Implementing the Global Nuclear Disarmament Agenda: A Challenge to NATO

Report of the Consultation on NATO Nuclear Policy, National Missile Defence, and Alternative Security Arrangements
Ottawa, Canada
September 28-30, 2000

The global threat posed by the existence of nuclear weapons certainly did not disappear with the end of the Cold War. Nevertheless, in the past decade we have seen a welcome surge in both the support for and the expectation of real progress toward the elimination of nuclear weapons. At the same time, there have been many developments – the defeat of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty in the US Senate, the nuclearization of South Asia, the retention of Cold-War-era nuclear postures by the United States and Russia – that tend in the opposite direction: towards the indefinite retention and even the spread of nuclear capabilities. The looming prospect of missile defence deployment threatens further damage to nuclear arms control and disarmament efforts. And thus the opportunity that now exists to make dramatic advances towards complete nuclear disarmament is at risk of being lost.

In September 2000, The Simons Foundation in partnership with Project Ploughshares convened a Consultation on NATO Nuclear Policy, National Missile Defence, and Alternative Security Arrangements. The Consultation brought together civil society experts, Canadian government officials, and a number of representatives of other countries to discuss the key nuclear weapons issues facing Canada and the North Atlantic community and to explore and articulate proposals in support of nuclear disarmament and alternative security arrangements. The purpose of the Consultation was to identify and build support for Canadian initiatives to advance nuclear disarmament and alternative security arrangements, globally and in the NATO context  (see Appendix 1 for a list of participants).

The opening, context-setting, address to the Consultation was given by Jennifer Allen Simons and is included as the Introduction to this report. The Consultation then proceeded to focus on six main topics: Status of the NATO Review, Nuclear Arms Control and Disarmament Priorities, Implications of National Missile Defence, Deterrence and Assurance Strategies, Post-Nuclear Security Arrangements, and Directions for Canadian Policy (see Appendix 2 for the Consultation Agenda).

The main body of this report is presented as a joint Policy Brief by The Simons Foundation and Project Ploughshares that draws on key points and recommendations discussed at the Consultation and raised in papers submitted beforehand by the participants (see We believe these views are broadly representative of those expressed by the majority of Consultation participants, but this report is not intended to and does not represent the views of all participants on all subjects.