A preview of the PDF is not available
Towards Nuclear Disarmament
Nuclear weapons are held by a handful of states which insist that these weapons provide unique security benefits, and yet reserve uniquely to themselves the right to own them. This situation is highly discriminatory and thus unstable; it cannot be sustained. The possession of nuclear weapons by any state is a constant stimulus to other states to acquire them ... a central reality is that nuclear weapons diminish the security of all states. Report of the Canberra Commission on the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons B arring unexpected dramatic breakthroughs in the remaining few weeks of this century, the millennium will begin with a legacy of false promises and dashed expectations in the realm of nuclear arms control and disarmament. Following decades of a costly East-West arms race, the late 1980s witnessed the beginning of a hopeful new era in nuclear arms reductions with the negotiation of the 1987 Intermediate-and Shorter-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty; START I in July 1991 and parallel unilateral cuts in American and Soviet sub-strategic nuclear weapons a few months later; moratoria on nuclear weapon testing initiated in October 1990 by the then-Soviet Union and followed by the United States in 1992; renunciation of inherited (Soviet stationed) nuclear weapons by Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine; START II in January 1993; indefinite extension of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1995; establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones (NWFZs) in South-East Asia in December 1995 and in Africa in April 1996; and conclusion of a Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) in September 1996. The ending of the Cold War and its associated winding down of the nuclear and conventional confrontation between East and West raised hopes internationally of finally moving towards prohibition of biological, chemical and nuclear weapons. But in the aftermath of the Cold War several factors intervened to dampen hopes and bring into question the resolve to achieve further nuclear reductions and to implement fully a number of negotiated arms control agreements. The bilateral START process has been at a standstill, entry into force of the CTBT remains at best a remote possibility, testing and deployment of missile defence systems threaten the integrity of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, and new rationales justifying the continuing retention or modernization of nuclear forces are ascendant in three out of the five NPT nuclear-weapon states (NWS).