The voice of young liberal democrats


RE: Obama’s Policy on Nuclear Disarmament by georgeinwashington
October 20, 2007, 11:36 pm
Filed under: Foreign Affairs, nuclear weapons, Uncategorized

London Liberal,

I always intended this blog to be a forum for debate and so I would like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to debate you by posting something that I completely disagree with 😉 Firstly I would direct you to my previous post on the Lib Dems Nuclear Policy and why I believe that it is wrong. Secondly I would start by saying that your proposition that there is clear blue water between the issues of proliferation and disarmament is not the case in fact nor in international law.

The nuclear non proliferation treaty of which the US and the UK are signatories places an obligation on the sanctioned nuclear weapons states to move towards disarmament. This is the deal that was struck, to stop non nuclear states from developing nuclear weapons the nuclear states would work towards the elimination of them. When we reject our part of the bargain then we obviously encourage others to do the same.

Furthermore there seems to be little utility for us to continue to hold nuclear weapons. As was said in 1999 by Paul Nitze, the man who wrote NSC-68 the document that started the post war rearming of the USA. The advancements in conventional weapons mean that the USA can now achieve all of its military goals with conventional forces, making the continuing stocks of nuclear weapons superfluous and morally indefensible. Obama’s policy is entirely logical. Nuclear weapons no longer serve the needs of the United States, encourage proliferation and international law requires the US to  move towards disarmament.

In terms of your argument that nuclear weapons can be a deterrent to further proliferation, keeping nukes would surely not achieve this goal. Nuclear weapons of course are only a credible threat if the enemy believes they will be used and I find it inconceivable that any sane person would use a nuclear weapon to retaliate for another state obtaining them. Despite the fact that these new nuclear states would not have the capacity to “win” a nuclear confrontation with the US, nuclear weapons are more often acquired not as a means of attack but as a deterrent to a conventional invasion. This was after all the rational for France acquiring the bomb because it knew that NATO forces would not be able to stop a conventional invasion of Western Europe by the Soviet Union.

Finally I will end by reminding you that the debate over nuclear weapons is not only about military tactics or strategy, but it is about the very survival of the human race. The nuclear weapons in existence today have the potential to destroy the planet. Given the gravity of the subject at hand I therefore find it insufficient to argue that nuclear weapons should be held simply because we can not foresee the future. It is precisely at this time, when there are no foreseeable threats, that we should be disarming. If not now then when? If not the US than who? and if not then what? The goal of a nuclear free world would be one of the greatest achievements in all history and it is something that is possible within our lifetimes, if we can rise to meet the challenge.

GinDC

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