Category: struggle against nuclear war
Washington’s ‘crackpot’ nuclear posture endangers the world to an alarming degree
| February 6, 2018 | 7:39 pm | struggle against nuclear war | No comments

Washington’s ‘crackpot’ nuclear posture endangers the world to an alarming degree

Finian Cunningham
Finian Cunningham (born 1963) has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. Originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, he is a Master’s graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. For over 20 years he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organizations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent. Now a freelance journalist based in East Africa, his columns appear on RT, Sputnik, Strategic Culture Foundation and Press TV.
Washington’s ‘crackpot’ nuclear posture endangers the world to an alarming degree
Washington’s latest Nuclear Posture Review imperils global security in three ways: it inflates perceived threats to the US, it conflates conventional & nuclear war and it pushes for the development of low-yield nuclear weapons.

These three new moments in US policy increase the risk of nuclear war rather than lowering it, as American Defense Secretary James Mattis claimed in signing off on the Nuclear Posture Review published last week.

Mattis states that the long-term goal of the US is the elimination of all nuclear weapons from the world — but Washington has no intention of ever doing this. That’s because US leaders never cease to view the world as a relentlessly threatening place, justifying a $1 trillion upgrade of the nation’s nuclear arsenal.

The NPR states: “This review comes at a critical moment in our nation’s history, for America confronts an international security situation that is more complex and demanding than any since the end of the Cold War.”

Four specific threats are outlined: Russia, China, North Korea and Iran.

But what’s perplexing is that so little credible detail is presented by the Pentagon to justify why it considers these four entities to be such dire threats, requiring greater US nuclear posturing.

In regard to Russia and China, the NPR asserts (on page 6): “Since 2010 we have seen the return of Great Power competition. To varying degrees, Russia and China have made clear they seek to substantially revise the post-Cold War international order and norms of behavior.”

However, the Pentagon doesn’t provide substantive detail on what this “revision of the international order” by Russia and China entails and why it should be considered by the US a grave security threat.

On Russia, the Pentagon claims: “Russia has demonstrated its willingness to use force to alter the map of Europe and impose its will on its neighbors, backed by implicit and explicit nuclear first-use threats… Its occupation of Crimea and direct support for Russia-led forces in eastern Ukraine violate its commitment to respect the territorial integrity of Ukraine.”

Regarding China, Mattis states in the preface of the NPR that Beijing is “challenging traditional US military superiority in the western Pacific.” Here, the Pentagon is referring to China’s territorial claims to islands in the South China Sea.

These alleged transgressions by Russia and China are repeated throughout the Pentagon’s Nuclear Posture Review, as well as assertions that both countries have moved to “greater salience of deployment of nuclear forces.”

What is disturbing is how the Pentagon has inflated specific local territorial disputes — Ukraine and South China Sea — to constitute somehow a “worsening global threat environment.”

In the executive summary, the NPR states “global threat conditions have worsened markedly since the most recent 2010 NPR, including increasingly explicit nuclear threats from potential adversaries. The United States now faces a more diverse and advanced nuclear-threat environment than ever before.”

At a couple of brief points, the US NPR states that it does not want to have an adversarial relationship with either Russia or China, yet it repeatedly depicts both as a threat. This is consistent with two other documents recently published by the Trump administration — the National Security Strategy, in December, and the National Defense Strategy (NDS), in January — which again called out Russia and China as priority “rivals.” The NDS indeed said Russia and China were now a bigger national security threat than non-state terrorism.

In the latest NPR one quote (page 30) stands out: “Russia is not the Soviet Union and the Cold War is long over. However, despite our best efforts to sustain a positive relationship, Russia now perceives the United States and NATO as its principal opponent and impediment to realizing its destabilizing geopolitical goals in Eurasia.”

Aside from the flagrant deceit over US and NATO encirclement of Russia, again it is noteworthy how vague accusations are somehow made into a sinister threat. The NPR surely ought to say what Russia’s supposedly “destabilizing geopolitical goals in Eurasia” are, but doesn’t.

