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all_states_owning_or_hosting_nuclear_weapons_shall_immediately_de-alert_them_and_commit_to_no-first-use [2019/05/10 12:37]
173.32.226.16 [De-Alerting]
all_states_owning_or_hosting_nuclear_weapons_shall_immediately_de-alert_them_and_commit_to_no-first-use [2019/06/22 15:16] (current)
174.116.81.6 [De-Alerting]
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 Rapporteur: Barbara Birkett Rapporteur: Barbara Birkett
  
-Where We Are: “Two Minutes to Midnight”! --see The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists ((The Bulletin of The Atomic Scientists https://​thebulletin.org.doomsday-clock))+Where We Are: “Two Minutes to Midnight”! --see //The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists// ((The Bulletin of The Atomic Scientists https://​thebulletin.org.doomsday-clock))
  
-According to the Federation of American Scientists ((Status of World Nuclear Forces: Federation of American Scientists https://​fas.org/​issues/​nuclear-weapons/​status-world-nuclear-forces)),​ the world has 14,485 nuclear weapons, about 9335 in military stockpiles, ready for use, the rest awaiting dismantlement. 93% are owned by the US and Russia, with each having about 4,000 warheads in their stockpiles. Many of these are thirty or fifty or more times as lethal as the weapons that fell on Hiroshima and Nagasaki!+According to the Federation of American Scientists ((Status of World Nuclear Forces: Federation of American Scientists https://​fas.org/​issues/​nuclear-weapons/​status-world-nuclear-forces)),​ the world has 14,485 nuclear weapons, about 9335 of them in military stockpiles, ready for use, the rest awaiting dismantlement. ​Some 93% are owned by the US and Russia, with each having about 4,000 warheads in their stockpiles. Many of these are thirty or fifty or more times as lethal as the weapons that fell on Hiroshima and Nagasaki!
  
-3,750 are with operational forces; 1,940 US, Russian, British, and French warheads are on High Alert.+About 3,750 are with operational forces; 1,940 US, Russian, British, and French warheads are on high alert.
  
-No-First-Use has been declared by China and India; in 1993 the latter stated that it would respond massively to any size of nuclear attack and changed the wording to “no first use against non-nuclear weapons states” in 2010.+No-First-Use ​(NFU) has been declared ​as a policy ​by China and India; in 1993 the latter ​country ​stated that it would respond massively to any size of nuclear attack and changed the wording to “no first use against non-nuclear ​armed weapons states” in 2010.
  
 France, Pakistan, Russia, the UK, and the USA say they will use nuclear weapons against nuclear or non-nuclear states only in the case of invasion or other attack against their territories or against one of their allies. In 2017 the UK stated it would use nuclear weapons in a pre-emptive strike “in the most extreme circumstances”. ​ France, Pakistan, Russia, the UK, and the USA say they will use nuclear weapons against nuclear or non-nuclear states only in the case of invasion or other attack against their territories or against one of their allies. In 2017 the UK stated it would use nuclear weapons in a pre-emptive strike “in the most extreme circumstances”. ​
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 ==== The Problems ==== ==== The Problems ====
  
-Rising ​tensions between the US and Russia, nuclear developments in North Korea, climate change, other international conflicts, possible ​Cyber attacks leading to release or loss of control of nuclear weapons ​are major concerns. Current US threats of withdrawal from the INF treaty (and previous leaving of the ABM treaty) with subsequent loss of contact and verification abilities, ​might further risk accidental, mistaken or deliberate launches.+Major concerns are the rising ​tensions between the US and Russia, nuclear developments in North Korea, climate change, other international conflicts, ​and possible ​cyber attacks leading to release or loss of control of nuclear weapons. Current US threats of withdrawal from the INF treaty (and previous leaving of the ABM treaty) with subsequent loss of contact and verification abilities, ​may further risk accidental, mistakenor deliberate launches.
  
-Given that US and Russian Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) can reach the other’s countries within about 30 minutes, a  US President or Russian leader might have only about 12 minutes to decide whether to order an attack or response to an attack. Is it fair that any single human being should have to make such decision, and so quickly? Or should such a decision ever be made?+Given that US and Russian Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) can reach the other’s countries within about 30 minutes, a  US President or Russian leader might have only about 12 minutes to decide whether to order an attack or response to an attack. Is it a comfort ​that any single human being should have to make such decision, and so quickly? Or should such a decision ever be made at all?
  
