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Policy Briefs on Cooperative Security, Arms Control and Disarmament

Cooperative Security, Arms Control and Disarmament

Towards a Nuclear Restraint Regime: From a Normative Ban Treaty to a Substantive Agenda

Policy Brief  No.8 - March, 2018 • By Manpreet Sethi

Many strategic analysts fear that the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons may widen the rift between the nuclear weapons states and the non-NWS by stigmatizing the nuclear weapon possessors rather than the weapons. The pertinent questions are therefore how to translate the normative pressure that the treaty poses into something more substantive? Can some measures be identified for the NWS to take, and for the non-NWS to encourage them into taking, to promote its objectives? Can bridges be built between the positions of NWS and non-NWS; and between adversarial nuclear rivals? This paper argues that the pathway to elimination is as important as the process of elimination itself. It suggests a nuclear restraint regime that addresses many dimensions of nuclear weapons deployment – their role, targets, force postures, types and numbers, and also the circumstances in which they are employed. Each restraint would circumscribe the role of nuclear weapons, and as the circle of their utility becomes smaller, eventual elimination will become possible.

Cooperative Security, Arms Control and Disarmament

Cooperation or Conflict? Walking the Tightrope of NPT and Ban Treaty Supporters

Policy Brief  No.6 - March, 2018 • By Angela Kane

The adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in 2017 changed the paradigm of the NPT and its review process. The two preparatory meetings preceding the 2020 NPT Review Conference will show in stark relief the differences and the convergence between the nuclear allies and the Ban Treaty supporters. The paper looks at the emergence of the frustrations of the non-nuclear weapon states that led to the Ban Treaty and its adoption by almost two-thirds of the United Nations member states. It outlines the arguments against the Ban Treaty put forward by the nuclear allies and the hardening of positions in light of their cavalier dismissal of the Ban Treaty. The paper addresses these criticisms, discusses the positions put forward by the Ban Treaty supporters, and examines the possible repercussions for the debate on nuclear issues and security. The paper argues that the nuclear possessors should accept the Ban Treaty as a reality and focus on the way forward: renewed dialogue and cooperation with the non-nuclear-weapon states. Suggestions for constructive engagement are addressed to both nuclear allies and Ban Treaty supporters, arguing that vision and leadership is needed from both sides in order to avoid a further disintegration of the nuclear architecture.

Cooperative Security, Arms Control and Disarmament

Folding the Umbrella: Nuclear Allies, the NPT and the Ban Treaty

Policy Brief  No.5 - March, 2018 • By Paul Meyer

The adoption of the Nuclear Weapons Prohibition Treaty (NWPT) by 122 states in July 2017 introduced a powerful new dynamic into the stagnant realm of nuclear disarmament. The decision by the nuclear weapon states (NWS) and their nuclear dependent allies to boycott the NWPT negotiations created a schism within the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) community that will not be easily repaired. The NWPT did not come out of the blue, but was in itself a manifestation of the building frustration of non-NWS over the failure of the NWS to deliver on their nuclear disarmament commitments. While sharing some of this frustration, the nuclear dependent allies opted to privilege adherence to the doctrine of nuclear deterrence over advancing nuclear disarmament goals. If the NPT regime is not to suffer serious erosion, these nuclear dependent allies will need to convince their NWS partners to undertake tangible nuclear disarmament action. The Nonproliferation and Disarmament Initiative grouping of states (which includes both pro and anti NWPT states) may have a special role to play in this regard.

Cooperative Security, Arms Control and Disarmament

Summary Report: Bridging the Gap Between Ban Treaty Supporters and Step-by-Step Approaches to Eliminating Nuclear Weapons

Summary Report  No.3 - February, 2018 • By Kevin P. Clements

Effective verification will be absolutely essential to achieving nuclear disarmament. Developing effective verification may seem an impossible challenge, but there is substantial experience to build on, including IAEA safeguards and bilateral arms control processes. Examining the specific steps required to progress disarmament, we are not starting with a blank sheet, many verification missions are similar to those existing or under development today. International collaboration in developing new verification applications will contribute to the confidence and trust required to achieve the elimination of nuclear weapons.

Cooperative Security, Arms Control and Disarmament

Trump's Nuclear Posture Review: A New Rift between Europe and the US?

Policy Brief  No.2 - February, 2018 • By Dick Zandee and Sico van der Meer

President Trump’s recent Nuclear Posture Review lays out important policy changes with regard to US nuclear weapons. It broadens the circumstances in which the US may use nuclear weapons and aims for the introduction of new types of ‘smaller’ nuclear weapons. Both intentions may contribute to lowering the threshold for nuclear weapons use and blur the difference between nuclear and conventional weapons. These changes have direct effects on NATO’s European member states and require an informed debate among policy makers as well as the general public in these states. This Policy Brief offers some considerations as input for such a debate.