Tag: NATO

Beating a dead horse?

The military utility of nuclear weapons

By Cecilie Hellestveit & Kjølv Egeland
2 October 2014

Nuclear weapons are commonly presented and perceived as political tools.  Yet, the merit of any tool ultimately hinges on its practical utility. The military doctrines of contemporary nuclear-armed states and alliances refer to nuclear weapons’ ability to deter aggressors, bolster non-proliferation, and contribute to alliance cohesion. As for practical application, it has been argued that nuclear weapons could be used as either bunker busters, neutralizers of other weapons of mass destruction, or in the defence of national territory and vital interests. Critically analysing these suggested areas of use, the authors find that the viability of using nuclear weapons for such tasks is highly limited, and generally equalled by alternative means. If appropriate uses for nuclear weapons cannot be found, states should divert the resources invested in such weapons to conventional technologies in order to increase their defensive capability.

We need to talk about the nuclear bomb

Op-Ed: NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg must see the elephant in the room: the role of nuclear weapons in the future of our defense

By Kjølv Egeland and Lars-Christian U. Talseth
30 September 2014

Ever since the organization was founded in 1949, NATO has regularly been deemed to be on the verge of dissolution, in crisis, at a “crossroads”, and heading for the dustbin of history. But every time, NATO has managed to renew itself and find new tasks. One reason  for this is pragmatic. As modern relationships go, member states have managed to salvage the marriage by giving each other room for maneuver—space to be themselves. The considerable autonomy each country has to make their own choices, and the opportunity to criticize the Alliance’s common policies, has been the institution’s recipe for success.

NATO’s tragedy

Despite almost 70 years of condemning resolutions and statements, nuclear weapons are still not explicitly prohibited by international law. NATO is one of the main obstacles for a ban.

By Kjølv Egeland and Torbjørn Graff Hugo
5 September 2014

Saying no to nukes

Scandinavian security choices in an age of proliferation, 1945–1968

By Fredrik Grønning Lie
4 September 2014

In this background paper, Fredrik Lie explores the critical years for nuclear proliferation in Norway and Sweden. A nuclear security strategy was seriously considered by authorities in both countries, but a variety of  political considerations combined to keep Scandinavia free of nuclear weapons. Norway, however, joined NATO’s nuclear umbrella.

NATO and a treaty banning nuclear weapons

Implications for NATO of a ban on nuclear weapons 

By ILPI

As a matter of international law, there is no barrier to NATO member states’ adherence to a treaty banning nuclear weapons. Concerns about the political implications of such a treaty for NATO ignore historical variations in member state military policy and underestimate the value of a ban on nuclear weapons for promoting NATO’s ultimate aim: the security of its member states.

A ban on nuclear weapons: what’s in it for NATO?

The effects on NATO member states of an early adoption of a legally binding instrument

By Stein-Ivar Lothe Eide

The proposal that nuclear weapons should be banned through the early adoption of a legally binding instrument is gaining traction. A topic of increasingly serious discussion, it is making its way up the international agenda – from being an idea with no real prospect of successful adoption, to a proposal to be reckoned with. Arguing that a process to ban nuclear weapons could become a political reality in the foreseeable future, this paper considers the implications of such an instrument for NATO member states. The paper finds that as a matter of international law, there is no barrier to member states’ adherence to such a treaty. Likewise, concerns about the political implications for NATO ignore historical variations in member state military policy and underestimate the value of a ban on nuclear weapons for promoting NATO’s ultimate aim: the security of its member states.