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Member Publications

Our WMD treaties are working

ABSTRACT

As new technologies change the face of war, whether and how to pursue arms-control and disarmament treaties is an urgent question. Our past treaties show us that codified commitments can have an influence on state conduct. The author reviews what we can learn from existing agreements on weapons of mass destruction, including the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, the Iran nuclear agreement, and the conventions on biological and chemical weapons. Though in some cases they have had more impact than others, these agreements have been effective in curbing the spread and use of our most devastating weapons.

Read the full article at https://doi.org/10.1080/00963402.2017.1413058 (controlled access)

“If War Goes On…”: The imperative of ‘joined-up thinking’ in the search for sustainable peace

Remarks in Response to Assigned Question: “Can International Security and Cooperative Security Be Combined?”

Sean Howard, Adjunct Professor of Political Science, Cape Breton University

My title alludes to If the War Goes On, ‘Reflections on War and Politics’ by Hermann Hesse, from which I’d like to read two quotes, first from a December 1917 essay, Shall There Be Peace?: “The bigger, the bloodier, the more destructive these final battles of the World War prove to be, the less will be accomplished for the future, the less hope there will be of appeasing hatreds and rivalries, or of doing away with the idea that political aims can be attained by the criminal instrumentality of war.” And from a December 1918 article, The Path of Love: “Good ideas are in the air – the brotherhood of man, a League of Nations, friendly cooperation among all peoples, disarmament. There has been much talk of them both here and in the enemy countries, some of it not very serious. We must take these ideas seriously…[f]or never again must we revert to what we were: a powerful people with a great deal of money and many cannon, governed by money and cannon. … To do so would be to renounce everything which, prompted by deep affliction and desperate self-knowledge, we have done and begun…”

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Not Destiny But Resilience: Achieving a Nuclear Weapons-Free World

Address by Hon. Douglas Roche, O.C. to Canadian Pugwash Conference, “Canada’s Contribution to Global Security,” commemorating Canada’s 150th and Pugwash’s 60th Anniversaries

Halifax, July 24, 2017

We are challenged to open this conference by considering “Nuclear Weapons and the Destiny of Humanity.” The title surely forces us to think anew about our work in nuclear disarmament. Since the human proclivity for the acquisition of power seems to have been ingrained in people since Adam and Eve, are we destined to have nuclear weapons forever? Or does the maturation of humanity, evident in virtually every field of human activity, lead inexorably to the universal outlawing of all weapons of mass destruction? Are we doomed or are we saved?

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With a new nuclear weapons ban treaty, lines are drawn in the sand

By Paul Meyer | Published in OpenCanada.org on 5 July 2017

This Friday, July 7, should mark the conclusion of negotiations at United Nations headquarters on the world’s first treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons. The 130 states engaged in the process have converged their positions over four weeks of negotiation this year in order to produce a concise agreement that fills the “legal gap” in the international nuclear order. That order is encapsulated in the 1970 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) that forbids acquisition of nuclear weapons by non-nuclear states and commits the five nuclear weapon states — China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States — to eventual disarmament. The NPT however failed to prohibit possession or use of nuclear weapons and, despite its 47 years of existence, has been unable to bring about nuclear disarmament. 

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Douglas Roche: Canada on the wrong side of anti-nuke movement

The release of a draft of a UN agreement to ban nuclear weapons provides further momentum for the effort to stave off one of humanity’s greatest threats.

Published 31 May 2017 in The Hill Times, p.20.

By Douglas Roche

Leaders of the Canadian government who in the past few months have contented themselves with vapid excuses for not supporting efforts at the United Nations to prohibit nuclear weapons will have to work overtime to find credible reasons to maintain resistance, now that the draft text of a convention has been released.

The heart of the matter is contained in Article 1 (a), in which each state party undertakes never under any circumstances to “develop, produce, manufacture, otherwise acquire, possess, or stockpile nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.”

In other words, nuclear weapons are stigmatized, put beyond the pale, and never to be a part of a nation’s armoury. The Canadian government, tied so closely to the nuclear policies of Washington and NATO, will not accept this. The integrity of the Canadian position that it really wants to do away with nuclear weapons, but not just yet, is in tatters.

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