For many it’s seemed like an impossible dream for decades but last month a UN mandated panel called on the UN General Assembly to consider a groundbreaking proposal. Multilateral negotiations on nuclear disarmament, although regrettably already being boycotted by the world’s nuclear armed countries.
The Open-Ended Working group on Nuclear Disarmament is chaired by a Thai ambassador called Thani Thongthakdi, has claimed that the proposal was a strong signal of support, but he too admitted that without the Nuclear nations involved there would be little impact.
There were 68 votes for the proposal and 22 against, which at least recommends that efforts are made to at least attempt to launch these negotiations and include it on the agenda for discussion. Unfortunately as ever most countries vote for their own priorities and it seems obvious that before these negotiations even start efforts must be made to include the nuclear powers. Although legally the process would be uncertain it is likely any treaty adopted by non-nuclear armed powers would simply be ignored.
Many experts have suggested that these discussions could be directed at an incremental policy of disarmament. Even implementing policies and agreements like ‘no first use’ would be a huge step to ridding the planet of these weapons of destruction. Pressure to instigate this policy on the nuclear powers would be a positive step to banning their use without actually reducing levels of their arsenals.
The idea is popular among the pragmatic pacifists, simply because it starts to give up on the whole ideas that you can have a secure world by threatening to blow others up. In the USA, President Obama has been considering implementing this policy before he leaves office. However he has faced widespread criticism from many areas of American politics, and of course it is highly unlikely to be a Donald Trump type policy either.