Policy Briefs Books Journals

Cooperative Security, Arms Control and Disarmament Policy Brief  No.98 - November, 2020

The Nuclear Umbrella Revisited

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.