Abolishing Nuclear Weapons and NATO's New Strategic Concept

Kalpana Chittaranjan, Researcher, IDSA


Nuclear weapons have no military utility. The military factor comes into play essentially to provide credibility into the posture and as a reminder of the possibility that they could be used, resulting in a horrendous scale of destruction. Nuclear weapons really serve as powerful political instruments of coercion and demonstration of power, which are enhanced by the probability and use of nuclear weapons.

_ Jasjit Singh1

The "abolition of nuclear weapons" has been in the minds of many strategists, policy-framers and leaders ever since the horrendous and devastating effects of nuclear weapons became known more than five decades ago, with the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. This paper looks at how this ideal has been practised over the years_by arms controllers and theorists_and whether the new strategic concept of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), which was issued at the Washington Summit on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the founding of NATO, contributes, to or takes away from, a world bristling with nuclear weapons.

.c.Arms Control and Disarmament

Before an account is given of arms control in practice, it is essential to know the difference between the terms "arms control" and "disarmament". Between 1957 and 1962, the strategic community brought out the differences between what they meant by the arms control approach and the way it differed from disarmament as understood in the traditional way. According to Schelling and Halperin, "Arms control is essentially a means of supplementing unilateral military strategy by some kind of collaboration with the countries that are potential enemies. The aims of arms control and the aims of a national military strategy should be substantially the same."2 They also included in arms control any kind of military cooperation between potential enemies with the aim of "reducing the likelihood of war; its scope and violence if it occurs and the political and economic costs of being prepared for it."3

While disarmament was seen as an alternative to military strength, arms control was seen as a complement to it, since both enhance national and international security in different ways. Proponents of disarmament saw the existence of weapons as a cause of arms races and war whereas arms control was felt to represent a recognition of the continuing utility of military power in the modern world, and the new arms controllers believed that there was no simple cause and effect relationship between the possession of weapons and the outbreak of war as armaments were ever present features in the landscape of international politics and they were as much a part of peace-time as of the war-time environment.

However, not all arms controllers saw disarmament and arms control as distinct and incompatible with one another. Some belonged to the school of thought which argued that arms control was a generic term, covering any arrangement designed to reduce the likelihood of international military conflict and ranging from unilateral national force improvements at one end of the spectrum to possibilities of universal disarmament at the other.

The crucial distinguishing feature separating arms control from disarmament is that disarmament always involves arms reduction. These reductions may be total, involving the abolition of all arms or of one type of weapon; they may be partial, involving numerical reductions in some or all categories of weapons; or they could be local, regional or global. In contrast, arms control may involve reduction but need not necessarily do so and in certain circumstances, the arms control approach produces a requirement for more, not fewer, weapons. While the disarmament approach assumes that weapons are a cause of war and to abolish weapons is to abolish wars, the arms control approach believes that wars begin in the minds of people. The objective then becomes the control of those factors which prompt states to go to war.

A key feature in arms control is the acceptance of nuclear deterrence. The arms controllers saw nuclear weapons as an innovation that would make war between the great powers impossible and to abolish nuclear weapons would thus be a retrogade step. Nuclear deterrence was to be the "keystone" of national security, something to be enhanced and refined through measures to make it less accident-prone and to safeguard each side's retaliatory capability.4

Today, the term "arms control" is often used interchangeably with arms regulations, arms limitation and disarmament. A wide range of measures have come to be included under the rubric of arms control, and according to Jozef Goldblat, it is intended to: (a) freeze, limit, reduce or abolish certain categories of weapons; (b) prevent certain military activities; (c) regulate the deployment or armed forces; (d) proscribe transfers of some militarily important items; (e) reduce the risk of accidental war; (f) constrain or prohibit the use of certain weapons or methods of war; and (g) build up confidence among states through greater openness in military matters.5

.c.Brief Account of Arms Control Over the Years

Arms control came into being partly in response to the advent of the nuclear "balance of terror" and partly as a response to a perceived failure of the disarmament approach in the years immediately before and after World War II. In 1945, the whole context about the debate about disarmament had changed when the issue of nuclear weapons came into the picture. Atom bombs had been used and this mass destruction weapon could not be disinvented. Nuclear weapons represented an awesome potential for catastrophe which increased the general desire for disarmament but, at the same time, major new obstacles were placed in the path of effective disarmament. Nuclear-armed states that successfully cheated could cause literal annihilation for the state or states that were their victims.

