Threat: Ban military preparations to use nuclear weapons
The discussions are now focussed on the second draft of the proposed treaty to ban nuclear weapons ongoing in New York, and it is going well. There are still some additional improvements that we hope can be made, and one is to address ‘threat of use.’ Many states at the negotiations have asked about incorporating a prohibition on the threat of use of nuclear weapons. One way to get this is to have an explicit prohibition on military preparations for use.
Military preparations could include refueling aircraft, exercises in preparation for use or targeting and other fighting arrangements. These are examples of activities but are not he only ones. Any concrete or tangible activity could be included, and this has been done with the chemical weapons convention, for example. This would remove or reduce the facilities needed for general military planning and training. It would also undermine or delegitimise the nuclear weapons secret structures, and lead to a more communicative approach with more democratic accountability for military planning decisions and improved open collective approaches to military alliances. This allows a shared public understanding of how these work and what they are. It is important to remember that NATO may have a nuclear strike policy, but that policy is not entrenched in the treaty itself, and could be changed. Modifications to the planes for example, would prevent future nuclear weapons capabilities. If the ban treaty includes the prohibition on military planning, that would accelerate the change in view of nuclear weapons away from ideas of stability to an understanding that nuclear weapons are instruments of terror and instability, and this will, at last, undermine and discredit the entrenched but psychotic and dangerous concept of deterrence.
The democratic benefit of transparent and accountable practice can, at last, provide the possibility of exploring ideological differences without risking the survival of our species
Janet Fenton, attending the UN nuclear ban treaty discussions