Time for a Reality Check on Nuclear Diplomacy

April 25, 2019
Gov. Jerry Brown and Bill Potter

The following is an excerpt of an op/ed published in the San Francisco Chronicle on the eve of the 2019 NPT PrepCom. 

On Monday, diplomats from around the world are meeting at the United Nations in New York to review the state of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. This treaty, commonly known as the NPT, came into force 49 years ago, and is widely regarded as the cornerstone of international disarmament and nonproliferation diplomacy.

But if it is the cornerstone, then what is the evidence of its effectiveness? Has it blocked the spread of nuclear weapons?

Has it reduced the size of the global nuclear arsenal?

Has it led to meaningful nuclear disarmament or even to a diminished risk that nuclear weapons will be used?


The size of the global nuclear arsenal is much smaller today than it was at the peak of the Cold War — a fact that the two states with the largest nuclear forces, the United States and Russia, say shows their good faith under the treaty to pursue negotiations to stop the nuclear arms race at an early date and eventually achieve nuclear disarmament.

What is less evident is whether any of the nuclear-armed states actually believes in nuclear disarmament.

Continue reading at the San Francisco Chronicle.


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