To eliminate the danger of eventual nuclear war, we will have to embark on a far more revolutionary political project than the nonproliferation complex acknowledges, or perhaps is even aware of. A study from 1946, when only one nation had the bomb, captured the problem:
"Effective international control to guarantee that atomic weapons could not be used by an aggressor nation is virtually impossible under the present concept of a world divided into nations maintaining their full sovereignty. No system of inspection can be expected to be 100 per cent effective in such a world, and 99 per cent is no guarantee."
The authors of this statement, not dreamy idealists but the US joint chiefs of staff, recognised what the complex has avoided. Nuclear abolition is not going to happen unless a regime is devised capable of preventing a national from building a bomb on the sly. Such a regime would have to be more powerful than any existing state, so cannot be conceived as part of a world divided into sovereign nations. If you want to get to nuclear zero, this is the kind of political agenda you have to address. As long as the tacit twin goals of the complex -- selective non-proliferation and ineffectual abolition -- continue to shape the international agenda, one outcome is certain: a world filled with nuclear weapons.
Friday, February 24, 2012
Campbell Craig and Jan Ruzicka argue that 'the nonproliferation complex' -- 'a loose conglomeration of academic programmes, think tanks, NGOs, charitable departments and government departments all formally dedicated to the reduction of nuclear dangers' -- is based on a (self) deception. Excerpt: