Advertisement

The Humanitarian Initiative: A Critical Appreciation

  • Nina TannenwaldEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Rethinking Peace and Conflict Studies book series (RCS)

Abstract

This essay offers a critical evaluation of the campaign on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons and the resulting 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. It highlights both accomplishments and limitations of the treaty. The treaty is a major achievement but is best seen as a stigmatization rather than a disarmament treaty. While the treaty may strengthen the nuclear taboo, the ultimate challenge is to undermine nuclear weapons as a currency of power. The essay reflects on four themes illustrated by the movement of civil society and non-nuclear states to achieve the ban treaty: processes of stigmatization, the democratization of disarmament politics, the advantages and disadvantages of codification, and normative strategies of disarmament more broadly.

Keywords

Ban treaty Nuclear prohibition treaty Humanitarian campaign Disarmament 

References

  1. Acheson, R. (2012). Nuclear weapons modernization: Aspiring to ‘indefinite retention’? Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 68(5), 88–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Borrie, J. (2014). Humanitarian reframing of nuclear weapons and the logic of a ban. International Affairs, 90(3), 625–646.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Borrie, J., & Coughley, T. (Eds.). (2013). Viewing nuclear weapons through a humanitarian lens. Geneva: United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research.Google Scholar
  4. Broad, W., & Sanger, D. (2016, January 11). As U.S. modernizes nuclear weapons, ‘smaller’ leaves some uneasy. New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/12/science/as-us-modernizes-nuclear-weapons-smaller-leaves-some-uneasy.html. Accessed 10 December 2018.
  5. Dowler, T. W., & Howard, J. S., III. (1991). Countering the threat of the well-armed tyrant: A modest proposal for small nuclear weapons. Strategic Review, 19(4), 34–40.Google Scholar
  6. Ford, C. (2017, August 22). Responding to the Ban: Remarks from National Security Council Senior Director for WMD and Counterproliferation Christopher Ford. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. https://carnegieendowment.org/2017/08/22/briefing-on-nuclear-ban-treaty-by-nsc-senior-director-christopher-ford-event-5675.
  7. Freedman, L. (1989). The evolution of nuclear strategy. London: Palgrave-Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Highsmith, N., & Stewart, M. (2018, January 29). The nuclear ban treaty: A legal analysis. Survival, 60(1), 129–152.Google Scholar
  9. Hindustan Times. (2017, July 18). Committed to nuclear disarmament but can’t be party to UN treaty, says India.Google Scholar
  10. Hoffmann-Axthelm, L. (2016, August 24). Germany: In defense of nuclear weapons? Heinrich-Boell Stiftung. https://www.boell.de/en/2016/08/24/germany-defense-nuclear-weapons. Accessed 10 December 2018.
  11. Kehler, R. (2017, November 14). Testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, U.S. Congress.Google Scholar
  12. Lewis, J. (2017, October 9). An award for the collapse of nuclear disarmament. Foreign Policy. https://foreignpolicy.com/2017/10/09/an-award-for-the-collapse-of-nuclear-disarmament/. Accessed 10 December 2018.
  13. Ritchie, N. (2014). Waiting for Kant: Devaluing and delegitimizing nuclear weapons. International Affairs, 90(3), 601–623.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Ritchie, N. (2016, May 11). Pathways to nuclear disarmament: Delegitimizing nuclear violence (Working Paper). Open-Ended Working Group.Google Scholar
  15. Sagan, S., & Valentino, B. (2017, July 16). The nuclear weapons ban treaty—opportunities lost. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. https://thebulletin.org/2017/07/the-nuclear-weapons-ban-treaty-opportunities-lost/.
  16. Sauer, T., & Reveraert, M. (2018, June–July). The potential stigmatizing effect of the treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons. The Nonproliferation Review, 25(5–6), 437–455.Google Scholar
  17. Tannenwald, N. (2018). The great unraveling: The future of the nuclear normative order. In N. Tannenwald & J. M. Acton (Eds.), Meeting the challenges of the new nuclear age. Cambridge, MA: American Academy of Arts and Sciences.Google Scholar
  18. Thakur, R. (2018). The nuclear ban treaty: Recasting a normative framework for disarmament. The Washington Quarterly, 40(4), 71–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Vadillo, A. P. (2016, May). Beyond the ban: The humanitarian initiative of nuclear disarmament and advocacy of no first use nuclear doctrines. British-American Security Information Council.Google Scholar
  20. Wolfsthal, J. (2017, October 4). More than paper: How nuclear ban treaty advocates can really advance disarmament. War on the Rocks blog.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Brown UniversityProvidenceUSA

Personalised recommendations