From nuclear dis-armament to nuclear re-armament: the dawn of the new old era?

Main takeaways:  

  1. Nuclear escalation is one of the most under-addressed topics in the domain of foreign and security policy. There was a lot of optimism in the 90s after the Cold War, but since then progress has halted and even reversed.
  1. The recent momentum for a nuclear-free world, represented by the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons to which no nuclear state is a party, is a positive step in raising the issue to the limelight. At the same time, it alone does not address the need for the nitty-gritty technical discussions nor the conference building measures, which are needed for successful nuclear disarmament negotiations.
  1. The Russian invasion of Ukraine will pose additional challenges to nuclear disarmament in the foreseeable future. At the same time, it will also put to the test the established thinking on nuclear deterrence. Persistence in facilitating dialogue is now more important than ever to avoid nuclear risks or further escalation.

On 30 March 2022 YPFP Brussels hosted an event with Mr. Sebastian Brixey-Williams, the Co-Director of BASIC, a London-based think tank working to build international trust, reduce nuclear risks and advance nuclear disarmament. The panel was moderated by YPFP Brussels Security and Defence Officer, Ville Majamaa.

The event opened with an overview by Mr Brixey-Williams on the state of play and evolution of the nuclear disarmament since the inception of the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Treaty some 50 years ago. The ensuing discussion also addressed the Ukraine-Russia war, the potential of dialogue-based approaches in the security sector more broadly as well as the role of age (and other diversity) in decision-making on nuclear disarmament.

Written by Ville Majamaa, Security & Defence Officer, YPFP Brussels