Policy Brief No.98 - November, 2020
On 21 September 2020, 56 former leaders of 22 umbrella states published an open letter in support of the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW or the Ban Treaty). The Treaty obliges member states to never, under any circumstance, assist or encourage use, threats of use or possession of nuclear weapons. The fact that so many leaders were ready to support such a radical departure so shortly after leaving government suggests that they had developed a certain restiveness and discomfort with the state of affairs during their time in office. Now, with the NPT in miserable shape and the TPNW about to come into force in January, it is hoped that the wrangling between the respective treaty supporters will calm down and enable a new consensus on the normative basis for non-proliferation and disarmament.
Policy Brief No.96 - October, 2020
After three years of an erratic approach to North Korea, the Trump administration has made little progress in reducing the nuclear threat and enhancing peace and security on the Korean Peninsula. The Kim Jong Un regime not only maintains its stockpile of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, but these capabilities have grown both quantitatively and qualitatively. The next US president will have to address this grave situation. This Policy Brief examines what might work and outlines four steps on a practical path to building a new framework for peace and security on the Korean Peninsula. This article was first published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists: https://thebulletin.org/2020/10/a-practical-approach-to-north-korea-for-the-next-us-president/
Policy Brief No.95 - October, 2020
The shared understanding of the rules and the premise of International Humanitarian Law is challenged by the accelerated development of new military technologies. Is the existing IHL framework robust enough to protect civilians, combatants and the environment in the face of new military technologies? The judicial remedy of IHL is oriented to the past in the sense that its main task is to resolve cases that have already occurred. Therefore, it also tends to ex post relief, as is typical for paying “compensation” for damages. The challenge posed is to address the questions about what may happen in a risk society today. This paper addresses the question of how existing and emerging technologies impact IHL rules in order to consider how legal challenges posed will be responded to in the future.
Policy Brief No.92 - September, 2020
This Policy Brief explores the anticipated role of the TPNW verification system in the emerging international nuclear disarmament regime, which will determine whether or not the Treaty will be successful in addressing the risks posed by nuclear weapons and in achieving progress on nuclear disarmament. It argues in favour of creating a new verification authority responsible only to the TPNW Parties to address the elimination of the existing arsenals, complementing the verification missions assigned to the International Atomic Energy Agency (the IAEA) in the text of the Treaty. The author presents a possible framework, methods and techniques to meet the three verification requirements noted.
Policy Brief No.91 - September, 2020
The Cold War-era weapons governance structures are no longer fit for purpose in contemporary equations where nuclear dyads have morphed into nuclear chains. In an increasingly polycentric global order, the dyadic nuclear arms control structure can neither regulate nor constrain the choices of other nuclear-armed states. Yet growing risks point to the urgent need to institutionalise a nuclear restraint regime fit for purpose in the Asia–Pacific. In this Policy Brief, Ramesh Thakur explores the merits of adapting the Open Skies Treaty and the Incidents at Sea Agreement from the North Atlantic to the Asia–Pacific, and, in the reverse direction, of universalising a no-first-use of nuclear weapons policy from China and India to all nine nuclear-armed states.