-Maintaining nuclear weapons as deterrent, either on alert or off, is the prime excuse for their possession, but also causes ​other countries ​to feel they must have their own deterrent weapons, so that we now have nine nuclear weapons states. The world once reached nearly 70,000 weapons. Although the numbers are much reduced, all nine nuclear states are either making new weapons, or modernizing them, and some even thinking of making the weapons “more usable” As noted above, at least four nuclear weapon states have weapons on high alertand feel they should be so maintained. The deterrence doctrine is coupled with plans to use nuclear weapons if deterrence fails. In some cases it is even contemplated using nuclear weapons in response to a conventional weapons attack. Even a limited nuclear war such as might occur between India and Pakistan, using Hiroshima-sized nuclear weapons, could cause billion deaths. ((Ira Helfand, Nuclear Famine "2 Billion People at risk," 2013, https://​www.ippnw.org)) ​+Maintaining nuclear weapons as deterrents, either on alert or off, is the prime excuse for their possession, but this makes other countries feel they must have their own deterrent weapons. Hence we now have nine nuclear weapons states. The world once reached nearly 70,000 weapons. Although the numbers are much reduced, all nine nuclear states are either making new weapons, or modernizing them, and some are even thinking of making the weapons “more usable.” As noted above, at least four nuclear weapon states have weapons on high alert and feel they should be so maintained. The deterrence doctrine is coupled with plans to use nuclear weapons if deterrence fails. In some cases it is even contemplated using nuclear weapons in response to a conventional weapons attack. Even a limited nuclear war such as might occur between India and Pakistan, using Hiroshima-sized nuclear weapons, could cause two billion deaths. ((Ira Helfand, Nuclear Famine "2 Billion People at risk," 2013, https://​www.ippnw.org)) ​
  
-Other arguments note, in spite of persistent efforts in the command and control systems, the many near misses or actual accidents that actually have occurred over the years, such as  the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Able Archer close call in 1983, the near-launch when a practice tape was played in the US in error, the research flight from Norway in 1995 which the Russians thought was a nuclear weapons attack and the proposed response was only prevented by a brave Russian. Other numerous near calamities are recorded in the book of about 500 pages, ”Command and Control,” by Eric Schlosser ((Eric Schlosser Command and Control Penguin Press 2013))+Other arguments note, in spite of persistent efforts in the command and control systems, the many near misses or actual accidents that actually have occurred over the years, such as  the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Able Archer close call in 1983, the near-launch when a practice tape was played in the US in error, the research flight from Norway in 1995which the Russians thought was a nuclear weapons attack and their proposed response was only prevented by a brave Russian ​officer. Other numerous near calamities are recorded in the book of about 500 pages, ”Command and Control,” by Eric Schlosser ((Eric Schlosser Command and Control Penguin Press 2013))
  
-The NPT recognized the dangers of nuclear arms, and the nuclear weapons states are supposed to be committed to disarming their nuclear weapons as quickly as possible, not just preventing proliferation to other states. Last year’s TPNW, signed ​by 122 states and already ratified by 19, arose from the frustration of many states (particularly those who had been the victims of nuclear tests), at the nuclear states lack of action or very slow pace, in the last eight or nine years especially, ​on nuclear disarmament and abolition.+The NPT recognized the dangers of nuclear arms, and the nuclear weapons states are supposed to be committed to disarming their nuclear weapons as quickly as possible, not just preventing proliferation to other states. Last year’s ​Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW)adopted ​by 122 states and already ratified by 23, arose from the frustration of many states (particularly those who had been the victims of nuclear tests), at the nuclear states’ lack of action or very slow pace on nuclear disarmament and abolition.
  
 The Red Cross/Red Crescent has declared that there can be no possible humanitarian response in a nuclear conflict. The Red Cross/Red Crescent has declared that there can be no possible humanitarian response in a nuclear conflict.
  
