APLN Policy Brief 30
The following is a summary. Click on the adjacent link to download the full brief.
The majority of non-nuclear weapon states have launched negotiations in the UN General Assembly for a treaty banning nuclear weapons. The nuclear weapon states, supported by allies such as Australia, are opposed and say they will not participate. This position is inconsistent with their undertaking in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to pursue negotiations for nuclear disarmament. Elimination of nuclear weapons will require a series of agreements likely extending over many years. A ban treaty would be an important step, further stigmatizing nuclear weapons and reinforcing the goal of elimination. The nuclear weapon states should recognize they have many points in common with the non-nuclear weapon states, and participate constructively in the negotiations. For their part, the non-nuclear weapon states should be prepared to moderate their demands to achieve agreement: for example, in the first instance a ban on use would be more achievable than an outright ban.
About the Author
John Carlson is Counselor to the Nuclear Threat Initiative, Washington, and Nonresident Fellow at the Lowy Institute, Sydney. He was previously Director General of the Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office (1989–2010), Chairman of the IAEA’s Standing Advisory Group on Safeguards Implementation (2001–06), and founding Chair of the Asia–Pacific Safe-guards Network (2009–12).