Coherence Matters

By Granoff, Jonathan; Burroughs, John | Arms Control Today, November 2004 | Go to article overview

Coherence Matters


Granoff, Jonathan, Burroughs, John, Arms Control Today


Robert S. Norris and Hans M. Kristensen in What's Behind Bush's Nuclear Cuts (ACT, October 2004) highlighted why the cuts in the Russian and U.S. arsenals called for in the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT) are not getting substantial international recognition. Because the cuts are not irreversible and lack a verification mechanism, the form of the treaty makes the effort inconsistent with commitments made in the context of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). In matters relating to international peace and security, clarity and consistency are needed to build consensus.

Consensus on the need to stop the spread of nuclear weapons has been growing since the end of the Cold War. In fact, in order to obtain the indefinite extension of the NPT, now with Î89 states-parties, commitments to nuclear elimination were made by the five declared nuclear-weapon states: China, the United States, France, Russia, and Britain.

These five states, with approximately 96 percent of the world's nuclear weapons, have not adequately taken direct steps toward fulfilling this primary obligation. Worse, three have indicated such negotiations will not be pursued for the "forsceable future."

Important elements of the 1995 bargain for the permanent extension of the treaty and specific commitments made in the Final Document of the 2000 Review Conference remain sidelined or even repudiated. All parties agreed, inter alia, to take concrete measures to further reduce the operational status of nuclear weapons systems; diminish the role for nuclear weapons in their security policies; adhere to principles of verification, transparency, and irreversibility in the application of reductions; obtain an early entry into force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT); and negotiate an effectively verifiable fissile material cutoff agreement. The START II is dead, the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty is scrapped, the CTBT is not in force and has strong vocal opponents in the U.S. administration, and a verifiable fissile material cutoff agreement is not supported by the United States. …

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