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The Australian National University

Research

Nuclear Weapons: The State of Play

Editors: Ramesh Thakur and Gareth Evans

By the end of 2009 hopes were higher than for many years that the world was at last seriously headed towards nuclear disarmament.  President Obama had promised “to put an end to Cold War thinking” by reducing the role of nuclear weapons in US national security strategy, Russia and the United States had renewed nuclear arms reduction negotiations, and the next Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference seemed likely to advance both the disarmament and non-proliferation agendas.

By the end of 2012, however, much of this sense of optimism had evaporated.  The New START Treaty was concluded, but it left stockpiles intact and disagreements about missile defence and conventional arms imbalances unresolved. The push for a conference on a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East had stalled; and the challenges posed by North Korea and Iran were no closer to resolution.  While nuclear weapons numbers had fallen overall, they were growing in Asia.

This report, the first in a proposed series, describes the progress – or lack of it – on the commitments and recommendations of the 2010 NPT Review Conference, the 2010 and 2012 Nuclear Security Summits, and the 2009 report of the International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (ICNND).

It provides an authoritative analysis and advocacy tool for governments, organizations and individuals committed to achieving a safer and saner nuclear-weapon-free world.

Left to Right: Prof Herbert Wulf, Prof. Tobias Debiel, Ms Uta Zapf (MP, Chair of Parliamentary Subcommittee on Disarmament, Arms Control and Non-proliferation), RT, and HE Rolf Nikel (Federal Government Commissioner for Arms Control and Disarmament)

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