The Realist Case Against Nuclear Disarmament

Dr. Rajesh Rajagopalan is Professor, Centre for International Politics, Organisation and Disarmament, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.
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  • March 2010

    Nuclear disarmament is once again fashionable. If rhetoric was sufficient, nuclear disarmament should be easily achievable. But what the rhetoric hides is not only the difficulty of achieving nuclear disarmament, but also the instrumental manner in which that rhetoric is being deployed. At the height of the Cold War, the two superpowers traded a number of detailed proposals for controlling the atom. Much later, Paul Nitze, one of the key participants on the US side, revealed that most of these proposals were deliberately designed to be rejected and were proposed as public relations gimmicks rather than as serious diplomatic positions. 1 One can say the same about the current overheated buzz about nuclear disarmament: as in the 1950s, this is designed to serve specific policy goals that are related to nuclear non-proliferation and other nuclear arms control measures rather than nuclear disarmament.