Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Ernie Regehr, "NATO’s strategic concept and the emerging nuclear abolition imperative," Project Ploughshares Briefing, February 2009.

Even as NATO’s official strategic doctrine continues to describe nuclear weapons as “essential to peace,” the world is undergoing an extraordinary reawakening to the unique threats posed by nuclear weapons and the need to finally eliminate them.

For some in the growing gallery of nuclear abolitionists, the focus is on the 20,000-plus nuclear warheads, several thousand of them poised on missiles ready for firing at a moment’s notice, that remain in the arsenals of the nine states with nuclear weapons.1 Sixty-four years into the nuclear age, the destructive power of these arsenals remains well beyond imagining. For others, including many of those more recently converted to the pursuit of zero nuclear weapons, the focus is on the growing fears that these weapons, as well as weapons-friendly technologies and nuclear materials, will spread to more and more states, and even to non-state groups.

These concerns have produced a series of public appeals by a broad range of world figures (see “Recent statements” below2), all insisting anew that our collective well-being, and that of our fragile planet, requires that nuclear arsenals be eliminated and permanently banned.

  This briefing a) reviews NATO’s current nuclear posture; b) reviews the growing calls among security professionals and political leaders for concrete measures in pursuit of a world without nuclear weapons; and c) suggests ways in which NATO’s Strategic Concept should be amended to bring it into sync with the emerging nuclear disarmament imperative and the obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Read the rest here => (PDF, 8pp)
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