The first US plan for the elimination of all nuclear weapons was submitted in November 1946, known as the "Baruch Plan" after Bernard Baruch, one of its authors. Under this plan, the USA, which was then the only nuclear weapon possessing country in the world, offered to dismantle them and make its civil nuclear knowledge available to all other countries. A new International Atomic Developmental Authority would supervise the weapons disposal and peaceful nuclear energy programmes. Though the UN General Assembly adopted the plan on December 3, 1946, it was rejected by the Soviet Union and its allies because these countries objected to the "control before disarmament" approach advocated by the USA. As the plan called for the establishment of the monitoring and supervision agency before disarmament began, the Soviets were suspicious of the pro-Western majority of the organisation which they felt would enable the authority to prevent Soviet research into nuclear weapons while US scientists had already acquired the knowledge needed to construct them.

When the Soviet Union exploded its first atomic bomb in 1949, the Americans fell prey to a similar lack of confidence in the idea of international control of nuclear weapons, and they abandoned the idea completely when the Soviets tested the H-bomb in 1954. However, the Baruch Plan is important because it represented the first and probably the last chance to achieve a complete ban on nuclear weapons. The two powers, during the 1950s, continued to call for such a ban as also for the abolition of all weapons of any magnitude but these calls were generally recognised as representing little more than propaganda posturing that was designed for public consumption rather than as a basis for negotiation.6

It became clear in the 1950s that complete nuclear disarmament would not be possible as the question of the verification of compliance with a total ban became "the" crucial issue. The French argued publicly that a total ban was impossible as the amount of fissile material in existence had reached the point where no reliable verification system could be produced which would guarantee that none had been hidden. Since total nuclear disarmament would demand total trust of the other side, which did not exist to the level needed in the Cold War, it was an impossible objective to pursue. It was several years before the superpowers could bring themselves to admit that this was indeed the case.7

Important multilateral arms control and disarmament agreements that have been signed in the nuclear sphere are: the Antarctic Treaty (signed 1959); the Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapons Tests in the Atmosphere, in Outer Space and Under Water or the Partial Test Ban Treaty (signed 1963); the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and other Celestial Bodies or the Outer Space Treaty (signed 1967); the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean or the Treaty of Tlatelolco (signed 1967, modified 1991 and amended 1992); the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons or NPT (signed 1968); the Treaty on the Prohibition of the Emplacement of Nuclear Weapons and other Weapons of Mass Destruction on the Seabed and the Ocean Floor and in the Subsoil Thereof or the Seabed Treaty (signed 1980).

The US-Soviet/Russian agreements are: the Treaty on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems or ABM Treaty (signed 1972); the Treaty on the Limitation of Underground Nuclear Weapon Tests or Threshhold Test Ban Treaty/TTBT (signed 1974); the Treaty on Underground Nuclear Explosions for Peaceful Purposes or the Peaceful Nuclear Explosions Treaty/PNET (signed 1976); the Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles or INF Treaty (signed 1987); the Treaty on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms or START I Treaty (signed 1991); and the Treaty on Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms or START II Treaty (signed 1993).