So are we to believe that Russia’s economic integration with China and other Eurasian neighbors is an illegitimate ambition? Is Russia’s move towards replacing the American dollar in bilateral trade with China immoral? Arguably, such moves are threatening to US hegemony. But they are not acts of war in any reasonable definition.

That’s the thing. It is obvious that Washington is construing political and economic changes in the world — the tendency toward a multipolar order — as a mortal threat to its unipolar ambitions. For Washington, this threat is being transposed into military terms. The problem is not foreign “enemies;” the problem is Washington’s warmongering.

The second perplexing theme in the US NPR is how it conflates conventional and nuclear war. Repeatedly throughout the document, it states that American nuclear forces are to be “tailored and more flexible” as “deterrents” (one could argue “offensives”) “against conventional and nuclear threats.”

With regard to Russia, the Pentagon reiterates the litany of allegations against Moscow that it is acting aggressively in Ukraine and against American allies in Europe, including with “new forms of aggression from cyberattacks.”

Provocatively, the Pentagon declares that “Russian aggression” will “trigger incalculable and intolerable costs for Moscow.”

This is disturbing, to say the least, because the military chiefs in Washington are accusing Russia of what it perceives as “aggression,” while at the same time Washington is saying that it is moving toward “nuclear deterrence” to confront it.

A third area of concern is the explicit go-ahead by Washington for the development of so-called “low-yield nuclear warheads.” The concept of “mini-nukes” has been around for several years, but now the Pentagon is declaring it will pursue development of these weapons. The NPR specified submarine-launched missiles as the sector where the mini-nukes will be deployed.

The dangerous consequence is the notion that a limited nuclear war may be feasible. Thus, a greater risk of “low-yield” nuclear weapons being deployed in action. But the real danger is that the threshold will then be lowered for escalation to strategic weapons of mass destruction.

Taken together, the latest US Nuclear Posture Review presents an alarming deterioration in global security. In stark contrast to the Pentagon’s claims of “raising the threshold” for nuclear war, the latest policy formulation entails a reckless lowering of that threshold.

During the height of the Cold War, the renowned American sociologist C. Wright Mills coined the phrase “Crackpot Realists” to refer to Pentagon war planners and their relentless depiction of world threats as justification for stockpiling weapons of mass destruction.

It is evident from the latest NPR that the Cold War is still being waged, and Crackpot Realists are ever-present in the Pentagon.

As Mills wrote back in 1958: “The absence of an American program for peace is a major cause of the thrust and drift toward World War III.”

Think about that. The risk of world annihilation and the grotesque waste of human resources could easily be solved, if only Washington would engage in peaceful diplomacy with the rest of the world.

The underlying reason for why this does not happen — American-desired hegemony — is why Washington stands condemned.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

Moscow Disappointed by Content of New US Nuclear Doctrine
| February 4, 2018 | 2:27 pm | Analysis, Russia, struggle against nuclear war | No comments

Russian Foreign Ministry building

Moscow Disappointed by Content of New US Nuclear Doctrine

© Sputnik/ Vladimir Pesnya

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The Russian Foreign Ministry has commented on the Nuclear Posture Review, issued by the United States on February 2, naming Russia, North Korea, Iran and China as potential threats to the US national security.

“The content of the new nuclear doctrine (the so-called Nuclear Posture Review) released by the United States on February 2 has provoked our deep disappointment. The confrontational and anti-Russian nature of this document strikes the eye. We can state with regret that the United States explains its policies for a large-scale boost of nuclear weapons by referring to the modernization of the nuclear forces in Russia and alleged increasing role of nuclear weapons in the Russian doctrine statements. We are accused of lowering the nuclear threshold and of conducting some ‘aggressive behavior,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Speaking about the US Nuclear Posture Review released on February 2, the Russian Foreign Ministry pointed out that accusations against Moscow of aggressive behavior, interventions, breaches of arms control agreements, written in the document, have nothing to do with reality.

