Dec 8, 2008

Europeans Seek to Revive Nuclear Ban

By STEVEN ERLANGER, The New York Times

PARIS — The European Union is trying to revive a movement to reduce the number of nuclear weapons, proposing a global ban on nuclear testing and a moratorium on the production of all fissile material, according to a letter from the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, made public on Monday.

France, a nuclear power, holds the European Union presidency until the end of the year, so Mr. Sarkozy wrote to the United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, in the name of the union.

“We are convinced of the necessity to work for general disarmament,” Mr. Sarkozy wrote in the two-page letter, dated Dec. 5 and released by his office. “The United Nations has an important role to play in the debate on disarmament. Europe wants to play an important role.”

The number of nuclear weapons worldwide is at least 20,000, and there is a new interest in reviving efforts to sharply reduce the number in a post-cold-war world where smaller, less stable countries are thought to be pursuing nuclear weapons, and where nuclear terrorism is a concern. President-elect Barack Obama promised in his campaign to make “the goal of eliminating all nuclear weapons a central element in our nuclear policy.”

The growing debate over the Iranian nuclear program is an important backdrop to the European effort, French officials said. Iran has refused to stop uranium enrichment despite United Nations sanctions. It says its enrichment program is only for peaceful nuclear power; no Western government believes that, and intelligence agencies expect Iran to have enough enriched material for a nuclear weapon by the end of 2009. Some nuclear experts say they believe that Iran has enough enriched uranium for one bomb.

The European Union is also proposing “the opening of consultations on a treaty forbidding short- and medium-range surface-to-surface missiles,” which is highly unlikely because of their increasing use in conventional warfare.

Other proposals include the universal ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, the dismantling of nuclear bomb test sites, and a universal inspection regime, and the Europeans urge further progress in talks between the United States and Russia on a follow-on treaty to the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or Start.

The publication of Mr. Sarkozy’s letter seemed timed to coincide with a conference beginning on Tuesday in Paris of an international group pressing for the elimination of nuclear arms.

The group, called Global Zero, includes Thomas R. Pickering, a former American ambassador to the United Nations, Russia, Israel, India, El Salvador, Jordan and Nigeria; Richard Burt, a former American ambassador to Germany and former nuclear-arms negotiator; Margaret Beckett, a British Labor legislator and former foreign secretary; Sir Malcolm Rifkind, a British Conservative legislator and former foreign secretary; and Queen Noor of Jordan, the widow of King Hussein. Former President Jimmy Carter and the former Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev are listed as supporters.

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sure, I can see North Korea and Iran rushing to sign up for all of this.

Anonymous said...

Reminds me of prohibition.

Anonymous said...

According to the Mayan calendar the world ends Dec 17, 2012. At this rate it sounds about right.

Anonymous said...

This comment is unrelated but I had to post it somewhere.

What is going on with foreign nationals at LANL? I've seen the announcements of a meeting this afternoon with Terry Wallace about "infrastructure changes and other concerns."

Anonymous said...

Is it just me, or does the current period seem eerily like a replay of the mid-1930's.

We have: (1) an evolving economic depression, (2) election of a new FDR style President, and (3) a movement towards appeasement which sounds like Chamberlain's famous "Peace in our time!" speech

Will a return of the 1940's be next?

Anonymous said...

Will a return of the 1940's be next?
=================================

I wonder what new weapon the next Manhattan Project will yield.

Anonymous said...

"Is it just me, or does the current period seem eerily like a replay of the mid-1930's."

"We have: (1) an evolving economic depression, (2) election of a new FDR style President, and (3) a movement towards appeasement which sounds like Chamberlain's famous "Peace in our time!" speech"

"Will a return of the 1940's be next?""

Not exactly, imo, but you have a good case to present.

What concerns me is the event that wakens us from this period.

Anonymous said...

"(2) election of a new FDR style President, and (3) a movement towards appeasement which sounds like Chamberlain's famous "Peace in our time!" speech""

Hey Chuckles - FDR won WWII.

And what has Obama said or done that makes you think appeasement.

Anonymous said...

you all forgot a four year failed attempt at forced democratization of a sovereign nation. I don't remember anything like that in the late 30's.I see no comparison between then and now.

Anonymous said...

"What concerns me is the event that wakens us from this period".

Where have you been? You do remember 9-11? our enormous nuclear weapons stockpile did nothing to protect us from a massive terrorist strike in our own backyard. you can build more of them and modernize the ones you have but at the end of the day they have very little practical value except as deterrent to other nuclear armed countries. We got the wake up call. Our response? Four years of Iraq.

Anonymous said...

"...failed attempt..."

The only thing that "failed" is your understanding of current events in Iraq. Get used to it - your attempt at declaring the war in Iraq a "failure" has failed.

Anonymous said...

The war in Iraq sure isn't a measurable, unbridled success.

Good luck with the anti-nuke, anti-fissile-material effort...we'll all see how it goes!

Anonymous said...

"We got the wake up call. Our response? Four years of Iraq."

you're not awake-just sleep talking. roll over-they'll bury you when it's over.

