The Helen Caldicott Foundation | Vienna Conference Could ‘Change the Calculus’ of US Nuclear Policy
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Vienna Conference Could ‘Change the Calculus’ of US Nuclear Policy

Vienna Conference Could ‘Change the Calculus’ of US Nuclear Policy

Vienna conference on nuclear weapons brings more and new participants to the discussion which many feel has new nations and individuals feeling deterrence is no longer a secure path and leaning towards disarmament as the only route to nuclear security.

Joseph Cirincione / DefenseOne 8 December, 2014

VIENNA, Austria — While Iran negotiations get screaming headlines, recent conferences on the consequences of the use of nuclear weapons have not gotten much attention. Maybe they should. They are generating a growing movement that could have a bigger impact on U.S. nuclear policy than many have assumed.

Most security analysts were only dimly aware, if at all, that a conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons was held in Oslo, Norway, in March 2013, then a second conference, somewhat larger, in Nayarit, Mexico, in February 2014. I personally did not pay much attention — and nuclear policy is my job.

But a third Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons conference is underway this week in Vienna that could be changing the calculus. It is the largest yet, with 800 delegates from almost 160 nations. I am attending for the first time, as are dozens of my colleagues. More importantly, the United States has sent an official delegation, as have the United Kingdom, India and Pakistan. This is a first for the nuclear-weapon states, who shunned the previous discussions…

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