“All of these [accusations] has nothing to do with the real situation. The military doctrine of the Russian Federation clearly limits the use of nuclear weapons to two hypothetical and purely defensive scenarios: only in response to aggression with the use of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction against Russia and (or) our allies, and also — the second scenario — in case of use of conventional weapons, but only when the very existence of our state is threatened,” the ministerial statement reads.

The Russian side revealed their position on the document, calling it an unfair attempt to shift the blame for the degradation of the international nuclear situation.

“Such peremptory cliches have recently been replicated by Washington without a pause. We consider this as an unfair attempt to shift on others the responsibility for the degradation of the situation in the field of international and regional security and the imbalance of arms control mechanisms, resulting from a series of irresponsible steps taken by the United States itself,” the ministry added.

The ministry called the statements concerning the US interest in “stable relations” and commitment to constructive cooperation, mentioned in the doctrine, hypocritical. As the ministry explained, Russia would take the necessary measures to ensure its security due to the approaches defined in the document.

“Of course, we will have to take into account the approaches introduced by Washington and take all necessary measures to ensure own security,” the ministry said in a statement issued in response to the Friday publication of the NPR.

READ MORE: Trump’s Nuclear Posture Review: From US Nuke Capabilities to Nuclear Terrorism

Addressing the bottom line of the document, Moscow stated that it questions Russia’s right to self-defense in situations critical for the country’s existence.

“It turns out that the US readiness, declared in this review, to use nuclear weapons in order to prevent Russia from using its nuclear weapons is an attempt to question our right to self-defense when countering aggression in situations critical for the existence of the state,” the statement said.

Nevertheless, Moscow urged Washington to engage in a joint search for solutions to problems related to maintaining strategic stability, underlining that all nuclear states should be involved in nuclear disarmament, especially the United Kingdom and France as the US’ allies.

“The doctrine’s parts about Washington being interested in ‘stable relations’ with us [Russia] and its determination to work constructively in order to reduce respective risks look hypocritical,” the statement reads.

“From our part, we are ready for such work [on cooperation]. We urge the United States to seriously engage, jointly with us, in the search for solutions to the problems accumulating in the sphere of maintenance of strategic stability,” the Russian ministry said.

“We have directed the attention [of various players] including the United States to the fact, that settling key strategic stability problems, such as unilateral and unrestricted deployment of the US global missile defense system, implementation of the ‘global strike’ concept, the US denial to ratify the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and refusal to rule out possibility of deploying weapons in space, would contribute to creating the needed conditions for moving on the path of nuclear disarmament,” the statement pointed out.

US Nuclear Weapons

Moscow has expressed concern over Washington’s “unlimited” approach to the issue of nuclear weapons use, calling for a deeper look into the possibility of its use in a case of “extreme circumstances”, as the Posture Review reads. Speaking about their anxiety over the document, the Russian side explained that the US still possessed ans is even modernizing tactical nuclear weapons in Europe, placing them near Russian borders.

“Washington’s practically ‘adjustable’ approach to the use of nuclear weapons is concerning. The possibility of its use in the case of ‘extreme circumstances’ is declared, which the doctrine’s authors do not limit to military scenarios at all,” the statement read.

“If all this is not an increase of the nuclear weapons factor in the doctrine, then what does the United States mean when it uses this notion about Russia?” the statement pointed out, referring to the US statement on the increasing role of nuclear weapons in the Russian military doctrine.

READ MORE: US Nuclear Doctrine Allows for ‘Another Hiroshima, Nagasaki Bombing’ — Lawmaker

Speaking about the accusations against the country, the Russian side stressed its commitment to all obligations under international agreements, in particular, the INF treaty (Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty) and the Open Skies agreement.

“The document’s statement that Russia allegedly refuses to further reduce its nuclear capabilities is yet another example of the blatant ‘falsification,'” the ministry said.

The newly released Nuclear Posture Review describes US nuclear capabilities, as well as challenges supposedly posed by Russia, China, rogue states and nuclear terrorism.

“Statements that the implementation of plans presented [in the US nuclear doctrine] ‘will not lower the threshold of the use of nuclear weapons,’ is, at least, the intention to mislead the world community,” the Russian ministerial statement reads.

