Global Security: Non-Proliferation - Foreign Affairs Committee Contents


Submission from Hazel Neal

1.  THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT'S NON-PROLIFERATION APPROACH.

  I am aware that the government maintains that renewing and refining Trident nuclear missiles does not put it in contravention of Article 6 of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Nonethless, it seems plain to me that it disproves any avowal on the UK's part that it intends to work in good faith toward nuclear disarmament.

  At a time when the Non-Proliferation Treaty is in danger of collapse because of the determination of the P5 to upgrade their nuclear arsenals, the UK ought to take a lead by abandoning our extravagant plans to replace Trident. We are in a uniquely good position to do this with at least 14 years negotiating life left in the system as it stands. I also feel strongly that the government should not allow the use of Fylingdales and Menwith Hill for US National Missile Defence, which is leading to a new arms race and a new cold war.

2.  THE EFFECTIVENESS OF THE INTERNATIONAL SYSTEM IN CURBING CURRENT WEAPONS PROLIFERATION.

  From the point of view of nuclear non-proliferation the Non-Proliferation Treaty has been very effective.

  With the exception of North Korea which withdrew in 2003, all the other countries who were non-nuclear when they signed in 1968, agreeing to remain so, have remained non-nuclear.

  Unfortunately the P5 have been less obliging about adhering to Article 6, which was their part of the agreement when they signed.

  Which brings me to:

3.  THE POTENTIAL MERIT OF FORTHCOMING DIPLOMATIC INITIATIVES ON NON-PROLIFERATION, EG. THE 2010 NUCLEAR NON-PROLIFERATION REVIEW CONFERENCE.

  At the risk of going from the sublime to the ridiculous, the P5's idea of working towards eventual nuclear disarmament is a bit like many people's attitude to cleaning a shared kitchen—everyone waits for someone else to make a start.

  A timeline and a rota can solve kitchen problems, with some kind of penalty, and maybe it wouldn't be too simplistic to suggest that the NPT Review Conference needs to establish something similar. I can think of no other effective penalty, to enforce compliance, than a loss of negotiating power.

4.  THE ROLE OF ARMS CONTROL AND DISARMAMENT, INCLUDING NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT IN NON-PROLIFERATION EFFORTS.

  Hard-headed former advocates of nuclear weapons, such as Dr Kissinger and Mr Shultz, have argued that dramatic reductions in the number of nuclear weapons in America's possession could be made without risking America's security.

  They are supported by a growing number of influential people who have come round to thinking that a nuclear-free world is not only possible, but essential to our security.

  I wish to add my voice to theirs.

1 September 2008





 
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