Tuesday, December 6, 2016

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: ElBaradei's "Age of Deception"

Mohammed ElBaradei
All of us planning to be active in the global effort in 2017 to ban nuclear weapons should set aside time in December to read (or re-read) The Age of Deception: Nuclear Diplomacy in Treacherous Times by Mohammed ElBaradei.

ElBaradei's account of his years leading the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) help explain what the nuclear weapon "have-not" countries are up against as they try to get the nuclear weapon "have" states to disarm. (Did you know that nuclear disarmament by nuclear weapons "haves" is the foundation of the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT)?)

Reading The Age of Deception is particularly important for people who live in the two biggest nuclear weapon "have" countries - the USA and Russia -- as well as those who live in countries that followed the USA and Russia to vote against the nuclear weapons ban negotiations. As I re-read sections of The Age of Deception today, this quotation leapt out at me:

Every statement by one of the nuclear weapon possessor states to "reaffirm" the deterrent value of nuclear weapons, every action to refurbish or modernize a nuclear arsenal, was another sign of a lack of good faith to the nuclear have-nots. (p. 125)

Those words were written in 2011. Clearly, the well of good faith has dried up. The nuclear weapon "have-not" countries throughout the world are moving to compel to the nuclear weapon "have" states to disarm.

The Age of Deception deserves close reading by anyone who wants to understand why a nuclear ban will be negotiated in 2017.

Addendum December 13, 2016 - As I continue reading The Age of Deception, its relevance to the nuclear ban negotiations in 2017 leaps out from every page. Another example:

The most fundamental problem with the nuclear nonproliferation regime is, in itself, a double standard: the inherent asymmetry, or inequality, between the nuclear haves and have-nots, exacerbated by the continuing reliance by the nuclear-weapons states on nuclear weapons and their lack of progress on nuclear disarmament. Worse, rather than moving to fulfill their commitment to disarm, most have modernized their arsenals and continue to develop new types of weapons. For countries that do not have such weapons and do not fall under a nuclear umbrella protection arrangement such as NATO, this reinforces the perception that the acquisition of nuclear weapons is a sure path to power and prestige, an insurance policy against attack. (p. 236)

Read The Age of Deception yourself - I think you'll agree.

MORE: Deterrence: As a strategy, it makes about as much sense as "proliferation"

Related posts

It is a stunning lesson in global civics to observe who voted "YES" and who voted "NO" (and also who abstained) on L.41 - "taking forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations."

(See Who would possibly vote "NO" to banning nuclear weapons???)

Far too many people think that the NPT is about freezing the status quo, and preventing additional states from obtaining nuclear weapons. This is a fundamental misunderstanding. The NPT is based on a quid pro quo: nuclear "have-nots" agree to not acquire nuclear weapons, and nuclear "haves" agree to disarm.

(See A DEAL'S A DEAL! (What part of "nuclear disarmament" doesn't the US understand?) )

How do you formulate a statement that can somehow convince the United States to eliminate its threatening nuclear weapons? How do you formulate the 10th request? Or the 100th? Knowing all the time that the United States is in the position -- will always be in the position -- to say, "No" ?  At what point does it dawn on you that the United States will never give up its nuclear weapons, because it has the power and the rest of the world doesn't?

(See 360 Degree Feedback in New York (2014 NPT Prepcom and How the World Views the United States))