On May 11, 1995, the NPT Review and Extension Conference agreed to extend the NPT indefinitely and without condition. When US President Bill Clinton became the first leader to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) on September 24, 1996, he extolled the treaty in a speech before the 51st General Assembly session at New York as a "giant step" which by overwhelming global consensus has taken a "solemn commitment to end all nuclear tests for all time."8 However, in the three years since the US-led drive for the test-ban treaty began, 154 countries have signed it but only 47 of them have ratified it. Of these, the 44 countries with nuclear capability that must ratify it for the treaty to take effect, only 23 have done so. Of these, only two of the world's seven declared nuclear powers_Britain and France_have ratified it. Among the non-ratifiers are the other declared nuclear powers, Russia, China, the US, India and Pakistan as also Israel, which though it has never acknowledged that it has nuclear weapons, is widely believed to possess them. On October 4, 1999, Clinton conceded that he did not have the necessary votes needed for the CTBT to be ratified by the US Senate, which was scheduled for later in the week. He told reporters, "I hope we can get them."9 A three-day CTBT Review Conference was scheduled to begin in Geneva on October 6, 1999 to urge those who have signed and not ratified the Treaty to do so quickly.10

The Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT) too, has been hanging fire for some time now. While welcoming the significant progress induced by substansive bilateral agreements between the USA and Russia, in the context of the disposition of fissile materials for weapons purposes, US President Clinton proposed a mandate at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in September 1993, where he called for "_an international agreement that would ban production of these materials forever."11 With the support of many countries, including Canada (which was a major proponent of the idea), the UNGA endorsed a Resolution (48/75L).12 Annex A expresses the conviction that a "nondiscriminatory, multilateral and internationally and effectively verifiable treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices would be a significant contribution to nuclear non-proliferation in all its aspects."13

Aspects of Abolishing Nuclear Weapons14

Rational humans recognise that nuclear weapons are not sensible as they have no utility although they have the capacity to destroy civilisation. Recognising this, the Pugwash Conference on Science and World Affairs, founded in 1957 by scientists who sought to build bridges between East and West and eventually to outlaw nuclear weapons, believe that if humankind acts rationally, sooner or later it will abolish nuclear weapons. A Nuclear-Weapon Free World (NWFW), a Pugwash book, explores in 14 chapters by 26 authors who contributed_individually or collectively_how the dream of a nuclear weapon-free world (NWFW) can be transposed to reality. The book's preface notes that the only possible function of nuclear weapons is to deter their use by another state, but that argument becomes invalid if satisfactory guarantees are given by states that they do not possess them. The desirability and feasibility of an NWFW as an alternative, provided it is found possible to establish an effective verification system, is examined.15

.c.Nuclear Weapon States

As late as 1993, the five acknowledged nuclear powers16 possessed nearly 50,000 nuclear warheads.17 Between 1945-1993, the total warheads built by the nuclear-five countries came to a staggering 127, 545.18

In a project undertaken by the Brookings Institution, it was found that since 1940, the US has spent almost $5.5 trillion (in constant 1996 dollars) on nuclear weapons and weapons-related programmes. This figure which has been based on an "unprecedented four-year analysis of historical budget data and, where necessary, conservative estimates of costs that either remain classified or are not clearly apportioned to the nuclear programme_does not include $320 billion in estimated future-year costs for storing and disposing of more than five decades' worth of accumulated toxic and radioactive wastes and $20 billion for dismantling nuclear weapons systems and disposing of surplus nuclear materials. When these amounts (at least one of which is likely to exceed current official estimates) are factored in, the total incurred costs of the US nuclear weapons programme exceed $5.8 trillion."19

Table 1. Strategic Nuclear Weapons Of The Original "Nuclear Five"20

Country Suspected strategic Suspected non-strategic Suspected total

nuclear weapons nuclear weapons nuclear weapons

China 284 150 434

France 482 0 482

Russia 7,200 6,000-13,000 13,200-20,200

UK 100 100 200

USA 8,500 7,000 15,500

Three of the original nuclear weapons states (NWS), the USA, Britain and France, are also members of NATO21 which was established on September 17, 1949, by action of the North Atlantic Council pursuant to the North Atlantic Treaty signed at Washington DC., on April 4, 1949, by the foreign ministers of the 12 countries of Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the UK and the USA. While Greece and Turkey acceded to the treaty in 1952, the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) became a member in 1955 and Spain became a signatory in 1982. In early 1999, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland became members, thus, increasing NATO membership to the present 19 countries.

