Nuclear proliferation is one of the main security concern of the last seventy years as nuclear war could lead to a catastrophe of global proportions. To avoid such scenario, the international community put in place systems to mitigate the ownership and use of nuclear armaments but a number of States already own or have come into possession of this type of weapons. In some regions of the world, this has even lead to an armament race between neighbouring countries. This, combined with a climate of international tension, could lead to the deployment of the nuclear option.
To discuss this issues and what the international community can do to make sure such scenario does not become a reality, the World Solidarity Forum organised, on the 12th December 2017, a panel debate between experts on the matter. The first panellist was Davide Castro, member of DiEM25 in Belgium. Mr Castro discussed the issues behind the threats of using nuclear weapons between North Korea and the USA. He argued that, while the threats of North Korea cannot simply be dismissed, the country should not be demonised. He told the audience that there needs to be an understanding between the rationale of both countries to engage in a dialogue that would could mitigate the risk of moving from threats to actions.
The following speaker was Professor Steven Blockmans, Head of Foreign Policy at the Centre for European Policy Studies. Professor Blockmans gave an overview of the international agreements concerning the possession of nuclear weapons and discussed Iran and North Korea as two examples. Particularly focusing on the latter, he emphasised the importance of other regional actors such as China, who do not wish for chaos in the area. He also explained that the EU could also play the role of mediator between the parts, particularly after the USA has lost its interest in such role, but both the internal and regional political conditions must be right for the EU to do so effectively.
The third expert on the panel was Mohsen Behzad Karimi, EUReporter Correspondent and Iran Analyst, who started his intervention with a quick overview of the recent developments in the international relation between Iran and the Western powers. He argued that, while the agreements and the economic sanctions can play a role, they are not at the root of the nuclear arms race, which should instead be identified in the power plays in the Middle-Eastern region. However he also made the point that European countries should change their attitude and be more pressing on nuclear disarmament and human rights: if a regional nuclear conflict were to happen, they would quickly lose access to the resources that they covet when relating to Iran, such as gas and oil.
The last intervention was given by Artem Rezimov, visiting fellow at the Centre for European Policy Studies. His expertise lying on the Russian question, he spoke about the role of the Russian nuclear doctrine and how it is a part of a broader strategic approach to international relations. As the Russian army and standard arsenals do not necessarily offer an advantage in case of conflict with other global powers, their nuclear arsenal can be seen as a deterrent. In this light, it is easier to understand why Russia is purchasing high-tech equipment for its nuclear arsenal but that does not seem to concern NATO members too much which, according to Mr Rezimov, should actually be a priority.
The event then concluded with a Q&A sessions on many topics, such as the importance of non-proliferation treaties and if nuclear weapons as deterrent actually have a role in preventing wars due to the too high risk they constitute for regional actors, which was then followed by a networking drinks for the participants.