Global Outlook: Cooperative Security, Arms Control and Disarmament

Curated expert opinion on intractable contemporary issues

Global Outlook: Cooperative Security, Arms Control and Disarmament

NATO Allies, Don’t Dismiss the TPNW

By Tom Sauer  |  13 February, 2021

The entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) on 22 January 2021 yields strong and mixed emotions. Advocates expect an acceleration of the climb to the summit of Mountain Global Zero. Opponents repeat that the nuclear-armed states will never sign the Treaty. If the nuclear-armed states are not willing to ban nuclear weapons, though, the odds are that others will not believe their promises to eliminate nuclear weapons, as required by the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT). That does not bode well for the NPT, the “cornerstone” of the nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament regime.

Sovereignty As Responsibility And The Ban Treaty

By Ramesh Thakur  |  08 February, 2021

In 1984, President Ronald Reagan noted the nuclear emperor had no clothes: “The only value in our two nations [U.S. and Soviet Union] possessing nuclear weapons is to make sure they will never be used. But then would it not be better to do away with them entirely”? Indeed it would. The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) tries to do so through a new normative settling point on the ethics, legality and legitimacy of the bomb.

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.

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.

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.