Confronting the sceptics, rousing the downtrodden
Not convinced? Swayed by the obsequious caution and vague disquiet of the nuclear weasel states? (motto: "don't make trouble".) Cowed by the self-serving arguments and veiled threats of the nuclear-weapon states?
What exactly might go wrong here? Would pursuing a ban treaty:
- paralyse the Conference on Disarmament?
- sow discord and division in the NPT?
- stall the convening of the conference on a Middle East WMD-free zone?
Let's look at some of the other objections:
"Alternative approaches to nuclear disarmament would divide the international community"
The international community is already fundamentally divided - into those who have nuclear weapons, and those who don't. The NPT preserves this division. There are only two ways the division can be removed: either those with nuclear weapons give them up, or those without nuclear weapons acquire them. Nobody seems to think the second option is a good idea, which leaves the first as the only way to unify the international community.
"Alternative approaches to nuclear disarmament distract attention from the existing fora"
This might have some validity if anything was actually happening in the existing fora. If, say, negotiations on an FMCT were nearing completion in the CD, it would probably be wise to avoid distractions. But otherwise, what is the danger in being distracted from the contemplation of a blank wall? What would the consequences actually be? And the biggest mystery: how do the nuclear-weapon states keep a straight face when they spout this drivel?
"Alternative approaches to nuclear disarmament might derail current efforts"
There are three requirements for a derailment:
- There must be tracks
- The train must be on the tracks
- The train must have wheels
None of these conditions currently applies to nuclear disarmament.
"Pursuing a treaty without the nuclear-weapon states would be confrontational"
Actually, it would be quite the opposite at the beginning: it requires disengaging from the nuclear-weapon states and leaving them in peace for a while. And remember that the nuclear-weapon states repeatedly avow that they are committed to nuclear disarmament. Negotiating a treaty banning nuclear weapons is no more confrontational than reminding a friend to whom you have lent money to repay it.
Treat these feeble and transparent excuses with the contempt they deserve. Change the game. >