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The colossal failure of the 10th Non Proliferation Treaty Treaty (NPT) Review Conference

The fundamental point of division at the conference was never the Ukraine conflict. Rather, the essential divide was that Non Nuclear Weapons NNWS States wanted to chart a credible path to nuclear disarmament with concrete commitments and good-faith implementation, while Nuclear Weapons States wanted to maintain the status quo. And the NWS won. For now.

Death by a thousand red lines, By Cesar Jaramillo, 10 Sept 22, The official record will show that Russia tanked the long-delayed and much-anticipated 10th Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), that it was the sole NPT state party to block consensus on the outcome document, and that the disagreement was ultimately over references in the text relevant to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. This is all accurate—but only part of the story.

The profound rifts that divided NPT states parties from the beginning and prevented even modest progress ran much deeper than the predictably contentious Ukrainian conflict. Well before the Russian delegation took the floor during the last session to indicate that it would not endorse the text of the final document, it was abundantly clear that the conference would not meet even modest expectations. Its main accomplishment: the further weakening of the NPT’s credibility as a framework for nuclear abolition.

Unmet expectations

Faced with a convoluted and fragile international security environment, the world needed this Review Conference, already delayed for two years, to make progress………………………………….

As they had at previous NPT Review Conferences and Preparatory Committees, NWS attempted to justify the indefinite retention of their arsenals while still professing support for the goal of a world without nuclear weapons…………………….

Red lines for all nuclear weapon states

Russia blocked consensus because the text crossed one of its “red lines.” All other nuclear-armed states party to the NPT were ready to do the same if one of their red lines were crossed. This they made clear, repeatedly, at the Plenary, Main Committees, and Subsidiary Bodies. Somehow, they were more successful than Russia in keeping anything they couldn’t live with out of the draft outcome document………………….

Iran and other Middle Eastern states wanted Israel included in the outcome document’s section on the pursuit of a nuclear-weapons-free zone in the Middle East, but this was certain to be rejected by the United States, and so no mention of Israel appeared in that section. ………………………………………..

Familiar attacks on the TPNW

As predicted, nuclear-armed States Parties to the NPT dismissed and rejected the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). ………………………..

The TPNW has replaced tired arguments over the purported value of nuclear weapons possession with a renewed emphasis on the humanitarian imperative for nuclear disarmament. From this perspective, the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons use outweigh any alleged benefits……………….

Positive advances

The absence of an outcome document does not mean that the NPT Review Conference had no value of any kind. The mere fact that it was finally held and well attended is a positive measure of the ongoing commitment of states parties to the treaty and the objectives it embodies.

……………………………………………. The fundamental point of division at the conference was never the Ukraine conflict. Rather, the essential divide was that Non Nuclear Weapons NNWS States wanted to chart a credible path to nuclear disarmament with concrete commitments and good-faith implementation, while Nuclear Weapons States wanted to maintain the status quo. And the NWS won. For now.

Cesar Jaramillo is Executive Director of Project Ploughshares. https://beyondnuclearinternational.org/2022/09/11/death-by-a-thousand-red-lines/

September 20, 2022 - Posted by | 2 WORLD, weapons and war

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