“Even more dangerous is the belief of the US military experts and other specialists in the sphere of national security, emerging from the pages of the nuclear doctrine, in their ability to reliably simulate the development of conflicts, in which they allow usage of ‘low-yield’ nuclear warheads. For us, the opposite is clear: significantly lowered ‘threshold conditions’ may lead to a missile-nuclear war even during low-intensity conflicts,” the Russian ministry stressed.

US President Trump has decided to follow Obama’s plan for modernizing the country’s nuclear arsenal, including new bomber aircraft, submarines and land-based missiles. US nuclear forces are said to contribute to the “deterrence of nuclear and non-nuclear attack,” “assurance of allies and partners,” “achievement of US objectives if deterrence fails,” and “capacity to hedge against an uncertain future.” As Secretary of Defense James Mattis has observed, “a safe, secure, and effective nuclear deterrent is there to ensure a war that can never be won, is never fought.”

Nobel Peace Prize winner Ican warns nuclear war ‘a tantrum away’
| December 10, 2017 | 6:30 pm | Donald Trump, struggle against nuclear war | No comments

Nobel Peace Prize winner Ican warns nuclear war ‘a tantrum away’

Accepting the Nobel Peace Prize, Ican’s Beatrice Fihn appears to refer to the North Korean crisis.

Nobel Peace Prize winner Ican warns nuclear war ‘a tantrum away’

Leader of the Nobel Committee Reiss-Andersen (left), Hiroshima survivor Setsuko Thurlow and executive director of Ican Beatrice Fihn at the award ceremony of the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, 10 December 2017Image copyright Reuters
Ican’s executive director Beatrice Fihn (right) said nuclear disaster may be a “tantrum away”

The world faces a “nuclear crisis” from a “bruised ego”, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (Ican) has warned in an apparent reference to US-North Korea tensions.

Accepting the Nobel Peace Prize on Sunday, Ican’s executive director Beatrice Fihn said “the deaths of millions may be one tiny tantrum away”.

“We have a choice, the end of nuclear weapons or the end of us,” she added.

Tensions over North Korea’s weapons programme have risen in recent months.

The open hostility between US President Donald Trump and the North Korean leadership under Kim Jong-un has at times descended into personal attacks this year.

Ican award sends nuclear message

Who are the Nobel Peace Prize winners?

‘Irresponsible leaders’

Speaking at the ceremony in Oslo, Ms Fihn said “a moment of panic” could lead to the “destruction of cities and the deaths of millions of civilians” from nuclear weapons.

The risk of such weapons being used, she added, was “greater today than during the Cold War”.

Ican, a coalition of hundreds of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), has worked for a treaty to ban the weapons.

Prior to presenting the prize on Sunday, Nobel committee chair Berit Reiss-Andersen offered a similar warning, saying that “irresponsible leaders can come to power in any nuclear state”.

Ms Reiss-Andersen commended Ican which, she said, had succeeded in highlighting the dangers of nuclear weapons as well as trying to eradicate them.

Beatrice Fihn (left), leader of Ican, talks with Hiroshima nuclear bombing survivor Setsuko Thurlow at the city hall in Oslo, Norway, during the award ceremony of the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize, 10 December 2017Image copyright Getty Images
Ms Fihn (left) speaks with Hiroshima nuclear bombing survivor Setsuko Thurlow

Ms Reiss-Andersen also acknowledged the contributions of Setsuko Thurlow, an 85-year-old survivor of the Hiroshima atomic bombing and now an Ican campaigner.

Ms Thurlow, who was rescued from the rubble of a collapsed building at the time, said that most of her classmates, who were in the same room, were burned alive.

“Processions of ghostly figures shuffled by,” she said on Sunday. “Grotesquely wounded people, they were bleeding, burnt, blackened and swollen.”

In pictures: Hiroshima, the first atomic bomb

Nobel winners throughout the years

North Korea and Trump

Mr Trump has warned that North Korea’s government will be “utterly destroyed” if war breaks out.