The Preamble to the North Atlantic Treaty signed at Washington DC., on April 4, 1949, reads:22

The Parties to this Treaty reaffirm their faith in the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and their desire to live in peace with all peoples and all governments.

They are determined to safeguard the freedom, common heritage and civilization of their peoples, founded on the principles of democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law.

They seek to promote stability and well-being in the North Atlantic area.

They are resolved to unite their efforts for collective defence and for the preservation of peace and security.

It is interesting to note that NATO was established just four years after the USA detonated two atom bombs_"Little Boy" over Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, and "Fat Man" over Nagasaki on August 9, 1945.23

.c.NATO's New Strategic Concept

Washington DC was the venue for NATO's 50th anniversary celebrations and was held form April 23-25, 1999. During this period, a new "Strategic Concept,"24 was adopted. The document formally recast the Alliance's Cold War era mission from one of collective defence to one that in the former NATO secretary general's words would guarantee European security and uphold democratic values "within and beyond our borders."25 The new strategy, particularly that of nuclear weapons policy, departed little from the language found in the strategic concept which had been approved in 1991 at the summit meeting held in Rome on November 7 and 8, 1991, when the Soviet Union still existed. The two points of departure for the new strategic concept vis--vis that issued in 1991 are those of "out of area action" and its "open-door policy."26 While "out of area" is officially sanctioned_an instance is NATO's air campaign against Yugoslavia_NATO's "open-door policy" for new member countries was reaffirmed.

The introduction to NATO's new Strategic Concept states in paragraph 2, "The dramatic changes in the Euro-Atlantic strategic landscape brought by the end of the Cold War were reflected in the Alliance's 1991 Strategic Concept. There have, however, been further profound political and security developments since then." While NATO has tried to lessen the role of nuclear weapons, though it had an opportunity at the summit to bring its outdated nuclear weapons first-use policy into alignment with its stated objectives and commitments, it is still stuck at the "flexible response" mode, a policy which it has been maintaining for the past three decades which allows it to introduce nuclear weapons into a conflict, including in reply to an attack with conventional weapons.

While tracing the evolution of this doctrine, it becomes clear that right from the beginning, NATO was ready to use nuclear weapons first in a conflict. Even before the Soviet Union had tested a nuclear weapon in 1949, Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty which had been drafted earlier in the same year, committed the Allies to come to the defence of all members in the event of an attack. Both the Americans and the Europeans understood this commitment to be a nuclear guarantee for the Alliance, which, in the late 1940s and 1950s, faced what was then seen as a hostile Soviet Union which had an overwhelming advantage in conventional forces. The Alliance had then felt obliged and was prepared to consider the massive use of nuclear weapons to respond to major conventional aggression.

While NATO agreed to integrate tactical nuclear weapons in December 1954, it adopted a Military Committee document27 that formalised the Alliance's emphasis on nuclear weapons as the key component of its defensive strategy, and by the end of 1960, it had about 2,500 US tactical nuclear weapons deployed in Western Europe following the "massive retaliation" doctrine. NATO adopted "flexible response" as its new nuclear strategy in December 1967 after a great deal of debate during the 1960s in its document MC 14/3, which formally abandoned the strategy of massive retaliation. Flexible response committed the Alliance to respond to any aggression, short of general nuclear attack, at the level of force_conventional or nuclear_at which it was initiated. However, NATO retained the option to use nuclear weapons first if its initial response to a conventional attack did not prove adequate to containing the aggressor, and to deliberately escalate to general nuclear war, if necessary. Following this policy, NATO's tactical nuclear weapons stockpile in Europe grew to around 7,400 in the early 1970s.

