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In this article, the authors build on a recent piece appeared on Open Democracy titled ‘Restarting Disarmament’. Disarmament, the authors claim, is more practical than we are often conditioned to believe.
By Dan Plesch and David Franco, 14th May, 2012
In a recent article on the progress of the nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament talks now under way in Vienna, Rebecca Johnson notes that the newly formed coalition of pro-humanitarian states has the potential to become a game changer. Of all that has happened thus far in Vienna the most exciting news is the statement ↑ by a coalition of 16 non nuclear weapons states, including Switzerland and Norway – an ally of the nuclear weapons states, that nuclear weapons and programmes have catastrophic humanitarian consequences and that they should be abolished.
This initiative is the first involving western states to apply to nuclear weapons the thinking that has moved humanitarian disarmament on land mines, cluster munitions and the arms trade. President Obama’s ↑ cry for nuclear disarmament in Prague in 2009 may have had more effect than skeptics and critics believe. But more needs to be done as disarmament has long suffered from some kind of lethargic paralysis. Paraphrasing Richard Moyes and Thomas Nash, if disarmament were like an old PC it would need to be restarted. Indeed, restarting disarmament is a must, and not only at the nuclear level. The consequences would be immense, including a boost to democratic development as highlighted by Andrew Lichterman ↑ .