Sunday 10 Oct 2021 | 07:22 | SYDNEY
Sunday 10 Oct 2021 | 07:22 | SYDNEY

Nuclear Commission won't perform miracles, but...


Rory Medcalf


24 October 2008 13:44

Suggestions that the new Nuclear Disarmament Commission, sponsored by Australia and Japan, should come up with an instant plan to turn North Korea, Iran and others away from the nuclear-weapons path essentially miss the point. Nobody is pretending that a project like the Commission is a substitute for direct pressure on North Korea and Iran, or that it can produce immediate results.

Chris Skinner is right that there is a need to craft and articulate compelling arguments for nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament. Indeed, in the new issue of Foreign Affairs, Ivo Daalder and Jan Lodal do just that. Given that Daalder advises Obama on nuclear arms control, this article’s arguments for ‘the logic of zero’ should be taken very seriously indeed.

I too hope that the International Commission for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament will make a strong case for the logic of non-proliferation, smaller arsenals, less reliance on nuclear weapons and ultimately their abolition. But the greater challenge for the Commission will be to map the outlines of a much-needed new global consensus on how to pursue those goals, in which all countries – nuclear-armed and non-nuclear, NPT states or not – are willing to make concessions. This won’t only require exceptional diplomacy, but time, and the Commission’s first meeting concluded just a few days ago. Getting the attention of major powers, notably the new US Administration and Russia, will be critical.

Disclosure: The author is serving as an occasional research consultant to the Commission.

Photo by Flickr user mpp26, used under a Creative Commons license.