-Those holding ​ the view that abolition of nuclear weapons is the correct move, believe that, while it may be true that nuclear weapons ​sometimes do act as a deterrence for aggression, like any medications with serious and lethal side effects, they should be withdrawn from the market, as the risks of accidental ​or deliberate use are too high.+Those holding the view that abolition of nuclear weapons is the correct move, believe that, whether or not nuclear weapons ​can act as a deterrent to aggression, like any medications with serious and lethal side effects, they should be withdrawn from the market. The risks of both accidental ​and deliberate use are too high.
  
-Suggested Solutions-De-Alerting,​ No First Use, End Sole Authority for Launch, Stop Enhancing Weapons, Pursue Nuclear Disarmament,​ Sign the TPNW. (these latter four will be discussed later).+Suggested SolutionsDe-Alerting,​ No First Use, End Sole Authority for Launch, Stop Enhancing Weapons, Pursue Nuclear Disarmament,​ Sign the TPNW. 
  
-Some are calling for an intermediate stance, a deterrence only policy,+Some are calling for an intermediate stance, a deterrence-only policy.
  
-Others see such actions ​ as urgent steps to total nuclear disarmament.+Others see such actions as urgent steps towards ​total nuclear disarmament.
  
 Others call for maintenance of alert status. Others call for maintenance of alert status.
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 Intermediate stance de-alerting policy: Intermediate stance de-alerting policy:
  
-Phillips and Starr [2006] noted that changing ​ from a Launch-on-Warning policy to Retaliatory-Launch-Only–After-Detonation would reduce ​the risk of accidental war from false alarms. It would not require de-alerting or verification and might be more acceptable to the US and Russia. ​ Deterrence could be maintained. ((Alan Phillips, Steven Starr: "​Change Launch on Warning Policy"​ http://​peacemagazine.org/​archive/​v22n3p14.htm))+Phillips and Starr [2006] noted that changing ​ from a Launch-on-Warning policy to Retaliatory-Launch-Only–After-Detonation would eliminate ​the risk of accidental war from false alarms. It would not require de-alerting or verification and might be more acceptable to the US and Russia ​militaries. Deterrence could be maintained. ((Alan Phillips, Steven Starr: "​Change Launch on Warning Policy"​ http://​peacemagazine.org/​archive/​v22n3p14. ​It is suggested also that a consequence might be progress towards abolition, given an improved relationship between nuclear armed powers. ​
  
-The deterrence only policy is promoted as being able to proceed with fewer nuclear weapons ​requirements ​and reduction ​of the current modernization plans. It would rely mainly on submarine based missiles, would not require a time-sensitive ​retaliation ​nuclear attack, and could be supplemented by conventional and cyber attacks. It would be decoupled from the idea of immediately destroying the enemy’s nuclear forces. It would be less expensive and allow better use for funds in other endeavours. It would require much up-grading of C3 networks. It still retains the deterrence doctrine, but not, according to its proponents, deterrence +war-fighting. ((The End of Nuclear Warfighting-Moving to a Deterrence only Posture-Bruce Blair Program on Science and Global Security, Princeton University, 2018)) (("​Reframing the Nuclear De-Alerting Debate: Toward Maximizing Presidential Decision Time," Nuclear Threat Initiative ​ https://​www.nti.org/​analysis/​articles/​reframing-nuclear-de-alerting-debate-towards-maximizing-presidential-decision-time/​)) (("​De-Alerting Nuclear Forces,"​ Kristenssen,​ McKinzie, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. https://​thebulletin.org))+deterrence-only policy ​option ​is to proceed with fewer stockpiled ​nuclear weapons and an end of the current modernization plans. It would rely mainly on submarine-based missiles, would not require a time-sensitive ​retaliatory ​nuclear attack, and could be supplemented by conventional and cyber forces. It would be decoupled from the idea of immediately destroying the enemy’s nuclear forces. It would be less expensive and allow funding of other endeavours. It would require much up-grading of Command, Control, and Communication ​networks. It still retains the deterrence doctrine, but not, according to its proponents, deterrence + war-fighting. ((The End of Nuclear Warfighting-Moving to a Deterrence only Posture-Bruce Blair Program on Science and Global Security, Princeton University, 2018)) (("​Reframing the Nuclear De-Alerting Debate: Toward Maximizing Presidential Decision Time," Nuclear Threat Initiative ​ https://​www.nti.org/​analysis/​articles/​reframing-nuclear-de-alerting-debate-towards-maximizing-presidential-decision-time/​)) (("​De-Alerting Nuclear Forces,"​ Kristenssen,​ McKinzie, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. https://​thebulletin.org))
  
