Nuclear disarmament and NATO disunity

13-03-2002

The main speaker is retired British Royal Navy Commander Rob Green, a former navigator of a nuclear strike aircraft, who is playing an important role in building an alliance between the New Agenda group of countries pushing for nuclear disarmament and the international nuclear disarmament movement. Commander Green now lives in New Zealand, where he is a co- ordinator of the New Zealand Peace Foundation's Disarmament and Security Centre in Christchurch. He is the author of a number of books, including most recently the Naked Nuclear Emperor: Debunking Nuclear Deterrence - A Primer for Safer Security Strategies. Commander Green would be available for interviews with the press. For any further information, please contact: Wilbert van der Zeijden or Fiona Dove, TNI tel 020 - 6626608 wilbert@tni.org, fdove@tni.org

Background Information on the topics to be discussed From 8 to 19 April, the prepcom (intermediate evaluation meeting) of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) will take place in New York. At that meeting, a number of countries supporting practical steps towards nuclear disarmament will attempt to hold the nuclear weapons states to the promises they made at the NPT Review conference in 2000. The New Agenda Group, which includes active anti-nuclear countries like New Zealand, Sweden and Ireland, plays a central role in this opposition. It is being supported in its efforts by the anti- nuclear movement, including the Middle Powers Initiative which is represented by Rob Green, a retired commander of the British Royal Navy and former navigator/bombardier of a nuclear strike aircraft. Cdr Green is a leading member of the anti-nuclear NGO community who at present lives in New Zealand. He played an important part in building the alliance between the New Agenda Group and the anti- nuclear weapons movement and also wrote a classic rebuttal (The Naked Nuclear Emperor ) of the nuclear deterrence theory on which the nuclear weapons states still base their strategy of mass destruction. He is closely involved in setting up a network of Parliamentarians for Nuclear Disarmament, PNND. This month Cdr Green is travelling around Europe to lobby parliamentarians and government officials on the necessity of nuclear disarmament. At this TNI/IPPNW meeting, he will describe nuclear disarmament-related developments at the UN and elsewhere, among them the prepcom on the Non-Proliferation Treaty. He will also pay special attention to the changing nature of nuclear deterrence, more specifically the possible transformation of the UK nuclear deterrent into a conventionally armed force. At the centre of the nuclear developments in NATO is US nuclear policy, which has recently been reviewed in a document presented to the US Congress by the Department of Defense. Essentially, the US has stated its intent to reduce the level of its strategic nuclear forces, while at the same time continuing to rely on nuclear deterrence into the foreseeable future. Furthermore, it has announced its withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty , thus allowing it to test and develop an extensive missile defence system (part of the so-called 'Star Wars' programme.). US unilateralism regarding nuclear weapons issues and many multilateral treaties and arrangements has led to sharp confrontations between the USA and European member states of NATO. These covered a wide range of issues, not least that of international security and weapons of mass destruction. The clashes came into the open in January and February after a confrontational speech by US Republican Senator Lugar in Brussels. There he stated that "...if NATO does not help tackle the most pressing security threat to our countries today - a threat I believe is existential because it involves the threat of weapons of mass destruction - it will cease to be the premier alliance it has been and will become increasingly marginal." German and French ministers rejected this position, while the Dutch government at the end of January in a non-paper (an unofficial policy note tabled at the North Atlantic Council) suggested policy changes in the direction desired by the American government. Karel Koster will describe the development of this internal conflcit in NATO. As a member of the PENN network he has closely followed these events as an integral part of his lobby work in the Dutch parliament. Dr. Herman Spanjaard M.D., Vice-president of IPPNW Europe (International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War), will give a short introduction on the problems facing the international NGO community today. The meeting will be chaired by Fiona Dove, director of the Transnational Institute. Biographical Information on Commander Robert D. Green, Royal Navy (Retired) ROBERT GREEN served in the British Royal Navy from 1962-82. As a Fleet Air Arm

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