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It is almost fifty years since the nuclear-weapon states entered into the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Is a world without nuclear weapons an achievable vision?
It is almost fifty years since the five affirmed nuclear-weapon states covenanted to "pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament" under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) of 1968. Yet, far from ceasing the nuclear arms race, it is very evident that all of the nuclear-weapon states today are diligently modernising their stockpiles and continue to reiterate the prominence of such weapons in their security repertoires and pronouncements. Despite there being substantially fewer nuclear weapons today than during the Cold War era, the overall dangers of nuclear security have in many ways expanded: where non-state actors continue to pursue them, more states in more volatile parts of the world have attained such weapons, and the command and control systems in even the most sophisticated nuclear-armed states remain vulnerable to not only system and human error but, increasingly, to cyber-attack. Moreover, the failure of existing nuclear-armed states to disarm (while busily modernising) and the inability to inhibit new states from obtaining nuclear weapons pose immense challenges to meeting NPT obligations and attaining some semblance of global security. Indeed, without a definitive set of restrictions on the pace and scope of nuclear modernisation, the goals of deep cuts in, and eventual elimination of, nuclear weapons remain intangible and increasingly improbable.
In this seminar, an expert panel will discuss what they consider to be the greatest nuclear related security challenges in the 21st Century, how we can restore some form of political will in emboldening the global non-proliferation regime and ultimately, put in place the necessary steps toward a "world without nuclear weapons".
- Associate Professor Marianne Hanson, Reader School of Political Science and International Studies, University of Queensland
- Professor Joseph Siracusa, Professor of Human Security and International Diplomacy, RMIT University
- Dr Benjamin Habib, Lecturer in International Relations, La Trobe University
- Associate Professor Maria Rost Rublee, School of Social Sciences, Monash University
- Petra Ball, Acting National Manager, International Humanitarian Law, Red Cross
- Dr Aiden Warren (convener), Senior Lecturer in International Relations, RMIT University