In response to Soviet efforts to modernise its intermediate-range nuclear missile force with the MIRVed SS-20 in 1979, NATO adopted a modernisation plan which involved the deployment of 572 tactical nuclear warheads on GLCMs and Pershing II ballistic missiles. In December 1987, the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces or INF Treaty was signed between the Soviet Union and the USA which banned all ground-based nuclear-armed ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,000 km.

As the security environment in Europe changed fundamentally, NATO announced in July 1990 in its London Declaration a review of its political and military strategy to reflect "a reduced reliance on nuclear weapons" which would lead to the adoption of "a new NATO strategy making nuclear forces truly weapons of last resort."

NATO's European-based nuclear arsenal stood at approximately 4,000 tactical warheads in early 1991. After President Bush announced a major unilateral withdrawal of US tactical nuclear weapons worldwide in September of the same year and Gorbachev announced reciprocal Soviet withdrawals the next month, all US ground-based and sea-based tactical weapons were affected. This left around 400 air-delivered gravity bombs in NATO's European-based nuclear arsenal,28 which is still the case at the end of the decade as France and Britain had subsequently decided to phase out their tactical nuclear weapons.

NATO's 1991 Strategic Concept noted that "the fundamental purpose of the nuclear forces of the Allies is political: to preserve peace and prevent coercion and any kind of war." It specifically stated that "the circumstances in which any use of nuclear weapons might have to be contemplated by it are_remote." The Allies "can, therefore, significantly reduce their sub-strategic nuclear forces."29 After NATO began moving towards expanding membership to countries in Eastern and Southern Europe, it issued its Enlargement Study in September 1995 which stated explicitly that the "new members will be expected to support the concept of deterrence and the essential role nuclear weapons play in the Alliance's strategy of war prevention as set forth in the Strategic Concept."30

In the May 1997 so-called Founding Act, NATO allies explicitly stated that "they have no intention, no plan and no reason to deploy nuclear weapons on the territory of new members..." but indicated in the same document that they did not see "any need to change any aspect of NATO's nuclear posture or nuclear policy_and do not see any future need to do so."31

The NATO Strategic Concept adopted at the Washington Summit did not adopt a non-first use policy or even discuss it. However, the Concept continues to point out that "the fundamental purpose of the nuclear forces of the Allies is political"32 and acknowledges that "with the radical changes in the security situation, including reduced conventional forces levels in Europe and increased reaction times, NATO's ability to defuse a crisis through diplomatic and other means or, should it be necessary, to mount a successful conventional defense has significantly improved. The circumstances in which any use of nuclear weapons might have to be contemplated by them are extremely remote." The statement, found in paragraph 64, goes on to point out the series of steps the Allies have taken since 1991 which reflect the post-Cold War security environment, and include a reduction of the types and numbers of NATO's sub-strategic forces, including the elimination of all nuclear artillery and ground-launched, short-range nuclear missiles; a relaxation of the readiness criteria for nuclear-roled forces; and the termination of standing peace-time nuclear contingency plans. It adds that NATO's nuclear forces no longer target any country_an obvious reference to Russia, but that it would maintain, "at the minimum level consistent with the prevailing security environment, adequate sub-strategic forces based in Europe which will provide an essential link with strategic nuclear forces, reinforcing the transatlantic link. These will consist of dual capable aircraft and a small number of United Kingdom Trident warheads. Sub-strategic nuclear weapons will, however, not be deployed in normal circumstances on surface vessels and attack submarines.

While paragraph 19 of the Concept states that the stability, transparency, predictability, lower levels of armaments, and verification which can be provided by arms control and non-proliferation agreements support NATO's political and military efforts to achieve its strategic objectives, it goes on to add how the Allies have played a role in this field, which, among others, include reductions in nuclear weapons provided for in the START treaties; the signing of the CTBT, the indefinite and unconditional extension of the NPT, and the accession to it of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine as non-nuclear weapons state.

