Daniel Halliday
Aug 9 · Last update 3 mo. ago.
Following the UN Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, why are these weapons still legal internationally?
The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons won the Nobel peace prize in 2017, and the group spoke at UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. 112 UN nations voted in favour of the treaty, despite this a ban on nuclear weapons is not in force, what is delaying a change in international law?
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The treaty has inherent flaws, another treaty or amendments are necessary to achieve a real ban
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The lack of international ratification is delaying a change in international law
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The UN have not offered a realistic alternative to the nuclear situation
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This treaty is a stepping stone on the arduous road to global denuclearisation
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The treaty has inherent flaws, another treaty or amendments are necessary to achieve a real ban

The main problem with nuclear weapons treaties is that they are ambiguous; despite claims to the contrary, neither the NPT nor the newer Nuclear Ban Treaty functions as a comprehensive nuclear weapons convention. As a result the legality of Nuclear weapons remains elusive and the problem remains unsolved. The lack of voting UN members is another issue, if all nuclear powers and NATO abstain from voting, it is likely that some may also challenge an effective ban treaty outright.

Countries like Israel are widely considered to possess a large number of nuclear weapons but remains aloof on the subject, not affirming or denying their possession and not voting on treaties regarding nuclear weapons. This puts the usefulness of this treaty in question as the treaty, through encouraging self disarmament, may increase the likelihood of nations cheating in regard to international commitments. The Treat on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons may successfully stigmatise states with nuclear weapons, but it will take great strides in diplomacy and defence to develop an effective treaty that prohibits these weapons entirely. tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/23340460.2017.1409082

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Daniel Halliday
Dec 12
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DH edited this paragraph
The main problem with nuclear weapons treaties is that they are ambiguous; despite claims to the contrary, neither the NPT nor the newer Nuclear Ban Treaty functions as a comprehensive nuclear weapons convention. As a result the legality of Nuclear weapons remains elusive and the problem remains unsolved. The lack of voting UN members is another issue, if all nuclear powers and NATO abstain from voting, it is likely that some may also challenge an effective ban treaty outright.
The lack of international ratification is delaying a change in international law

The UN’s power is really limited to suggestion, with multinational ratification of these suggestions holding the power to establish international law. The absence of powerful diplomatic non-nuclear states and the UN veto system stands in the way of stockpiling nuclear weapons becoming an international criminal offence. This treaty really requires the ratification of the five permanent member states of the UN's Security Council; unless the main nuclear powers are interested in solving this issue the UN remains effectively powerless.

Although it is not purely permanent Security Council members that stand in the way of nuclear weapon criminalisation. India and Pakistan are two of the few states that have not ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treat or the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, let alone the recently proposed Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty. Both states, developed weapons at a similar time and have been engaged in a regional stalemate with Pakistan previously refusing to sign the NPT unless India did first. They also claim the treaties are discriminatory and allow such weapons only for a select group, who coincidentally make up the Security Council. Both nations are good examples of how a few can stand in the way of the peace of many. cnbc.com/2017/03/27/global-reluctance-towards-nuclear-denuclearization-as-un-hold-talks.html web.archive.org/web/20120112151514/http://www.whereincity.com/news/3/15197 dawn.com/news/1185843

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Daniel Halliday
Dec 12
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DH edited this paragraph
Although it is not purely permanent Security Council members that stand in the way of nuclear weapon criminalisation. India and Pakistan are two of the few states that have not ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treat or the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, let alone the recently proposed Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty. Both states, developed weapons at a similar time and have been engaged in a regional stalemate with Pakistan previously refusing to sign the NPT unless India did first. They also claim the treaties are discriminatory and allow such weapons only for a select group, who coincidentally make up the Security Council. Both nations are good examples of how a few can stand in the way of the peace of many. https://www.cnbc.com/2017/03/27/global-reluctance-towards-nuclear-denuclearization-as-un-hold-talks.html https://web.archive.org/web/20120112151514/http://www.whereincity.com/news/3/15197 https://www.dawn.com/news/1185843
The UN have not offered a realistic alternative to the nuclear situation

The countries that voted on the UN Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons Treaty were not part of the nuclear stalemate that began during the Cold War. The nations maintaining such weapons however are fully aware of the massive deterrent power that these weapons hold. They pose a dangerous but necessary foundation for global stability, they are an unfortunate fact of world affairs and the UN have not offered a secure enough alternative to spell the end for nuclear weapons.

Trying to eliminate such a deadly force in the world is commendable, but at the same time realistic safe guards need to be put into place. The draft treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons made multiple references to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences that would result from the use of nuclear weapons, but failed to offer any solution to the problem of the lack of a nuclear deterrent in a world without nuclear weapons. It is arguable that making the use of nuclear weapons illegal internationally in itself would offer some deterrent, but in a world where war crimes are still fairly common, would that be enough?

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Daniel Halliday
Nov 20
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DH edited this paragraph
Trying to eliminate such a deadly force in the world is commendable, but at the same time realistic safe guards need to be put into place. The draft treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons made multiple references to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences that would result from the use of nuclear weapons, but failed to offer any solution to the problem of the lack of a nuclear deterrent in a world without nuclear weapons. It is arguable that making the use of nuclear weapons illegal internationally in itself would offer some deterrent, but in a world where war crimes are still fairly common, would that be enough?
This treaty is a stepping stone on the arduous road to global denuclearisation

Just like previous Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons treaty, the Nuclear-weapon-free zone agreement and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban treaty, this treaty is a progressive step in the campaign towards global denuclearisation. It is the first legally binding agreement with the goal of working towards the complete elimination of nuclear weapons. However, as there is currently a legal international void in this area, this treaty is simply the start, a call to the international non-nuclear community to step up and fill this legal gap.

The goal of the treaty is not simply to bridge the legal gap in the use of nuclear weapons, which considering tense international relations of some nuclear capable nations could be a long way off. However this treaty and the campaigning around it will act as a form of international pressure and offer nations the chance demonstrate their commitment to disarming. Advocates of the treaty aim to stigmatise nuclear weapons rather directly legally ban them, making this treaty a stepping stone to a nuclear weapon ban.

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Daniel Halliday
Nov 20
Approved
DH edited this paragraph
The goal of the treaty is not simply to bridge the legal gap in the use of nuclear weapons, which considering tense international relations of some nuclear capable nations could be a long way off. However this treaty and the campaigning around it will act as a form of international pressure and offer nations the chance demonstrate their commitment to disarming. Advocates of the treaty aim to stigmatise nuclear weapons rather directly legally ban them, making this treaty a stepping stone to a nuclear weapon ban.
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