This month we launched our new website, which has been designed and re-focused on our Getting to Zero programme. Later this month we expect to be announcing an exciting new BASIC initiative focused on Britain’s nuclear arsenal. Much of BASIC’s work at present (in addition to the specifics below) is geared towards the forthcoming NATO Summit in November and its aftermath, work on the Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons (an agreed objective at the NPT Review Conference), and British and US nuclear weapon policies.
- The most important (and long-awaited) development in Washington was the vote in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the New START treaty, which sent it to the full Senate with the Yes votes of 3 Republicans who joined the 11 Democrats voting in favour. BASIC immediately responded with a press release for European journalists. However, prospects for the full Senate to give its advice and consent for ratification by the end of the year remain uncertain. The difficulty will be bringing it to the floor in a short ‘lame duck’ session after the November 2 elections, which is crowded with other legislation. Not to mention that the treaty’s leading adversary, Senator Jon Kyl, who is tying ratification to more money, for modernization of the US arsenal. Conventional wisdom holds that once Kyl lifts his objections, other Senate Republican holdouts will fall into line.
- On 20 September, BASIC co-hosted with the Arms Control Association in Washington a private roundtable strategy session to examine the next steps towards encouraging NATO to re-examine its nuclear weapons policies, specifically the US tactical nuclear weapons that remain in Europe. The discussions, funded by the Hewlett Foundation, focused on the need for US leadership on this issue, and on our activities before and after the NATO Lisbon summit, which will adopt the Alliance’s new Strategic Concept.
- BASIC staff also met with NATO embassy officials, in particular the Estonian ambassador and the Polish non-proliferation specialist, to discuss tactical nuclear weapons and the Strategic Concept.
- Paul attended as a speaker at the XX Economic Forum in Krynica, Poland (September 8-11), on the new Strategic Concept for NATO, speaking on a panel with Georgia’s Vice-Prime Minister, Giorgi Baramidze. He also chaired a later session on the European aerospace industry. The Economic Forum was an opportunity to engage in particular with participants from Central and Eastern Europe. This was the latest in a series of engagements with NATO members in the run-up to the adoption by NATO of a new Strategic Concept at the summit in Lisbon in November. He also attended a small roundtable of experts at Bradford University on evolving UK nuclear declaratory policy on 23 September.
- BASIC\’s Chair Trevor McCrisken led a panel discussion on US Nuclear Weapons Policy at the 5th Annual Conference of the British International Studies Association’s US Foreign Policy Working Group at the University of Leeds on 15 September. The panel featured Subrata Ghoshroy of MIT, Andrew Futter of Birmingham University, and Benjamin Zala of the Oxford Research Group talking about the Obama administration’s nuclear policies, the role of ballistic missile defense, and the prospects for change in US strategic thinking toward less reliance on nuclear weapons. Trevor also participated in Oxford Analytica’s 27th International Conference at Christ Church College in Oxford, 16-17 September, at which he spoke about US security and foreign policy, including a discussion of the role of the US in attempts to create a Nuclear Weapons Free Zone in the Middle East.
- BASIC’s Board Member Malcolm Savidge’s letter to The Times on cross-party support for delaying any decision on Trident \’Nuclear Deterrent? Its no dilemma to an enemy\’ was published on Monday 27 September.
- Dr. Vic Teplitz has joined BASIC as an adviser. Dr. Teplitz is Professor Emeritus from Southern Methodist University (SMU), Astrophysicist Emeritus from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), and consultant to the Space and Advanced Technology Office of the Bureau of Oceans, Environment and Science of the U.S. Department of State.
Publications by BASIC Staff
A progressive Nuclear Policy: Rethinking Continuous-at-sea-deterrence, Paul Ingram (BASIC’s Executive Director) and Dr. Nick Ritchie (of Bradford University).
Nuclear Security after the Washington Summit, Dr. Ian Kearns.
A Nuclear Posture Review for NATO, Arms Control Today, Paul Ingram and Oliver Meier, forthcoming, October 2010.
Looking Forward –
BASIC is holding a roundtable alongside ACA and USAK in Ankara on 4 October to discuss NATO’s nuclear posture. A BASIC delegation, including Des Browne, will be meeting with the Defence Minister in Turkey and with Foreign Ministry officials, on 5 October. Also Des Browne and Paul Ingram will be addressing a meeting in Brussels on 6 October on NATO nuclear policy.
On 12 October BASIC will be hosting a joint roundtable in London with the Top Level Group on Multilateral Nuclear Disarmament and Non-Proliferation on the issues surrounding Trident renewal and their relationship to the UK’s international role and our wider capabilities and defence budgets.
15-16 November – Shadow Summit II: Civil Society Perspectives on the Lisbon Summit and NATO’s New Strategic Concept, in Brussels, co-hosted by BASIC alongside NATO Watch, ISIS-Europe and Bertelsmann Stiftung.