Paragraph 40 of the Concept, which deals with arms control, disarmament, and non-proliferation under Part II entitled "Strategic Perspectives" spells out the Alliance's policy towards these issues, which, it states, "will continue to play a major role in the achievement of the Alliance's security objectives."

Jack Mendelsohn, in his article in Arms Control Today33 points out that NATO's nuclear first-use policy lacks both military and strategic rationale. Militarily, while the Alliance's threat during the Cold War to use nuclear weapons in response to non-nuclear aggression_though appearing contradictory and self-deterring_was considered helpful in reassuring Europe that some military response was available to counter the Warsaw Pact's significant quantitative advantage in conventional forces, today, NATO enjoys an even greater conventional superiority over any potential enemy or combination of enemies in Europe than the Warsaw Pact ever had over NATO. While Russia is the only country that could conveivably mount a serious threat to NATO some time in the future, the likelihood is remote and does not justify a general NATO policy of nuclear first-use. Also, Russia views this policy as directed primarily_if not solely_at itself, against the spirit of the Founding Act; and it remains a major irritant as NATO expands eastward.

Strategically, paragraph 63 of the Strategic Concept states that the key NATO strategic rationale for nuclear forces based in Europe and committed to NATO is that they "provide an essential political and military link between the European and the North American members of the Alliance." While linkage to US strategic retaliatory forces was an integral part of NATO's strategy during the Cold War, with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact, and the change in NATO's most likely mission from territorial defence to out-of-area crisis management, linkage to US strategic retaliatory forces is far less critical and less relevant. As Mendelsohn points out, 34 in any case, a no-first use (NFU) policy impacts on the circumstances surrounding the decision to use nuclear weapons and not on the choice of nuclear weapons_tactical, strategic or both_that will be used once the decision is taken.

Given the serious misgivings some Alliance members like Germany and Greece had over the extent of the destruction wrought in Kosovo by NATO's conventional bombing, it is highly improbable that the Alliance would ever reach a consensus to employ nuclear weapons in an out-of-area intervention and even less likely to support US interests in other areas of the world.

Of the five recognised nuclear weapon states, it is ironic that only the two non-NATO powers, China and Russia, have declared nuclear-use policies that do not run counter to the July 1996 International Court of Justice (IW) advisory opinion on the legality of nuclear weapons in which 10 of its 14 judges determined that the use or threatened use of nuclear weapons is illegal in all but one possible circumstance_i.e., a threat to the very existence of the state. China has a no-first use policy and Russia reserves the right to use all available forces and means, including weapons, if as a result of military aggression, there is a threat to the existence of the Russian Federation as a sovereign state. Incidentally, Article 2.4 of India's Draft Nuclear Doctrine released on August 17, sets out India's no-first use in unambiguous terms.35

While the revision of the Strategic Concept was being prepared for the 50th anniversary NATO celebration, the months leading up to it saw the governments of Germany, Canada and the Netherlands take steps to urge that the Alliance consider a no-first use policy. To cite an example, on December 10, 1998, the Canadian Parliament's Standing Committee for Foreign Affairs and International Trade released a report entitled Canada and the Nuclear Challenge: Reducing the Political Value of Nuclear Weapons for the Twenty-First Century which included a recommendation that Canada urge NATO to review its nuclear weapons policy. The Washington Communique at the summit agreed that NATO, in the light of overall strategic developments and the reduced salience of nuclear weapons, "would consider options for confidence and security-building measures, verification, non-proliferation and arms control and disarmament. The Council in Permanent Session will propose a process to Ministers in December for considering such options." Were NATO to change its policy to that of NFU in the meeting, as Mendelsohn puts it,36 the Alliance could reduce the political acceptability and military attractiveness of nuclear weapons, strengthen the nuclear non-proliferation regime, enhance the credibility of its deterrence policy and help to ease some of the tensions in the NATO-Russian relationship. Otherwise, the inescapable conclusion about NATO's new Strategic Concept will, as pointed out by Steven Miller at the Pugwash Meet on October 11, 1999, be viewed by "those outside the NATO areas as being offensive, out-of-area, unilateralist and sovereignty-transgressing. It is not hard to see how some states could find this collection of attributes unattractive, if not threatening."37


