Scandinavian security choices in an age of proliferation, 1945–1968
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.
Australia’s disarmament dilemma
In this background paper, professor Michael Hamel-Green unpacks the paradox of Australia on the one hand being party to the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone, and relying on a nuclear security strategy through the ANZUS Security Treaty with the United States on the other.
Implications for NATO of a ban on nuclear weapons
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.
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.
The following text aims to clarify the concept of a ‘nuclear umbrella’ and pinpoints political challenges and debates associated with the topic.
The euphemism of a ‘nuclear umbrella’ is generally understood to cover a form of military cooperation by which one or more nuclear-armed states (‘holding’ the umbrella) provide supposed nuclear protection for one or more non-nuclear-armed states (‘sheltering’ under it). A crucial point to understand about nuclear umbrellas is that they are not necessarily codified by authoritative documents. Rather, nuclear umbrellas are rooted in military and diplomatic practices. A ‘nuclear umbrella’, is a security arrangement under which the participating states consent to or acquiesce the potential use of nuclear weapons in their defence. The related concept of ‘extended nuclear deterrence’ may be understood as the intended effect of a nuclear umbrella. A ‘nuclear umbrella state’ is a state without nuclear weapons under the supposed protection of the nuclear weapons of another state.