It’s hard to believe, but less than a decade ago, academics, policy analysts, and even officials were exploring US-NATO-Russia cooperation on ballistic missile defence1 – begging the question: why is that no longer considered an appropriate subject for polite company? Missile defence cooperation is still happening, of course, but it’s between Russia and China on one side and among the US and its friends and allies on the other. Unless, however, missile defence is pulled back from its current competitive dynamic to one of east-west accommodation and cooperation, nuclear tensions, and arsenals, will only grow. Canada has joined the competitive fray in Europe through NATO, but, to its credit, continues to resist direct involvement in the strategic North American version of ballistic missile defence.
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)
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…”
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?
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.