White House national security adviser HR McMaster said last week that the potential for war with North Korea was increasing every day.

In November, Pyongyang said it had tested a missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead and reaching the whole of continental United States.

North Korea: What could tip the balance?

What we know about new NK missile

Trump and North Korea war of words

Ican, formed in 2007 and inspired by a similar campaign to ban the use of landmines, has made it its mission to highlight the humanitarian risk of nuclear weapons.

A coalition of hundreds of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), the Geneva-based group helped pave the way for the introduction of a UN treaty banning the weapons, which was signed this year.

While 122 countries backed the treaty in July, the talks were notably boycotted by the world’s nine known nuclear powers and the only Nato member to discuss it, the Netherlands, voted against.

Only three countries, the Holy See, Guyana and Thailand, have so far ratified the treaty, which requires 50 ratifications to come into force.

US STRATCOM Head Ready to Resist Possible Illegal Order to Use Nuclear Weapons
| November 18, 2017 | 8:37 pm | Donald Trump, DPRK, struggle against nuclear war | No comments
a giant nuclear-equipped USAF B-52 bomber lifts off from the snow covered RAF Fairford runway in Gloucestershire, England, en route to the Gulf

US STRATCOM Head Ready to Resist Possible Illegal Order to Use Nuclear Weapons

© AFP 2017/ Gerald Penny

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Air Force Gen. John Hyten, commander of the US Strategic Command (STRATCOM) said on Saturday he was ready to disobey a possible presidential unlawful order to use nuclear weapons.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Air Force Gen. John Hyten said at the Halifax International Security Forum in Canada that the law of armed conflict set a number of criteria to determine legality of a military action such as necessity, distinction, proportionality, unnecessary suffering and others.

“I provide advice to the president, he will tell me what to do… And if it’s illegal, guess what’s going to happen? I’m going to say, ‘Mr. President, that’s illegal.’ And guess what he’s going to do? He’s going to say, ‘What would be legal?’ And we’ll come up [with] options, with a mix of capabilities to respond to whatever the situation is, and that’s the way it works. It’s not that complicated,” Hyten said, as quoted by the CBS News broadcaster.

“If you execute an unlawful order, you will go to jail. You could go to jail for the rest of your life,” he added.

Earlier this week, the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee raised the issue of whether incumbent President Donald Trump should retain an authority to order a nuclear strike. The Senate focused on the problem after Trump’s harsh remarks about North Korea, which included the promise to to unleash “fire and fury” and to “totally destroy” the country if necessary.

US military leaders would reject illegal order for nuclear strike, senators told

US military leaders would reject illegal order for nuclear strike, senators told

As senators raise concerns about ‘unstable’ Donald Trump’s decision-making, former commander says military is ‘not obligated to follow illegal orders’

Robert Kehler, right, addresses the Senate foreign relations committee.

Robert Kehler, right, addresses the Senate foreign relations committee. Photograph: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

As senators raise concerns about ‘unstable’ Donald Trump’s decision-making, former commander says military is ‘not obligated to follow illegal orders.

US military commanders would refuse a presidential order to carry out a nuclear first strike that they thought was illegal, senators were told on Tuesday.

Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the chamber’s foreign relations committee, has expressed fears that the president is taking the country “on the path to world war III”.

Separately CNN reported on Tuesday that a “Nato partner country” had raised concerns about Trump’s command of the US nuclear launch system, under which the president alone can order a launch.

Opening the hearing, Corker – who has recently been engaged in bitter exchanges with Trump over his fitness for office – noted that “the president has the sole authority to give that order, whether we are responding to a nuclear attack or not”.

“Once that order is given and verified, there is no way to revoke it,” the Tennessee senator said. “To be clear, I would not support changes that would reduce our deterrence of adversaries or reassurance of our allies. But I would like to explore, as our predecessors in the House did 41 years ago, the realities of this system.”

