Thursday, April 15, 2010

In honor of the Nuclear Summit, part IV

Dear all,

Here is part IV in my series of excerpts from President Ikeda's 2010 Peace Proposal.

2010 Peace Proposal
Toward a New Era of Value Creation
Daisaku Ikeda
President, Soka Gakkai International

Expanding frameworks for non-use of nuclear weapons

To date, the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones (NWFZ) has represented an effort to fill the gap in the legal framework left by the absence of any treaty or convention providing a blanket prohibition against the use of nuclear weapons. In 2009, NWFZ treaties entered into force in Central Asia and Africa. These followed similar agreements covering Latin America and the Caribbean, the South Pacific and Southeast Asia. The decision by so many governments to eliminate nuclear weapons from so many regions around the world is truly significant.

Although the preamble to the NPT, which entered into force forty years ago, calls on signatories to “make every effort to avert the danger of such a war and to take measures to safeguard the security of peoples,” it is clear that the nuclear-weapon states have not fulfilled that obligation.

The NPT does not, of course, accord these countries an open-ended right to possess nuclear weapons. Despite this, their continued adherence to the doctrine of nuclear deterrence has had the effect of encouraging both “vertical proliferation” (expanded and enhanced nuclear arsenals within nuclear-weapon states) and “horizontal proliferation” (the spread of nuclear technologies to other states and entities). The real-world effect has been to shake and undermine the foundations of the NPT regime itself.

The time has come for the nuclear-weapon states to develop a shared vision of a world without nuclear weapons and to break free from the spell of deterrence—the illusory belief that security can somehow be realized through threats of mutual destruction and a balance of terror. A new kind of thinking is needed, one based on working together to reduce threats and creating ever-expanding circles of physical and psychological security until these embrace the entire world.

As evidence of the nuclear-weapon states’ genuine resolve to move beyond deterrence, I urge them to undertake the following three commitments at the 2010 NPT Review Conference and to work to fully implement them by 2015.

1. To reach a legally binding agreement to extend negative security assurances—the undertaking not to use nuclear weapons against any of the non-nuclear-weapon states fulfilling their obligations under the NPT.

2. To initiate negotiation on a treaty codifying the promise not to use nuclear weapons against each other.

3. Where nuclear-weapon-free zones have yet to be established, and as a bridging measure toward their establishment, to take steps to declare them nuclear non-use regions.

I have no intention of underestimating the difficulties that lie in the way of realizing these commitments, especially the second and third. But it is important to stress that these are political decisions that the nuclear-weapon states can take now while maintaining their current status as possessors of nuclear weapons.

Stay tuned till tomorrow!


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