From Deterrence to Danger: Tactics Institute Plea for Nuclear Disarmament

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Two years after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the world faces an alarming escalation in the risk of nuclear weapons use. Tactics Institute demands, with immediate effect, that Russia cease its escalating nuclear threats and violations of international law in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

Vladimir Putin’s explicit threats to employ nuclear weapons have shattered longstanding norms against atomic warfare. The situation is exacerbated by the irresponsible practice of nuclear sharing, as seen in Russia’s transfer of tactical armaments to Belarus, which heightens global tensions and risks catastrophic accidents. Nuclear threats expand tensions in an already dangerous environment, reduce the threshold for the use of atomic weapons, and significantly increase the risk of nuclear conflict and global catastrophe. 

The use of nuclear blackmail by Russia in the case of the Ukraine war has demonstrated the imperfect nature of nuclear deterrence, which, instead of providing stability, gave Russia the cover to commence its brutal and devastating invasion. Yet Russia’s nuclear threats have failed to deter the US and European countries from supplying Ukraine with weapons and money to fight Russia.

This is a reckless and dangerous escalation that was widely condemned. But for NATO states, and particularly the five states that host US nuclear weapons, simply blaming Russia’s nuclear sharing without taking any action is insufficient and hypocritical.

Tactics Institute calls upon all nuclear-armed states and their allies to condemn unequivocally any nuclear threats and to end their reliance on the flawed doctrine of nuclear deterrence. Instead, we urge these states to join the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), which outlaws the threat of nuclear weapon use and atomic sharing. Multilateral disarmament is essential to prevent further escalation and to ensure global security.

Meanwhile, the row has also accelerated the global nuclear arms race, with the nine nuclear-armed nations increasing spending to $82.9 billion in 2022. As a result, the nuclear weapons enterprise has profited shamelessly off the world’s concerns over nuclear war. Since the conflict in Ukraine and the increased nuclear tensions that followed, profits for the companies that produce nuclear weapons have driven up, with a $15.7 billion increase in share and bond holding and a $57.1 billion increase in loans and underwriting.

The current conflict underscores the urgent need for nuclear disarmament as an integral component of a negotiated peace between Russia and Ukraine. By joining the TPNW, states can delegitimize nuclear deterrence and pave the way for a world free of nuclear weapons.

Tactics Institute reiterates its call for Russia and all involved parties to cease nuclear threats and actions immediately and to commit to peaceful resolution of conflicts. All responsible states must uphold international law and work towards a safer, nuclear-free world.

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