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"As long as lions don't have their historians,
hunting stories will always glorify the hunters."
African proverb

LE-PIEGE

How can France belong to the 'happy few' who have a say on the international arena, while the country (3% of the world's GNP) is holding on to 300 out of 19,500 warheards, i.e. 2 % of the world atomic arsenal ? A real dilemma.

War in Mali in the background highlights the fact that some Nuclear Weapons States (NWS) live beyond their nuclear means. If France is playing beyond it's weight, it is feeling it now for the first time.

Previous glory and present burdens

Since 1953, - with the support of socialists that became anti-bomb once De Gaulle came to power in 1958 -, France has embarked on the nuclear path.

Lire la suite : To be or not to be a Nuclear Weapon State

ASHGATE-COMPANION-to-War

Environmental security, a relatively recent concept, has provoked intense debate amongst theorists of international relations. What are the indicators for environmental security? To what extent is the scarcity of a natural resource likely to cause a "green war"? Are crises, such as Darfur, likely to be more frequent?
Taking into account the amount of land soon to be engulfed by rising sea levels, is climatic change then a threat to national or international security? To what extent are these climatic disturbances going to represent the drop that causes the vase to overflow, the vase being already full to the brim with demographic pressure, soil erosion, deforestation, and diminishing sources of drinking water and fish stocks. Do we include amongst these new threats States that are demanding compensation for environmental damage perpetuated by other States, or the attempts of those who seek to delocalize their pollution? Or those who would rely on military solutions in situations of environmental insecurity?

Lire la suite : The Effects of Climatic Change on Security

NUKESWEAPONS
Cramer is a political analyst of the arms race with experience as a journalist and as an activist on disarmament and security issues. In this facts and figures packed book published by the global peace umbrella group, the International Peace Bureau or IPB, he documents the cost of nuclear weapons in nine nuclear nations while acknowledging, "There are many other prices to be paid by states (and their populations) once they embark on the path to a nuclear arsenal: damage to the environment, to democracy, to the health of citizens, to international cooperation, and ultimately to our fundamental values."
There have been analyses of nuclear spending before but this up–to–date research brings together in tables, charts and prose the state of spending in nine nuclear nations, including the only nation in the Middle East to possess a large nuclear arsenal – Israel which has the highest per capita spending, followed by USA, France, UK, Russia, North Korea, Pakistan, China and India (chart on page 37).

Lire la suite : Nuclear Weapons: At what cost?

NUCLEAR AGEObama has vowed that he will do 'whatever it takes' to stop the Iranian enrichment programme. The threat of military force must stay on the table—'As President, I will use all elements of American power to pressure Iran'. He will have support in Europe: French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner warned over a year ago that 'the world should prepare for war over Iran's nuclear programme'. The legal pretext for an attack is provided by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which has emerged in the post-Cold War era as a cornerstone of the 'international community'. Recent articles in this journal have examined the formal aims and practical record of the NPT in preventing the spread of nuclear weapons, and the policies of the Bush Administration towards it. [1] What follows will look at two further questions. Firstly, what is the political history of the Treaty as an international agreement—which powers conceived it, and for what reasons; which accepted it, and why; which have rejected it, and with what consequences? Secondly, what has been the effect of the Treaty in world politics, understood as an arena of conflicts involving not only states, but movements and ideals?
These questions hold a particular relevance for New Left Review. Its founding editors in 1960 were leading participants in the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, the largest mass movement in Britain since the War, and crucible for a new youth-protest culture. No cause was more central to Edward Thompson, Stuart Hall and the New Left of the time than opposition to the British Bomb and to the deadly arms race between the superpowers. [2] Yet CND faded, once its adherents had been beaten back inside the Labour Party. It was solidarity with the National Liberation Front in Vietnam, rather than the threat of atomic devastation, that would mobilize the great protests of the 1960s. Two decades later, however, when the arrival of US Cruise and Pershing missiles in Western Europe once again revived nuclear fears, a European-wide campaign against the arms race sprang into being, with Edward Thompson once again at its fore. Setting out to unite dissenters in both West and Eastern Europe against the Cold War, end rallied huge demonstrations against nuclear weapons on an international scale and produced a more developed set of debates than its predecessor. Of these, perhaps the most sustained took place in the milieu of this journal, with the publication in 1980 of Thompson's famous essay, 'Notes on Exterminism', followed by contributions from Raymond Williams, Noam Chomsky, Lucio Magri, Mike Davis and others. [3] But by the mid 1980s end, too, had receded, leaving little mark on the course of events in the final years of the Cold War. Its aftermath was not the expansion of protest that had been the sequel to CND, but the capitulations of Gorbachev and Yeltsin, and the triumph of the West.

Twenty years on again, popular protests against the invasion of Iraq—officially designed to stop it getting nuclear weapons—mobilized far greater numbers than even end, not only in Europe but throughout the world. But this time the peace movement was even shorter-lived, as an effective political force. Nor has there been any movement of anti-imperialist solidarity against the extended military occupation of Iraq, of the kind that played a critical role in ending the war in Vietnam. Now, when an attack is menaced against Iran, there is less sign than ever of any vocal or organized resistance to the rationale for it. Nuclear disarmament, once the cause of a movement for peace, has become the prime justification for acts and threats of war. In this transformation, the role of the NPT has been central. Level-headed analysis of it is overdue.

Lire la suite : NPT, the nuclear Non-Protestation Treaty