-The arguments for maintaining alert status state that cyber attack ​could still occur after de-alerting,​ that even with a longer decision-making ​time, a president could not make a better decision in the event of a threatened or actual nuclear strike after de-alertingbecause ​of even more risk from rapid re-alerting. They state that foes would be emboldened rather than pacified ​under such conditions and that de-alerting would lead to de facto NO-First-USE. They call for better cyber security, especially with modernization. They are willing to discuss ​perhaps ​eliminating ICBMs. ((Defence360,​ https://​defense360.csis.org/​bad-Idea-de-alert-u-s-icbms/,​ 2017))+The arguments for maintaining alert status state that cyberattacks ​could still occur after de-alerting, ​and that even with a longer decision-making ​delay, a president could not make a better decision in the event of a threatened or actual nuclear strike after de-alerting. This is because ​rapid re-altering would cause even more risk. They argue that foes would be emboldened rather than deterred ​under such conditions and that de-alerting would lead to de facto No-First-Use. They call for better cyber security, especially with modernization. They are willing to discuss eliminating ICBMs. ((Defence360,​ https://​defense360.csis.org/​bad-Idea-de-alert-u-s-icbms/,​ 2017))
  
-Others ​ state that under alert status deliberate or accidental launches or attacks are Too Grave Risk. De-Alerting should be the First step in avoiding these. The Union of Concerned Scientists suggests simple methods for accomplishing this. (("A Simple Method for Taking US Land-Based Nuclear Missiles Off High Alert,"​ 2015      www.ucsusa.org/​safing)) ​+Others ​ state that under alert statusdeliberate or accidental launches or attacks are too grave risk. De-Alerting should ​therefore ​be the first step in avoiding these. The Union of Concerned Scientists suggests simple methods for accomplishing this. (("A Simple Method for Taking US Land-Based Nuclear Missiles Off High Alert,"​ 2015 www.ucsusa.org/​safing)) ​
  
-**NO FIRST USE-** Statements by the Red Cross and Red Crescent that there is no possible humanitarian response to any use of nuclear weapons and its call for assurance that such weapons “are never again used” ​certainly ​reinforce ​the arguments against First Use. The ICJ opinion in 1996 that said use of nuclear weapons would be in almost all conceivable situations ​illegal also supports ​stance for  ​No-First-Use. Such arguments were also made at the Humanitarian conferences in Oslo, Nayarit and Austria.+**NO FIRST USE-** Statements by the Red Cross and Red Crescent that there is no possible humanitarian response to any use of nuclear weapons and its call for assurance that such weapons “are never again used” reinforce arguments against First Use (and any use, ever.The ICJ opinion in 1996 stated ​that use of nuclear weapons would be illegal ​in almost all conceivable situations. This is consistent with policy of No-First-Use. Such arguments were also made at the Humanitarian ​(disarmament) ​conferences in Oslo, Nayaritand Austria.
  
-De-alerting would help adoption of a doctrine of No-First-Use.+De-alerting would help promote the adoption of a doctrine of No-First-Use.
  
-Also essential would be confidence building and communication with foes (eg between US and Russia to make sure disarmament and de-alert agreements were being followed.+Also essential would be confidence-building and communication with foes (eg between US and Russiato make sure disarmament and de-alert agreements were being followed. As Phillips and Starr have noted, however, even an unverified no launch on warning policy held by one party is safer than the current situation.
  
-At the UN General Assembly First Committee vote on the Humanitarian Pledge in 2015 the NW states and their umbrella ​countries ​asserted “recognition of the grave humanitarian consequences of a nuclear weapons detonation” and at the same time “security and humanitarian principles co-exist” They suggested that the proponents of a TPNW’s ​ resolutions “do not reflect these realities and imperatives” and contribute” to increasing international divisions regarding nuclear disarmament”. ​+At the UN General Assembly First Committee vote on the Humanitarian Pledge in 2015 the nuclear weapons ​states and their umbrella ​allies ​asserted ​their “recognition of the grave humanitarian consequences of a nuclear weapons detonation” and at the same time stated that “security and humanitarian principles co-exist.” They suggested that the proponents of a TPNW’s ​ resolutions “do not reflect these realities and imperatives” and contribute to increasing international divisions regarding nuclear disarmament”. ​
  
