July 2007, No. 9 – Resources for a Nuclear Weapons Free World
From: John Burroughs, Executive Director
In this eNews:
1) Resources for Achieving a Nuclear Weapons-Free World
a) Putin and Bush spar over U.S. plans to build anti-missile bases in Poland and the Czech Republic. The United States and Iran struggle over influence in the Middle East and Iran’s uranium enrichment program. The illegal, failed and bloody U.S. occupation of Iraq drags on. It seems the world is caught in a sort of time warp, back to 20th century superpower nuclear maneuvering and even 19th century imperialism.
Here at LCNP, we want to live in a 21st century of rule-of-law based cooperative security. Indeed, in May we released a book on that theme, Nuclear Disorder or Cooperative Security? U.S. Weapons of Terror, the Global Proliferation Crisis, and Paths to Peace, produced in collaboration with Western States Legal Foundation and Reaching Critical Will of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. (Order at www.WMDreport.org.) We launched the book in the United States at a May 31 briefing for Congressional staffers in Washington, and internationally on May 1 at a Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) governmental meeting in Vienna preparing for the 2010 review. We provided it to numerous key senators and members of the House, and Representative Barbara Lee plans to distribute it to the 70 members of the Progressive Caucus. A May 31 Inter Press Service story highlighted our analysis of the problematic role of the UN Security Council, dominated by five nuclear weapon states (Britain, France, China, Russia, United States). And Frida Berrigan of the World Policy Institute praised the book in a review in Disarmament Times (p. 8). On July 18, 2007, I briefed the Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters on recommendations of Nuclear Disorder or Cooperative Security.
Nuclear Disorder or Cooperative Security provides a context for understanding today’s news: How the U.S. withdrawal from the ABM Treaty, abandonment of verified nuclear arms reductions, and failure to work towards controls on missiles and anti-missile systems set the stage for the current U.S.-Russian dispute over missile defenses. How the United States has deployed the IAEA and the Security Council against Iran while failing to come to grips with underlying issues of the spread of nuclear fuel cycle technology, decades-old U.S.-Iranian hostility, and stagnation on reduction and elimination of existing arsenals. How the doctrine of preventive war used to justify the invasion of Iraq violates the UN Charter and erodes international order. The book also explains paths to peace: ways and means for reduction and elimination of nuclear arsenals and prevention of their spread; developing the role of law and treaty regimes in ordering global politics; the proper use of language in defining problems and agendas; redefining security away from nation-based militarism and toward achieving social, economic, and environmental human security for each individual.
b) Also useful is Securing Our Survival (SOS): The Case for A Nuclear Weapons Convention, released in connection with IPPNW’s April launch of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN). (See the op-ed about ICAN by Judge Weeramantry, president of LCNP’s parent body, the International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms.) Alyn Ware, LCNP international coordinator, co-authored Securing Our Survival, and program associate Michael Spies contributed. To order, see http://www.lcnp.org/mnwc/survival.htm.
The prohibitions of chemical and biological weapons and, most recently, of antipersonnel landmines were achieved through determined negotiations that resulted in international conventions (treaties). More than a decade ago a group of lawyers, scientists, physicians, and policy experts set out to draft a document that could point negotiators toward a convention prohibiting and eliminating nuclear weapons. The result was a Model Nuclear Weapons Convention that was submitted to the United Nations as a working document. This was followed in 1999 by the publication of Security and Survival, which explained the rationale. Now, ten years after the Model Convention was released in 1997, in Securing Our Survival, experts have returned, and have been joined by others, to reconsider the case for a convention prohibiting and eliminating nuclear weapons in the changed global security dynamic. They agree with the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission chaired by Hans Blix. In its 2006 report (p. 109), the Commission rejected the notion that “outlawing nuclear weapons is a utopian goal” and found that a “nuclear disarmament treaty is achievable.”
c) This year Michael Spies and LCNP president Peter Weiss published articles
in the American University International Law Review. Michael examines the contested
issues of law and policy raised by Iran’s pursuit of a uranium enrichment
capability, and Peter gives “six reasons” why the abolition of nuclear
weapons is more urgent than ever. Let us know if you’d like copies.
2) Signs of Movement
Despite the headlines, there are reasons to think that there are opportunities for progress:
3) Iraq War and Occupation Report; Iran situation
In June, our colleagues at Global Policy Forum released an excellent, comprehensive report, War and Occupation in Iraq. LCNP is among the co-sponsoring organizations, and provided editorial assistance for the section on indiscriminate weapons. While the Iraq war has not been an LCNP focus, I did speak at the January Citizens Hearing on the Legality of U.S. Actions in Iraq in Tacoma, Washington, and in 2004 Peter Weiss and I were organizers and presenters for the New York session of the World Tribunal on Iraq. In particular, Peter and also Nicole Deller and I have opposed the doctrine of preventive war, applied with such disastrous effect in Iraq, as contrary to the UN Charter.
We continue to closely track the U.S./Iran confrontation, to oppose any U.S. attack on Iran, which again would be unlawful and disastrous, and to urge alternative policies. See Michael Spies’ analysis of the March 2007 Security Council resolution and his posts on the Security Council and other Iran matters at DisarmamentActivist.org. The European Union and the United States are expected to seek another resolution imposing stronger sanctions, perhaps in September.
4) Disarmament Affairs at the United Nations
The controversy early this year over UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s plan to downgrade the Department for Disarmament Affairs resulted in a compromise. Disarmament Affairs was not subsumed under another department, as Ban had originally proposed, and is still headed by a person at the under-secretary-general level, but is now designated an “office.” Civil society definitely played a role in preventing a worse outcome, for example by a letter drafted by LCNP and signed by New York-based NGOs. For analysis, see my piece in the spring issue of Disarmament Times (p. 2). Ban recently appointed veteran Brazilian diplomat Sergio de Queiroz Duarte as the new “High Representative for Disarmament Affairs” to head the office. Duarte is a strong proponent of disarmament. He has participated in recent Middle Powers Initiative consultations to which LCNP has made contributions. We wish him good fortune in his demanding new position.