A world without nuclear weapons is a noble long-term goal and one hesitates to get in the way of those trying to reach it, says Matthew Harries. However, he argues, it is best to be blunt – a Nuclear Ban Treaty will not reduce the role of nuclear weapons in the international system.

Photo by I Aotearoa

By Matthew Harries, Managing Editor of Survival; Research Fellow for Transatlantic Affairs

The nuclear-ban-treaty movement has a problem. It is not so much that a ban will be useless, or that it will undermine the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty – although those things might well be true. The problem is that, when one moves past abstract principles to what the ban will actually do in practice, the target of the treaty is clear: intentionally or not, it is an attack on the nuclear-armed democracies – the United States, in particular – and their allies to the near-exclusive benefit of Russia and China.

It is an uncomfortable point to make. A world without nuclear weapons would be, in the long term, a better world than today's, and one hesitates to get in the way of those who are trying to reach that goal. But, with treaty negotiations about to start at the UN, it is time to be blunt about the practical implications of a ban, as opposed to its principled ambitions.

Read the full article at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

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