In this Lowy Institute Analysis, International Security Program Director Rory Medcalf provides background and detail for his proposals for renewed Australian activism on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament issues, introduced in the Lowy Institute Policy Brief 'Nuclear security: what else can Australia do?' Nuclear dangers are growing in Asia and globally. Nuclear-armed states are keeping and modernising their arsenals, many with first-use doctrines. Any state’s possession of and reliance on nuclear arms encourages proliferation. Terrorism, nuclear energy expansion and geopolitical rivalries add to proliferation fears. The possibility of the use of nuclear weapons is small but not diminishing. It may even be rising. Against this, there seems fresh willingness by some states and statesmen – including both US Presidential candidates – to consider practical steps towards reducing nuclear dangers. Australia’s Rudd Labor government has a strong policy platform on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, and has made an intriguing start by setting up an international Commission, co-chaired by Japan. Australia could further invigorate its nuclear diplomacy by: building credible long-term capacity; offering strong backing for the new Commission; supporting existing non-proliferation instruments; assisting British- Norwegian research on disarmament verification; talking with the next US Administration about reducing reliance on nuclear weapons; and building dialogue in Asia, including among leaders. The Asian initiative would pursue regional nuclear restraint and non-proliferation as well as a united regional voice in global forums. It would thus need to begin well ahead of the 2010 Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
|Commissioning body||Lowy Institute|
|Publication status||Published - 2008|