A forty-year effort to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons is breaking down, and the threat that terrorist groups will acquire them is growing. In Fatal Choice, Ambassador Richard Butler argues that we are poised on the verge of a second and much more risk-filled nuclear arms race than the one experienced throughout the Cold War.
“We continue to face a choice with respect to nuclear weapons—either to move safely toward their elimination or to remain their victim,” says Butler. This threat is clearly reflected in nuclear weapons development by India, Pakistan, and North Korea. According to Butler, the Bush administration revived a missile defense system that will not deal with the problem but, in fact, worsen it.
Butler outlines steps that can be taken to create an effective, unitary nuclear arms control policy, including: a major policy statement by President Bush; unilateral actions, such as U.S. ratification of the Conventional Test Ban Treaty; bilateral measures, especially negotiations between the United States and Russia; multilateral actions, most importantly the thirteen steps agreed to at the 2000 Review Conference of the Nonproliferation Treaty; and new mechanisms, such as the establishment of a Council on Weapons of Mass Destruction.
Richard Butler is diplomat in residence at the Council on Foreign Relations. A former Australian ambassador to the United Nations, he headed the UN Special Commission to disarm Iraq from 1997-99 and was also chairman of the Canberra Commission on the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons in 1995.
The authors argue that it is essential to begin working now to expand and establish rules and norms governing armed drones, thereby creating standards of behavior that other countries will be more likely to follow.
The author examines Pakistan's complex role in U.S. foreign policy and advocates for a two-pronged approach that works to quarantine threats while integrating Pakistan into the broader U.S. agenda in Asia.