Chris Murphy, Democratic senator from Connecticut, said: “We are concerned that the president of the United States is so unstable, is so volatile, has a decision-making process that is so quixotic, that he might order a nuclear weapons strike that is wildly out of step with US national security interests.”

Retired Gen Robert Kehler, commander of US Strategic Command (StratCom) from 2011 to 2013, told the Senate committee that he would have refused to carry out a nuclear first strike on presidential orders if he believed it did not meet the requirements of proportionality and necessity under the law of armed conflict.

“I would have said: I’m not ready to proceed,” Kehler said.

“Then what happens?” he was asked.

“I don’t know,” he replied. “Fortunately, these are all hypothetical scenarios. There is the human factor in our system. There is a human element to this.

“It would be a very interesting constitutional situation, I believe. The military is obligated to follow legal orders but is not obligated to follow illegal orders,” Kehler said, adding that he always made sure he had legal advisers at hand when he was at Strategic Command.

Ed Markey, a Democratic senator from Massachusetts who is sponsoring legislation that would limit the president’s authority to launch a first nuclear strike, said he was not reassured by Kehler’s arguments.

“I don’t have confidence that a military chain of command would reject an order by the president to launch nuclear weapons in a preventative nuclear war situation,” Markey told the Guardian after Tuesday’s hearing.

“I think that would be abdicating the responsibility of the US Congress to a group of generals who in many instances would have been appointed by the commander-in-chief, Donald Trump. That’s a very thin reed on which to have the fate of the planet being dependent.”

The president and his top officials have said repeatedly that North Korea would not be allowed to threaten the US with nuclear weapons, but as Pyongyang has persisted with its nuclear and missile tests, it has been unclear what the administration would do to stop the regime.

In August, the national security adviser, HR McMaster, raised the prospect of a “preventative war”, but many observers of the Korean standoff said any conflict was highly likely to quickly escalate into a nuclear exchange.

Under the US constitution, only Congress has the power to declare war, but the president, as commander-in-chief of the armed forces, has the authority to respond to an actual or imminent threat. Much of the Senate committee hearing was taken up by discussion of what constituted an imminent threat and who could make that determination.

Peter Feaver, a politics professor at Duke University and a specialist on presidential war powers, said: “I would say distinguish between scenarios where the military wake up the president versus scenarios where the presidents wake up the military.”

Feaver added: “In the context where the president is waking up the military in an extreme funk, saying ‘I’m angry and I want something done’, he would require a lot of people cooperating with him to make the strike happen. And they would be asking the questions that would slow down that process.”

Arms control experts however, expressed doubt that lawyers would always be involved in the decision.

“The system is designed entirely for speed, not deliberation,” said Stephen Young, a senior analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

“Certainly in the case of responding to an incoming attack, the lawyers are not involved. It is not clear it would be any different for a nuclear first strike, despite Gen Kehler’s statements.”

‘Pressure’ on US Needed to Solve N Korea Crisis Diplomatically – Peace Activist

‘Pressure’ on US Needed to Solve N Korea Crisis Diplomatically – Peace Activist

A man watches a television news programme showing US President Donald Trump (C) and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (L) at a railway station in Seoul on August 9, 2017

‘Pressure’ on US Needed to Solve N Korea Crisis Diplomatically – Peace Activist

© AFP 2017/ JUNG Yeon-Je

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Amid the ongoing tensions over North Korea, the US is reportedly preparing to put its nuclear-armed B-52 bombers back on 24-hour alert, a measure unseen since 1991. Arthur West, Chairman of the Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, explained why this decision is rather dangerous and what should be done instead to resolve the crisis.

Sputnik: Despite North Korea making significant progress with their nuclear weapons program… is this necessarily the right response from the US? What affect will this move have on the already delicate situation?

Arthur West (AW): The response by the United States is deeply depressing. I’m afraid it’s a very worrying development and I think it could escalate tensions. The response should be concentrated on a diplomatic solution to the issues.

Sputnik: From your perspective, instead of this constant ‘one upping’ of each other from the US and North Korea, what should be done to alleviate tensions between North Korea and the West? 

