The Iran nuclear deal is seen by many as a success for international relations and security. Implementation Day (16th January) came after years of intensive negotiations. Iran has reduced activities that could have been used to develop nuclear weapon capabilities and the E3+3 has responded by lifting many of its sanctions. There remain severe doubts and enemies of the deal in the United States, Iran and neighbouring states. There are likely to be developments in the region that could put the agreement under further pressure.

Lessons learned from 70 years of nuclear weapons

70 years of nuclear weapons

Nuclear disarmament has been the most desirable objective of global arms control policies since nuclear weapons were invented, along with general and complete disarmament. But it is also one that has generated most contention and conflict. Scientists involved in developing military applications were quick to call for strict controls and the elimination of all nuclear weapons from states’ military arsenals.

Rethinking nuclear catastrophe

It is ironic, but not completely surprising, that our desire for nuclear disarmament has its roots in the same principles that drive our continued military investment in nuclear weapons: predominantly the dire humanitarian consequences that would result from a nuclear attack or accident.  The potential consequences are what inspire the global community to keep pressing for change. But the belief in deterrence, that our ability to inflict huge reciprocal damage is what keeps others from attacking us, is also what makes proponents of nuclear weapons feel protected.

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