Global Outlook

Curated expert opinion on intractable contemporary issues

Trump Chaos Highlights Risks of Sole Nuclear Launch Authority

By Ramesh Thakur  |  19 January, 2021

Critics of nuclear weapons have long pointed to two sets of risks. First, deterrence stability depends on all fail-safe mechanisms working every single time in every bomb-possessing country. That is an impossibly high bar for nuclear peace to hold indefinitely. Second, it also requires that rational decision-makers be in office in all the world’s nine nuclear-armed states.

How Nuclear Dependent States Could Respond to the Entry into Force of the TPNW

By Alexander Kmentt  |  12 January, 2021

Since the dawn of the nuclear age in 1945, perceptions and strategic positions amongst States regarding nuclear weapons have always differed. The 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) has thrust these existing divisions to centre stage. The treaty is the result of an increasing emphasis placed by non-nuclear weapon States on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons and the persisting risks posed to all humanity by these weapons.

Unhinged Leaders and Nuclear Weapons: It’s Time to Act

By Dr Tanya Ogilvie-White  |  10 January, 2021

I’ve spent my life studying the risks posed by nuclear weapons. I’ve always worried that one day an unhinged leader would emerge in a nuclear-armed country, with the authority to launch a nuclear attack. To me, the assumption that nuclear-armed leaders will act rationally has always seemed fundamentally flawed and dangerous. Robert McNamara, former US secretary of defence, highlighted this problem when he warned “the indefinite combination of human fallibility and nuclear weapons will destroy nations”. Today, I worry about this more than ever and wish more people would wake up to the problem and push for change.

UN Secretary General Sounds the Alarm: – ‘War on Nature’ is ‘Suicidal’

By Volker Boege  |  19 December, 2020

The “state of the planet is broken”. This was the UN Secretary General’s succinct summation of the situation humankind finds itself in today. In his speech of 2 December on the global climate change emergency and the dramatic deterioration of the environment, he listed some of the most important facts which illustrate the severity of the current climate and environmental crisis: “The past decade was the hottest in human history”; “Carbon dioxide levels are still at record highs – and rising”; “We are headed for a thundering rise of 3 to 5 degrees Celsius this century”; “As always, the impacts fall most heavily on the world’s most vulnerable people. Those who have done the least to cause the problem are suffering the most”.

Will Nuclear States Accept Post-Use Responsibility? If Not, Why Not?

By George Perkovich  |  17 December, 2020

Critics and proponents of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons both pay too little attention to its provisions on legal accountability for past and possible future detonations of these weapons. Among other things, the treaty calls on each State Party to “provide technical, material and financial assistance to States Parties affected by nuclear-weapon use or testing” and to “provide assistance for the victims of the use or testing of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices” [article 7]. Such victims could be non-belligerent nations who had no say or benefit in the decisions of nuclear-possessor states.

Don’t Mention the Ban: Australia’s Evasion of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

By Gem Romuld  |  14 December, 2020

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons is a gamechanger. It puts all nuclear-armed states in breach of international law, along with any state that includes these weapons in its security doctrines. It coalesces regional nuclear weapon free zones, builds upon other nuclear arms control agreements and in ten simple pages condemns any activity that condones nuclear weapons.

The views and opinions expressed in Global Outlook are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Toda Peace Institute.