Nuclear Weapons: The Road to Zero

Nuclear Weapons: The Road to Zero

Nuclear Weapons: The Road to Zero

Nuclear Weapons: The Road to Zero


This volume of essays, a map of the 'road to zero', gives the reader a primer on the current state of nuclear disarmament and provides a comprehensive review of the steps needed to achieve a nuclear-weapon-free world.


The Pugwash Monograph A Nuclear-Weapon-Free World: Desirable? Feasible? edited byJoseph Rotblat,Jack Steinberger andBhalchandra Udgaonkar , published in 1993, was the outcome of a comprehensive study carried out by Pugwash on the need to eliminate nuclear weapons, and on the ways to achieve this. the book has since been translated into seven languages -- Arabic, Chinese, French, Japanese, Russian, Spanish and Swedish. in 1995 (after the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Pugwash) the book was published by Westview Press in a paperback edition.

The publication of the Pugwash Monograph can be seen as the start of serious studies on the concept of a nuclear-weapon-free world. These include several reports from the Henry L. Stimson Center in the United States, the inesap group in Germany, the International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms, and the Committee on International Security and Arms Control (CISAC) of the us National Academy of Sciences. As a direct outcome of the Pugwash Monograph, the Australian Government set up the Canberra Commission. the Report of the Commission, published in 1996, is a powerful exposition of the urgent need to rid the world of nuclear weapons.

In addition to these studies there have been important pronouncements, both by individuals -- high ranking military and political leaders -- and by groups. These include the statement from the International Generals and Admirals, 60 of them from 17 countries, and the clear opinion from the International Court of Justice on the obligation of the nuclear powers to proceed to nuclear disarmament. the result of all this is that the notion of a nuclear-weapon-free world is no longer the fanciful dream of a fringe group, but a sound and practical objective, which could be realized in the foreseeable future.

There is also a growing mass movement centred around the "Abolition 2000" network.

Despite all this, the basic policy of the nuclear weapon states (or at least four of them) remains unaltered: nuclear weapons are needed for their security.

While the present situation can be described as a stalemate, there have been a number of events since 1993, some marking progress towards an nwfw but others moving away from the goal. On the positive side, the Nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty is now practically universal, leaving the three threshold states, India, Pakistan, and Israel, as notorious exceptions. On the other hand, the indefinite extension of the npt in 1995 is viewed by some in the nuclear weapon states as a licence for the indefinite retention of nuclear weapons.

The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, though not yet in force, has been adopted by a very large number of states, including all five nuclear powers, and it seems very unlikely that any of these will resume testing. On the other hand . . .

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