-Their remarks reflect ​their dilemma ​in trying to relate NATO’s supposed support for the NPT and disarmament and NATO’s policy that nuclear weapons are an essential component of its deterrence ​stance. NATO will not even accept a No First Use doctrine, and several European states have US tactical nuclear weapons on their soils. (("​Folding the Nuclear Umbrella: Nuclear Allies, the NPT and the Ban Treaty"​ APLN-Toda. Policy Brief No.58 Feb.2018, Paul Meyer))+Their remarks reflect ​the dilemma ​of trying to relate NATO’s supposed support for the NPT obligations towards ​disarmament and NATO’s policy that nuclear weapons are an essential” component of its deterrence. NATO will not, to date, accept a No-First-Use approach, and several European states have US tactical nuclear weapons on their territory. (("​Folding the Nuclear Umbrella: Nuclear Allies, the NPT and the Ban Treaty"​ APLN-Toda. Policy Brief No.58 Feb.2018, Paul Meyer))
  
-Others deny the dichotomy between humanitarian and security goals. They point out that the risks of having nuclear weapons far outweigh any benefits, particularly in times of heightened tension, as now. Immediate ​start on de-alerting ​as suggested by various experts, and adoption of No First Use would lessen danger of use and allow for further rational discussion and reduction of numbers of weapons, re enforce the NPT, encourage more nations ​ to sign the TPNW, and  eliminate ​the nuclear weapons. ((Darryl Kimball- Arms Control Association "The Case for a US No-First-Use Policy,"​ https://​www.armscontrol.org/​act/​2018-10/​focus/​case-us-first-use-policy)) ((Back from the Brink The Call to Prevent Nuclear War https://​www.preventnuclearwar.org)) ((Ira Helfand, "Sheer Luck has helped us avoid nuclear war so far-now we need to take some action"​ https://​www.cnn.com/​2018/​11/​17/​opinions/​sheer-luck-has-helped-us-avoid-nuclear-war-so-far-helfand/,​ 2018))+Others deny the dichotomy between humanitarian and security goals. They point out that the risks of having nuclear weapons far outweigh any perceived ​benefits, particularly in times of heightened tension, ​such as now. An Immediate ​shift towards ​de-alerting,​ and adoption of No-First-Use policy ​would lessen danger of useallow for further rational discussion and reduction of numbers of weapons, reenforce the NPT, encourage more nations ​ to sign the TPNW, and  eliminate ​many nuclear weapons. ((Darryl Kimball- Arms Control Association "The Case for a US No-First-Use Policy,"​ https://​www.armscontrol.org/​act/​2018-10/​focus/​case-us-first-use-policy)) ((Back from the Brink The Call to Prevent Nuclear War https://​www.preventnuclearwar.org)) ((Ira Helfand, "Sheer Luck has helped us avoid nuclear war so far-now we need to take some action"​ https://​www.cnn.com/​2018/​11/​17/​opinions/​sheer-luck-has-helped-us-avoid-nuclear-war-so-far-helfand/,​ 2018))
  
-In June 2018 the Canadian House of Commons Standing Committee on National Defence called upon the Government ”to take a leadership role within NATO in beginning the work necessary for achieving the NATO goal of creating the conditions for a world free of nuclear weapons.” Canada can perhaps work inside ​NATO, with like-minded allies, to help achieve these goals, help change some of NATO’s nuclear ​doctrine ​and promote removal of tactical weapons from its members’ territories. ((Regehr: NATO and Nuclear Disarmament-1:​NATO’s nuclear posture The Simons Foundation))+In June 2018 the Canadian House of Commons Standing Committee on National Defence called upon the Government ”to take a leadership role within NATO in beginning the work necessary for achieving ​**the NATO goal of creating the conditions for a world free of nuclear weapons**.” Canada can press NATO, with like-minded allies, to help achieve these goals, help change some of NATO’s nuclear ​doctrines ​and promote removal of tactical weapons from its members’ territories. ((Regehr: NATO and Nuclear Disarmament-1:​NATO’s nuclear posture The Simons Foundation))
  
 ==== Notes ==== ==== Notes ====
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