Nuclear Disorder or

 Cooperative Security?

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 About the Project

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About the Project

The overarching policy goal of this project is to help turn United States foreign policy back towards reliance on international cooperation, in part through multilateral treaty regimes, as a means of diminishing the risks posed by nuclear, biological and chemical weapons to Americans and others around the world.

The United States so far has squandered the historic opportunity presented by the end of the Cold War to drastically reduce its own and other countries’ reliance on nuclear weapons and to prevent their spread. While the Clinton administration’s rhetoric suggested it was aware of this opportunity, little actual progress was made. Instead of ushering in a new era of cooperative security, the military programs and policies put in place during the Clinton Administration laid the groundwork for the Bush administration’s unilateral and aggressive foreign policy, in which the potential use of nuclear weapons is becoming more “thinkable.” The Bush administration has turned its back on the opportunity, instead adopting the attitude that nuclear weapons are a permanent and important feature of the landscape for the United States and a few other countries it deems responsible. This is both hypocritical and unsustainable. If the U.S., the most powerful military entity in history, overtly relies on the threatened first use of nuclear weapons to ensure its “national security,” it should not be surprised if other countries seek to follow suit.

The United States now rejects the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty; insists, contrary to many years of commitments and overwhelming expert opinion, that a yet to be negotiated treaty banning production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons cannot be verified; in the 2002 Moscow Treaty on nuclear arms reductions, abandoned the principles of verification and irreversibility developed in US-Soviet/Russian arms control agreements; and expanded the declared role and potential uses of nuclear weapons in its security doctrines. In related areas of strategic arms control, the record is not much better. In 2001, the United States brought to an end seven years of negotiations on an agreement to create a verification regime for the existing ban on biological weapons, and in 2002 withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. The United States has shown no interest in meeting the challenge of missile proliferation with global controls on missiles. The United States, and especially the Bush administration, has relied on a policy of “counterproliferation” by military means if necessary, misleadingly, disastrously, and unlawfully applied in Iraq.

A change in course, towards cooperative, reciprocal participation in international initiatives and regimes, is urgently needed, both to reduce the longstanding risks posed by major states’ reliance on nuclear forces and to effectively prevent the proliferation of nuclear, biological or chemical weapons, and their means of delivery, to additional states.

About the Organizations

The Lawyers’ Committee on Nuclear Policy (LCNP), founded in 1981, is a New York-based non-profit educational association of lawyers, legal scholars, and citizens that engages in legal and policy research, education and advocacy in support of nuclear arms control, disarmament, and nonproliferation, and of rule-of-law based global security, in national and international settings. LCNP provides information and analysis to citizens’ groups, professional associations, the media, U.S. officials and members of Congress, government missions to the United Nations and UN officials, and parliamentarians and officials in other countries. The organization is also deeply engaged in national and international networks and campaigns for nuclear disarmament and global security. LCNP is the principal U.S. affiliate of the International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms (IALANA).

LCNP collaborates extensively with other groups, including those involved in this project. For example, at the 2005 NPT Review Conference, LCNP and Western States Legal Foundation provided an in-depth briefing on the non-compliance of nuclear weapon states with the Article VI disarmament obligation as part of NGO presentations to an official session of the Conference. In August 2005, LCNP, Reaching Critical Will, Greenpeace International, and the Arms Control Association released a letter to UN missions regarding the upcoming World Summit. In 2004, working with the Reaching Critical Will initiative, LCNP closely monitored and intervened in the development of the Security Council resolution 1540 on preventing non-state actor acquisition of and trafficking in nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons, writing analyses of drafts, proposing alternative language (some of which was adopted), and providing commentary for UN-based press (see: RCW UN Security Council page). For an overview of LCNP’s history and analysis, see interview with John Burroughs in the summer 2005 issue of the Harvard International Review.

Western States Legal Foundation
(WSLF), a nonprofit organization founded in 1982 and based in Oakland, California, seeks to abolish nuclear weapons as an essential step in making possible a more secure, just, and environmentally sustainable world. With a local focus on the Livermore Nuclear Weapons Laboratory, WSLF provides independent information and analysis about U.S. nuclear weapons in the context of related foreign and domestic policies, for a wide range of audiences ranging from local church groups to United Nations conferences. WSLF conducts educational and organizing activities that strengthen, advance and help to integrate nuclear disarmament and related peace and justice campaigns.

WSLF grew out of the movement against nuclear power and weapons in the early 1980s. Originally founded to provide legal assistance to nonviolent activists, WSLF’s program has expanded to encompass a broad range of research, advocacy and organizing. WSLF has helped to build and sustain local, national and international networks while remaining firmly based in a local organizing context. Grounded in commitments to nonviolence and international law, WSLF strives to provide information, analysis and advocacy that is professional in quality and rooted in the values of the social movements it serves. WSLF has increasingly sought to link nuclear disarmament with global and domestic issues of peace, justice and sustainability. WSLF's executive director, Jacqueline Cabasso, serves on the national Steering Committee of United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ), the largest anti-war coalition in the United States. She also convenes UFPJ's Nuclear Disarmament/Redefining Security Working GroupWSLF is a founding and active member of the Abolition 2000 Global Network to Eliminate Nuclear Weapons, with over 2000 member groups in more than 90 countries. WSLF also is affiliated with IALANA.

Reaching Critical Will
was launched by the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom in 1999 in order to increase the quality and quantity of civil society at international disarmament fora, such as those that take place at the UN. We believe that nuclear disarmament will require coordinated and sustained effort on the part of governments, non-governmental organizations and the United Nations. Reaching Critical Will is WILPF's initiative to encourage people to act and contribute to a variety of international fora. For non-governmental organizations and concerned individuals to act, they need information, primary documents and analysis. Reaching Critical Will collects, packages and often translates disarmament related information into terms ordinary people can understand. Reaching Critical Will centralizes and disseminates information, especially through its website, about international disarmament processes, and increases the quality and quantity of NGO preparation and participation in these processes.

Lawyers' Committee on
Nuclear Policy

866 UN Plaza, Suite 4050
New York, NY 10017-1830 USA
phone: (212) 818-1861
fax: (212) 818-1857
Western States Legal Foundation
1204 Preservation Park Way
Oakland, CA 94612 USA
phone: (510) 839-5877
fax: (510) 839-5397
Reaching Critical Will
Women's International League for Peace and Freedom
777 UN Plaza
New York, NY 10017
phone: (212) 682-1265
fax: (212) 286-8211