TWQ: The Illogic of Zero - Spring 2010
April 1, 2010
Throughout 2009, proponents of the abolition of nuclear weapons were unlucky. Almost each time they tried to make their case on the international scene, the real world came to haunt them. On April 5, 2009, North Korea tested a long-range missile just a few hours before President Barack Obama delivered a major speech in Prague, disclosing his vision of a nuclear- weapons- free world. On May 25, Pyongyang proceeded with a second nuclear test, a few days after signatories of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) had applauded the new U.S. vision in a preparatory meeting for the 2010 NPT Review Conference in New York. And on September 21, Iran officially informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) of the existence of a heretofore secret nuclear enrichment facility in Qom, just three days before a planned historic summit of the UN Security Council in Washington, D.C.
Developments such as these, however, are not the only problem facing a nuclear-weapons-free world. The intellectual and political movement in favor of abolition suffers from unconvincing rationales, inherent contradictions, and unrealistic expectations. A nuclear-weapons-free world is an illogical goal.