Academic journal article Parameters

Why Nuclear Disarmament Matters

Academic journal article Parameters

Why Nuclear Disarmament Matters

Article excerpt

Why Nuclear Disarmament Matters. By Hans Blix. Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 2008. 95 pages. $14.95.

This compact book is written by someone with impeccable credentials; the author served from 2000 to 2003 as the head of the United Nations Monitoring, Verification, and Inspection Commission's (UNMOVIC) search for nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons programs in Iraq, and then until 2006 as the chair of the United Nations Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission. The book echoes (and includes as an appendix) the major recommendations of the latter's unanimous report.

Hans Blix highlights a multitude of reasons for his current pessimism regarding arms control, including the slow pace of superpower nuclear disarmament (the reduction of 23,000 warheads already accomplished leaves some 27,000 warheads in place, despite the commitment to nuclear disarmament contained in Article VI of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty), and as the most recent treaty review conference, in 2005, came to an acrimonious end. Pessimism is now often expressed about the prospects for survival of the nonproliferation regime, given Iran and North Korea's apparent intentions to acquire such weapons. But Blix convincingly argues that because nuclear proliferation needs to be restrained, it is much too early to give up on the treaty.

The book directs substantial criticism at the Bush Administration's seeming lack of respect for international law and arms control. …

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