A world free of nuclear weapons: the fierce urgency of now

29 May 2009

Malcolm Fraser, former prime minister of Australia, writes that “there has never been a better time to achieve total nuclear disarmament; this is necessary, feasible and urgent.”

Fraser rejects reliance on deterrence, and notes that “even a limited regional nuclear war involving targeting cities with 100 Hiroshima-sized bombs would not only kill tens of millions quickly from blast, fires and radiation, but would cause unexpectedly severe climatic consequences persisting for a decade or more." Fraser argues that "the most effective, expeditious and practical way to achieve and sustain the abolition of nuclear weapons is to negotiate a comprehensive, irreversible, binding, verifiable treaty - a Nuclear Weapons Convention." “A comprehensive roadmap”, he argues, "is the only approach that can generate the needed willingness to compromise and avoid paralysing conditionalities and trade-offs." Fraser concludes by arguing that Australia must reconsider the role of nuclear weapons in its security policy: "erstwhile reliance on ‘extended nuclear deterrence’ by countries without their own nuclear weapons, like NATO members, Australia and Japan - must not be allowed to persist and become an obstacle to nuclear disarmament."

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