Letters: Obliged to disarm

ELIZABETH YOUNG and Wayland Kennet ("You thought the nuclear arms race was over? Think again", 21 November) examine the symptoms of the disease but not the cause. The world suffers from the malignant belief that the possession of nuclear weapons is a normal state of affairs instead of a deadly aberration.

Young and Kennet correctly point out that the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty is essentially a disarmament treaty. In 1996 the International Court of Justice removed any doubts about this by unanimously confirming that nuclear disarmament must not only be pursued in good faith but actually achieved. This is a legal obligation to be implemented with all deliberate speed.

Fiddling about with Son of Star Wars and undermining the aims of the ABM Treaty is a perverse distraction. The glaring fact is that no nuclear disarmament talks are taking place anywhere. The nuclear weapon states consistently block any moves in the UN to make a start on them. Meanwhile, they hedge their bets with missile defence and the continued development of their own nuclear warheads.Young and Kennet urge Tony Blair to develop "a foreign policy of our own". An effective start would be to implement New Labour's manifesto commitments by robustly supporting talks to achieve a global convention banning all nuclear weapons everywhere.


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