AW: Other countries in the world, such as the UK, should start to put pressure on America to find a diplomatic outcome to the current situation. I think that the US president and his administration should accept that any escalation will have absolutely disastrous consequences; I mean what happened in Hiroshima at the end of War World II in terms of casualties and damage.

So, there should be pressure on the United States to get into a diplomatic solution and also such countries as China and Japan should have got something to offer in terms of talks to resolve the situation.

Sputnik: Is there a worry that the provocative actions we’ve seen over the past days and weeks could inspire other countries to develop nuclear programs in a similar way to North Korea? What affect would this have on any international nuclear disarmament efforts?

AW: There is a real degree of hypocrisy here from the like of the US and the UK that speak about modernizing nuclear own weapons systems and yet they are calling on countries like North Korea to move away from nuclear weapons. So I think if we go down the current path yes it could encourage other countries to look at developing nuclear weapons and we don’t want that.

In September, 122 countries voted in the United Nations to have a global ban treaty in relation to nuclear weapons. Disappointingly, the US and the UK ignored these talks, but 122 countries voted in favor.

We need to use forums and structures, such as the UN global ban treaty, to try and move things forward. Certainly at CND we are putting pressure on the UK government to start to take that treaty seriously because over the next couple of years countries will be signing and ratifying that treaty. That offers a one way forward from the current situation towards a nuclear weapons free world.

‘Return to sanity’: Gorbachev calls for US-Russia summit amid fears of nuclear treaty collapse Published time: 12 Oct, 2017 12:52
| October 12, 2017 | 8:21 pm | Analysis, Russia, struggle against nuclear war, USSR | No comments

‘Return to sanity’: Gorbachev calls for US-Russia summit amid fears of nuclear treaty collapse

'Return to sanity': Gorbachev calls for US-Russia summit amid fears of nuclear treaty collapse
Mikhail Gorbachev has warned that the treaty signed between the US and the Soviet Union on the elimination of nuclear and conventional missiles is “in jeopardy,” stressing that scrapping the 1987 deal could end in “disastrous” consequences.

“This December will mark the 30th anniversary of the signing of the treaty between the Soviet Union and United States on the elimination of intermediate- and shorter-range missiles…” the former Soviet leader wrote in an opinion piece for The Washington Post, referring to the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.

He went on to note the merits of the deal, citing the fact that Russia and the US reported in 2015 that 80 percent of the nuclear warheads accumulated during the Cold War had been decommissioned or destroyed.

However, Gorbachev – who led the Soviet Union from 1985 to 1991 – said the agreement is now “in jeopardy.”

“It has proved to be the most vulnerable link in the system of limiting and reducing weapons of mass destruction. There have been calls on both sides for scrapping the agreement,” he wrote.

Gorbachev stated that both Russia and the US have “raised issues of compliance, accusing the other of violating or circumventing the Treaty’s key provisions…”

“Relations between the two nations are in a severe crisis,” he said, noting the importance of establishing “a dialogue based on mutual respect.”

The former Soviet leader said that it is up to US President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to “take action,” and called on both countries to hold a summit to focus on “the problems of reducing nuclear weapons and strengthening strategic stability.” 

Once again noting the importance of the INF Treaty, Gorbachev warned that scrapping the deal could result in a collapse of the “system of nuclear arms control,” which would lead to “disastrous” consequences.

Gorbachev referred to today’s “troubled world” and said it was “disturbing” that US-Russia relations have “become a serious source of tensions and a hostage to domestic politics.” 

“It is time to return to sanity,” he wrote.

Signed at a 1987 summit meeting between Gorbachev and then-US President Ronald Reagan, the INF Treaty obligated both sides to eliminate their short- and intermediate-range missiles. It came into force on June 1, 1988.

The Treaty allowed for hundreds of nuclear-tipped missiles that were deployed in Europe to be scrapped amid the Cold War arms race.

The editorial comes just days after former US Defense Secretary William Perry warned that relations between Washington and Moscow have entered a “new Cold War,” and that current conditions could lead to global conflict.