Nuclear Powers Commit to Prevent a “Can’t Win” War

Although the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty allowed limiting the arms race during the Cold War, this pact has many limitations today.

Photo: Pixabay

There can be no winners in a nuclear war. That is something that the world should be clear about. On Monday, the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council recalled that thought, which was first uttered at a summit in Geneva in 1985, when they pledged again to reduce the risk of such a conflict.

“We affirm that a nuclear war cannot be won and should never be fought,” the members of the so-called P5, the five nuclear arsenal states recognized by the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), said in a statement.

This appointment had already been mentioned jointly by Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan, leaders of the Soviet Union and the United States respectively, in Geneva in 1985. However, since that declaration, the permanent members of the P5 had not taken up the idea, according to Marc Finaud, an expert on arms proliferation at the Geneva Political Security Center (GCSP).

Why are these words important?

This new commitment comes in the run-up to the 10th NPT Review Conference, which was scheduled for January, but was postponed due to the outbreak of the omicron variant of coronavirus. It also comes amid the Iran Nuclear Deal negotiations and the growing friction between China and Russia with the West. Both members of the Security Council, and holders of nuclear arsenal together with the United States, the United Kingdom and France, tried to reassure public opinion about the risks of a possible confrontation with warheads.

“Each of us will maintain and further strengthen its national measures to prevent the unauthorized or unintended use of nuclear weapons,” the five nuclear powers said in a text underlining their commitment to establish a “security environment that allows further disarmament ”.

The ultimate goal, the representatives of these nations pointed out, is “a world without nuclear weapons.”

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In addition to the conditions surrounding the new commitment already mentioned, such as the aforementioned tension between Russia and the West due to the permanent conflict with Ukraine, it should be noted that in a matter of days Moscow and Washington will have to sit down again to negotiate the terms of the control treaties. nuclear weapons that are about to expire.

What value do these statements have?

While the disarmament negotiations are at a standstill between Russia and the United States, the group of countries that have the atomic bomb “are developing or deploying new nuclear weapons systems, or have announced their intention to do so,” the Institute noted in 2018. Stockholm Peace Studies International.

And it is that although the NPT allowed to limit the arms race during the Cold War and offered a framework to initiate the disarmament of the two great enemies of the time, this treaty has not succeeded in preventing the emergence of new atomic powers. Four states have armed themselves with nuclear weapons since the treaty’s birth: India, Pakistan and Israel, which never signed the text, and North Korea, which abandoned the NPT in 2003.

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It should also be noted that among the fifty signatories of the pact there is none of those who have nuclear weapons. However, activists pro-abolition of nuclear warheads hope that the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TIAN) signed in 2021 will force them to change their mind. Its scope, it should be mentioned, is very limited, according to experts.

When questioned by AFP, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), a Nobel Peace Prize winner in 2017, described Monday’s statement made by the P5 as “positive.” However, they point out that as long as these countries continue to modernize their nuclear arsenals, any discourse will lose value.

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Nuclear Powers Commit to Prevent a “Can’t Win” War