Professor Ryukichi Imai, a key member of both the Camberra Commission and the Tokyo Forum which prescribe steps for the abolishing of nuclear weapons had stated that the Canberra Commission has "achieved a status of sort, in providing general knowledge about nuclear weapons."38 It is to be hoped that it moves from this status. Professor Imai concluded by noting that it had taken the world about four decades to build up the nuclear warheads, delivery systems, and their command and control and that the proposal for their final elimination has to be firmly structured and described into fine details. This proposal should, apart form making vague calls for elimination of nuclear weapons in some unspecified remote future, also pay careful attention to details, including the problem of human psychology in putting the genie back into the bottle. The question is: can the genie be put back?

William Arkin had summed up that the problem of nuclear weapons and the strategies for their use have resulted in the establishment of a vicious circle within which the international community is trapped, in the following terms:

l "What are the targets of nuclear weapons? Nuclear weapons."

l "What provocation could bring about the use of nuclear weapons? Nuclear weapons."

l "How do we prevent the use of nuclear weapons? By threatening to use nuclear weapons."

Jasjit Singh had added one more question:

l "What is the strongest incentive to nuclear proliferation? Nuclear weapons."39

The last question clearly shows that as long as the nuclear weapon states continue to possess nuclear weapons, non-nuclear weapon states that have the capability, resources, technical skill and knowhow will have the urge to go nuclear, resulting in a state of nuclear proliferation, and the abolishing of nuclear weapons will then slowly but surely recede into the background and become a utopian dream.



1. Jasjith Singh, "Abolishing Nuclear Weapons," Asian Strategic Review (New Delhi: IDSA, September 1997), p. 10.

2. Thomas C. Schelling and Morton H. Halperin, Strategy and Arms Control (New York: Pergamon, 1961), p. 142.

3. Ibid.

4. Michael J. Sheehan, Arms Control: Theory and Practice (New York: Blackwell, 1988), pp. 5-10.

5. Jozef Goldblat, Arms Control (London: PRIO. 1994), p. 3.

6. For an account of the origins of arms control, see Sheehan, n. 9, pp. 1-21.

7. William R. Fyre, "Characteristics of Recent Arms Control Proposals and Agreements" in Donald G. Brenan ed., Arms Control, Disarmament and National Security (New York: 1961), pp. 73-74.

8. Times of India, September 25, 1996.

9. Tom Raum, "lke's Test Ban Hope Still a Mirage," Times of India, October 6, 1999.

10. Seema Guha, "India May Not Attend CTBT Review Meet," Times of India, October 5, 1999. For an account of the CTBT's entry-force clause, see John V. Parachini with Tom Birmingham, "The CTBT Special Conference on Entry Into Force," The Nonproliferation Review, Spring-Summer 1999, vol. 6, no. 3, website-http://cns.miss.edu/pubs/npr/parbir63.htm.

11. General Assembly Official Records (GAOR), session 48, plenary mtg. 4th, September 27, 1993, p. 7.

12. GA Res. A/RES/48/751.

13. USIS Fact Sheet, November 7, 1996. For a comprehensive account of issues facing the signing of the FMCT, see Kalpana Chittaranjan, "Fissile Material Containment Efforts: An Overview," Strategic Analysis, vol. XX, no. 4, July 1997, pp. 623-633.

14. For a more detailed account, see Kalpana Chittaranjan, "Arms Control and Disarmament: Is an NWFW Possible? Strategic Analysis, vol. XX, no. 12, March 1997, pp. 1704-1711.

