05.09.2019 | Nuclear disarmament systems were discussed by the participants of the round table «Global nuclear disarmament: is the world ready for action?»

«The growing tension between the two nuclear powers – the United States and the Russian Federation – negatively affects the overall architecture of global security, stimulates a new round of the arms race», said the participants in the round table «Global nuclear disarmament: is the world ready for action?»

The escalation of the conflict between the Russian Federation and the USA, the crisis surrounding the Iranian and North Korean nuclear program and the new challenges for the current nuclear disarmament system were discussed by the participants in «the Global Nuclear Disarmament Round table: Is the world ready for action?».  The expert meeting was held at the Institute of World Economy and Politics under the Foundation of the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan – Elbasy.

International speakers were unanimous in the view that the growing tension between the two nuclear powers – the United States and the Russian Federation – negatively affects the overall architecture of global security, stimulates a new round of the arms race.

The event was attended by world-famous security experts, including the head of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, 2008-2018) Ahmet Uzümcü, the Director of the International Atomic Energy Agency Department (2002-2011) Tarik Rauf, Secretary of  Defense of Great Britain (2006-2008) member House of Lords of the Parliament of Great Britain Desmond Brown, member of the Award Committee for the Prize for a World Without Nuclear Weapons and Global Security of N. Nazarbayev, Italian Foreign Minister (2002-2004, 2008-2011) Franco Frattini.

Also, the round table was attended by Co-Chair of the International Peace Bureau, Brown Rainer, the Director of the Center for International Programs of the Foundation of the First President, Kairat Abuseitov, Experts of the Institute of World Economy and Politics, representatives of various governmental and non-governmental organizations.

The moderator was the Director of the Institute of World Economy and Politics Yerzhan Saltybayev. the Executive Director of the Foundation of the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan – Elbasy Asset Issekeshev, made a welcoming speech to the participants.

Of particular concern to experts is the US withdrawal from the Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles (INF). This situation is eroding the entire system of global agreements in the field of nuclear disarmament, depriving the motivation of other countries, like China, to act within the framework of generally accepted international obligations.

In this context, Franco Frattini noted that he was not satisfied with the current passive position of the EU on this issue. In particular, Frattini believes that France and the United Kingdom, as the two nuclear countries of the EU, should jointly oppose the withdrawal of the US and Russia from key agreements, as well as play a more active mediating role in the conflict between the two powers.

Experts noted that in the absence of basic political trust and open dialogue, the crisis in relations between the US and Russia is developing in a spiral model, cyclically aggravating due to various secondary factors, such as the crisis in Ukraine. With this in mind, Tarik Rauf, the former Director of the International Atomic Energy Agency Department, recalled that for the first time since the end of the Cold War between the United States and Russia, direct consultations on strategic arms reduction have been completely suspended.

With this in mind, foreign experts noted the importance of involving Russia in a direct dialogue with Western countries through mechanisms such as the G7.

The atmosphere of mistrust generated by the actions of the leading powers negatively affects the prospects for resolving the nuclear problems of Iran and North Korea. As the former head of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, Ahmet Uzümcü, noted that calls by the global community to Iran and the Korean People’s Democratic Republic to abandon uranium enrichment for military purposes are losing their legitimacy amid recent developments in the latest armaments by Russia and the United States.

In this context, decisive action is required to absolutely universalize the basic international treaties in the field of nuclear disarmament and the non-proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction.

As noted by Tarik Rauf, Western countries need to reconsider conceptual approaches to solving Iran’s nuclear problem. Given the fact that Iran has already committed itself not to possess nuclear weapons in the framework of the Joint Comprehensive Action Plan for the Iranian nuclear program and has not violated them, requiring Tehran to take on new legal obligations is futile. It is necessary to continue the interaction of the parties in the framework of the agreements reached and resume direct dialogue.

In addition, a number of key challenges to the global security architecture were identified during the discussion.

First, the official rhetoric of the leading powers of the world is shifting towards the assumption of the possibility of using nuclear weapons in order to ensure their safety. So, in the New Nuclear Weapons Guide, published on June 11 this year, the possibility of using nuclear weapons with a low concentration of enrichment is allowed in order to “guarantee strategic stability”. Russia, within the framework of its new military doctrine, also admits the possibility of using nuclear weapons in order to maintain military parity with North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Secondly, programs for the development of supersonic ballistic missiles, which shorten the response time to crisis situations, significantly increasing the risks of nuclear conflicts, pose a great threat. Local conflicts between neighboring countries such as India and Pakistan pose a particular risk.

Third, technological advances in digital technology and Artificial Intelligence increase global security risks. As former British Secretary of Defense Desmond Brown noted, in the context of a total digitalization of security systems, not a single country in the world, including the United States, can guarantee absolute control over its strategic arsenal.

The main problem of the global regime of disarmament and non-proliferation of WMD is the lack of strategic leadership and vision at the level of the international community. In this situation, the experience of Kazakhstan is important for mobilizing the world community in the field of denuclearization. The Kazakhstan model is of unique importance in terms of demonstrating the achievements of a country that voluntarily abandoned nuclear weapons and successfully integrated into the international community.

During the expert discussion, the following recommendations were made.

The first one. Actively engage civil society, promote the ideas of nuclear disarmament in society, especially among the younger generation. In this context, Co-Chair of the International Peace Bureau, Brown Rainer, proposed the creation of a global coalition on nuclear disarmament with the participation of not only governments, but also all members of civil society.

The second one. Many experts agreed that it is impossible to completely ban nuclear weapons in the foreseeable future, so the efforts of the international community should focus on the task of reducing the number of nuclear warheads to the optimum level.

The third. It is necessary to develop a new system for reducing nuclear risks from not only countries possessing nuclear weapons, but also from nuclear weapons.

Fourth. The global community must strongly oppose the erosion of basic international WMD nonproliferation agreements.

In this regard, it is Kazakhstan, which voluntarily abandoned one of the largest nuclear arsenals in the world, can become a voice possessing the necessary moral strength to call the international community to action.

For reference:

The Institute of World Economy and Politics (IWEP) under the Foundation of the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan – Elbasy, was established in 2003. His activity is connected with scientific research of the problems of the world economy, international relations, geopolitics, socio-political and socio-economic processes in Kazakhstan, as well as with the study of the activities of the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan and his contribution to the creation and strengthening of Kazakhstan as an independent state.

The IWEP combines in its activity the independent nature of research with active participation in public discussion and systematic involvement in the expert support of the state in the field of analysis and forecasting.

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