Anonymous said...

The US should make an explicit message to Islamic terrorists:

If NYC or LA goes up in smoke with a big one then their blessed Mecca will soon follow.

Bring back the MAD policy. It worked well during the Cold War. The Muslim terrorists have a weak point were they can be made to feel vast amounts of pain.

Anonymous said...

Hey Chuckles - FDR won WWII.
And what has Obama said or done that makes you think appeasement.

12/9/08 7:55 PM


Your skin is a little too thin, 7:55 PM. I said nothing about Obama being an appeaser (and FDR was certainly not one!).

Yes, FDR won WWII and inspired the nation during the war. However, the politics of the 1930's left the US ill prepared to fight WWII.

Enemies feel empowered to attack when they see that their victims are weak. That was one of the lessons we can learn from WWII. Having a strong national defense can help prevent wars.

Anonymous said...

Anyone hear what happened at Wallace's meeting with all the FNs at LANL today?

It seems like this meeting was called all of a sudden. The subject of the meeting was infrastructure. Are FNs going to be bared from entering many of the remaining open areas left at the lab? Are new policies coming down from NNSA regarding the handling of FNs?

Anonymous said...

The Foreign National thing is related to some sort of CTN network re-do that lets the FN's on to the yellow in some sort of virtual enclave that ensures that FN's only connect to network devices and systems that are allowed.

Anonymous said...

"If NYC or LA goes up in smoke with a big one then their blessed Mecca will soon follow."

Never ever going to happen. We would have a real Jihad with a billion people. If NYC or LA went we could nuke something but it would never be Mecca. First you would have to find out who did it and even if was was "Islamic terrorists" you would have to find out which sect, which group, political motive and so on. In your line of thinking we should nuke the Vatican if some crazed Chistains blew up NYC for being the city of evil.

To be honest you sound insane.

Anonymous said...

This naive idealistic idea of, total nuclear disarmament, "zero nuclear weapons in the world," is based only in faith, not in reality, i.e. wishful thinking, "You got to think of this in terms of faith," (Richard Burt, Chief Strategic Weapons Negotiator for President George H.W. Bush), with its various names: (1) Global Zero, A World Without Nuclear Weapons (Global Zero), (2) Toward a Nuclear-Free World (George P. Shultz, William J. Perry, Henry A. Kissinger, and Sam Nunn), and among others who have signed on one form or another are: Colin Powell, Madeleine Albright, James A. Baker III, Zbignew Brzezinski, William Cohen, Lawrence Eagleburger, Anthony Lake, Robert McNamara, Gen. (ret.) John Abizaid, Gen. (ret.) Vladimir Dvorkin, Richard Rhodes (author), Matthew Bunn (nuclear analyst, Harvard University), Riichard Solomon, Ray Juzaitis (LLNL), Sig Hecker (Stanford University, former LANL director), et cetera, (3) The Logic of Zero, Toward a World Without Nuclear Weapons, by Ivo Daalder and Jan Lodal in Foreign Affairs, November/December 2008,, Summary: "Washington must lead the way to a world without nuclear weapons. The first step will be dramatically limiting the U.S. nuclear arsenal´s declared size and purpose.", (4) Nuclear Disarmament (Greg Mello, and Los Alamos Study Group), (5) "Virtual" nuclear deterrence, i.e. "degrees below zero." (Jonathan Schell), (6) Pacifism in general normally abolish nuclear weapons, (7) Barack Obama, "As long as nuclear weapons exist we will retain a strong deterrent.", and "We will make the goal of eliminating all nuclear weapons a central element in our nuclear policy."

But, since the birth of US nuclear deterrence in 1945, and in conjunction with the US nuclear weapons umbrella has worked well enough, therefore its future continuity of nuclear weapons in US.

And this idea of "zero nuclear wepons in the world," is not only naive, and idealistic, it´s also a very DANGEROUS idea that don´t take into consideration that MAD, i.e. Mutually Assured Destruction has worked for 50+ years, and to voluntary surrender the nuclear deterrence, opens up a freeway for rogue states and nuclear terrorism to attack US with: Nuclear Weapons, RDD ("dirty bomb"), and the HEU bomb.

In summary: Zero nuclear weapons in the world, is zero national security in US, an idea that must be rejected.

PS. Zero is a very unstable number, it requires "the will to nothingness," i.e. nihilism, when you in reality have, "the will to power in the world, as its general form.

PPS. To give up nukes, that is to arrive at a gunfight, armed only with knifes.

Anonymous said...

I like this comment:

"If NYC or LA goes up in smoke with a big one then their blessed Mecca will soon follow."

Except that I don't think that the terrorists give a damn about Mecca.

Anonymous said...

12/9/08 3:27 PM said:

"I wonder what new weapon the next Manhattan Project will yield."

Wouldn't be developed where the original was, that is for sure!

Anonymous said...

In street speak; To be a zero, is to be a nobody, the same goes for "zeroists."

Start bootlegging, Eliot Ness will approve.