Another Gap

The parties to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) were unable to reach any agreement at their month-long 2015 Review Conference ostensibly because of Middle-East politics. The parties were also far apart on how to deal with nuclear disarmament.  In the Humanitarian Pledge, a new dynamic has emerged.

By Tim Caughley

‘The whole plan to have the non-nuclear-weapons powers accept responsibility for preventing the destruction of mankind by renouncing nuclear arms is in disarray’. So said Alva Myrdal (Swedish minister for disarmament during the NPT negotiations and former Nobel Peace Prize winner) in 1976. The recent five-year review of that treaty has done little to dispel that conclusion.

Structural violence and nuclear deterrence

Arguably, the bureaucratic procedures of the nuclear weapons control regime serve to cloak the possibility of structural nuclear violence that threatens catastrophic humanitarian consequences for the whole world.

By John Borrie

I’ve just read David Graeber’s book, The Utopia of Rules: On Technology, Stupidity and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy (Melville House, 2015). With a title like that, and in the hinterland of United Nations bureaucracy in the Palais des Nations bookstore, who was I to resist the book?

The great NPT pillar fight: Round 2

High Stakes for the 2015 NPT Review Conference: Pillar One v. Pillar Two

By Tim Caughley

This is the second part of a posting on tensions in the NPT review process between pillar one (nuclear disarmament) and pillar two (non-proliferation). The previous posting on this issue concluded by noting that a prominent element in the political mix in next month’s NPT Review Conference will be the growth in profile during the current review cycle of the humanitarian approach to nuclear weapons.

The great NPT pillar fight: Round 1

High Stakes for the 2015 NPT Review Conference: Pillar One v. Pillar Two

By Tim Caughley

A perennial issue at NPT Review Conferences lies in political tensions stemming from the three pillars of the Treaty—nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy. One dynamic in recent years has involved questions whether Iran’s incipient nuclear industry has peaceful purposes (third pillar) or military ones (second pillar). The focus of this post, however, is on a different and rather more engrained issue involving the first and second pillars.

2015: An end to speculation?

2015 looks to be a decisive year, not least for the humanitarian initiative. But what else is on the horizon?

By Magnus Løvold

In January 2014, the stage had already been set for the humanitarian initiative. Preparations for the Nayarit conference were in their final stages, and rumours about a follow-up conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons in Vienna had been all but confirmed by the Austrian Government’s 2013 – 2018 Work Programme. States and organizations working to promote a humanitarian approach to nuclear disarmament had a good idea of what 2014 would bring, and the remainder of the year was, according to one observer, “mere logistics and implementation”.

The NPT in 2015 and the humanitarian initiative

Is the current inequitable global nuclear order sustainable? If not, does it matter? What are the implications for the NPT, and how does the so-called humanitarian initiative feature in the dynamics of its 2015 five-yearly review meeting?