Proliferation Press

A webpage devoted to tracking and analyzing current events related to the proliferation of WMD/CBRN.

Australian-Japanese Report Provides General Overview of Disarmament & Nonproliferation Issues

Posted by K.E. White on December 21, 2009

A new report provides detailed and wide-ranging recommendations to halt the spread of nuclear weapons. Sponsored by the Japanese and Australian governments, the report seeks to influence ongoing preparations for the 2010 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty next summer.

The report also comes before a nuclear security summit hosted by U.S. President Barack Obama next April.

Without a chance to read it, for now I’ll offer this critique from Greg Sheridan at The Australian:

In its political analysis, the report often seems to exist in a kind of parallel universe, where all states pay attention to the UN and do just as they’re told and all disagreements are solved by negotiation. That may be a laudable end, but pretending the world is like that does not help policy-makers take sensible decisions.

More generally, he argues that nuclear disarmament will be possible when even the prospect of major war is unthinkable. Well, yes, I suppose if you’ve achieved total world peace you may be able to negotiate nuclear weapons away. But for the next 1000 years or so we’ll still have to grapple with them.

Evans is very taken with the idea that all states possessing nuclear weapons should declare that their only purpose for having them is to deter other nations from attacking them or their allies with nukes. Yet he recognises that the “no first use” declaration of the old Soviet Union was “almost universally dismissed as purely a propaganda exercise”, and that similar statements by other powers are greeted with cynicism. Therefore, he says, “it may be better to settle in the first instance for a different formulation of essentially the same idea”. That, sadly, just about sums up this report: a different formulation of some very tired and unrealistic ideas.

The report is often very confusing. It states baldly that the problems of North Korea and Iran’s nuclear programs can be solved by negotiation, without the slightest evidence of this being true. Evans states that the Iran situation looks unlikely “to be resolved by the further application of coercive sanctions”.

The report takes the mistaken standard international left line against national missile defence, even while asserting that theatre missile defence is a good thing, and acknowledging that you can’t really distinguish one from the other. And on and on. This report serves certain bureaucratic and even political ends. It does nothing for nuclear disarmament.

And Sheridan isn’t alone. This Times of India article expresses India’s frustration with the report.

One Response to “Australian-Japanese Report Provides General Overview of Disarmament & Nonproliferation Issues”

  1. […] for Global Policymakers”—a joint Australian-Japanese project—was released. While much reaction has been critical, Haaretz correspondent Amir Oren writes this positive editorial: It is no longer possible to […]

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