15. Joseph Rotblat, Jack Steinberger and Bhalchandra Udgaonkar eds., A Nuclear Weapon Free World: Desirable? Feasible? (Boulder, Colo: Westview, 1993), pp. vi-vii. Two recent works that comprehensively include events and theories, including the Canberra Commission Report, the International Court of Justice verdict and General Lee Butler's statement on the abolishing of nuclear weapons are: Johnson Schell, The Gift of Time: The Case for Abolishing Nuclear Weapons Now (New Delhi: Penguin, 1998) and Asahi Shimbun, The Road to the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons (Tokyuo: Asahi Shimbun, 1998).

16. The 1968 NPT recognises the original nuclear weapon states of China, France, Russia, the UK, and USA as such, in exchange for their pledge in Article VI of the treaty to pursue nuclear disarmament in good faith.

17. "Nuclear Notebook," Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, December 1993, p. 57

18. Ibid., p. 52.

19. Stephen I. Schwartz ed., Atomic Audit: The Costs and Consequences of US Nuclear Weapons Since 1940 (Washington DC: Brookings, 1998) p. 3.

20. Figures taken from Ehsan Ahrari, "China Eyes NATO's Nuclear Doctrine," Jane's Intelligence Review, April 1999, p. 39.

21. For an account of the origin and development in NATO history, see Kalpana Chittaranjan, "NATO: Where is it Headed?," Strategic Analysis, vol. XXI, no.9, December 1997, pp. 1287-1302.

22. See Commenmorative Edition, "NATO 1949-1999," NATO Review, p. 2.

23. For an account of nuclear weapons in the first fifty years, see Kalpana Chittaranjan, "Five Decades of Nuclear Weapons," in Jasjit Singh ed., Nuclear India (New Delhi: Knowledge World, 1998), pp. 54-74.

24. NATO's new Strategic Concept was released as Press Release NAC-S(99)65 under the heading The Alliance's Strategic Concept and can be downloaded at : http//www./nato.int/docu/pr/1999/p99-065e.htm.

25. Quoted in Wade Boese, "NATO Unveils 'Strategic Concept' at 50th Anniversary Summit," Arms Control Today, vol. 29, no. 3, April/May 1999, p. 40.

26. Ibid.

27. (MC-14/2)

28. Paolo Cotta-Ramusino states that there are about 180 American-made and controlled variable-yield B61 bombs that are located in seven different NATO countries. For details, see Paolo Cotta-Ramusino, "The Unasked Question", The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, vol. 55, no. 4, July/August 1999, via internet: http://www.bullatomsci.org/issues/1999/ja99cotta-ramusino.html.

29. Paragraphs 55 and 57 of NATO's 1991 Strategic Concept.

30. See document on NATO Study on Enlargement_chapter 5, paragraph 45.

31. The Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation and Security Between NATO and the Russian Federation, Paris, May 27, Section IV.

32. n. 24, paragraph 62.

33. Jack Mendelsohn, "NATO's Nuclear Weapons: The Rationale for 'No First Use'," Arms Control Today, July/August 1999, via internet: http://www.armscontrol.org/ACT/julaug99/jmja99.htm.

34. Ibid.

35. "_India will not be the first to initiate a nuclear strike, but will respond with punitive retaliation should deterrence fail." India's Draft Nuclear Doctrine can be downloaded at: http://www.armscontrol.org/ACT/julaug99/ffja99.htm.

36. n. 33.

37. Comments made during the presentation of this paper at Pugwash Meeting No. 252 "Pugwash Workshop on The Abolition of Nuclear Weapons," held at IIC, New Delhi, October 11, 1999, by Dr Steven Miller, Director, International Security Programme, Centre for Science & International Affairs, Harvard University.

38. Ryukichi Imai, "From Canberra Commission to Tokyo Forum_and Thereafter?", Plutonium, Spring 1999.

39. n. 1.