NATO leaders should champion nuclear restraint and dialogue

  Presidents Reagan and Gorbachev at 1987 Washington Summit

Last Friday our blog called on Prime Minister Trudeau to resist Trump’s bullying over yet more defence spending and to ensure that the Final Communiqué from NATO leaders contains no support for American proposals to lower the threshold for first use of nuclear weapons. See:  Trudeau must hold the line again at upcoming NATO Summit (, 29 June 2018).

Yet this is the absolute minimum Canadians should expect, says Rideau Institute President Peggy Mason:

The NATO Summit in Brussels is taking place just days before the first ever formal meeting between President Trump and President Putin. It is hard to overstate the positive role that Canada and other NATO leaders can play in ensuring the Trump–Putin Summit is a successful one for arms control and global stability.

In particular NATO states should call on President Trump and President Putin to eliminate tactical nuclear weapons from Europe rather than installing expensive and dangerously destabilizing upgraded versions, as is currently planned.

The 11–12 July 2018 NATO summit offers a unique opportunity for the European Allies to take the initiative again and demand from the US a negotiation that would lead to the withdrawal of both American and Russian tactical weapons from European soil…Marc Finaud, IDN.

Beyond this important measure, Canada and other NATO members must champion a new era of nuclear restraint, détente, and disarmament.  This is in keeping with the location chosen for the Summit — Helsinki, Finland — the birthplace of the Helsinki Final Act and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

As noted by Alyn Ware, Global Coordinator for Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament, the Helsinki accords, signed in 1975, affirmed the obligation to resolve conflicts peacefully, non-intervention in internal affairs of other States, respect for human rights, and the obligation to achieve arms control and disarmament. And these agreements also strengthened the European mechanisms for conflict resolution and common security, culminating in the creation of the OSCE:

As such, holding the summit in Helsinki signals a step-back from the conflicts and mutual threats between Russia and the West, and the possibility of a stronger focus on dialogue, détente and disarmament

Canada must join with European leaders to move the global community away from the nuclear brink and toward a new vision of common security for a sustainable and nuclear-free world.




Photo credit: Wikimedia (1987 Reagan–Gorbachev Summit in Washington).



Tags: 2018 American Nuclear Posture Review, Abolition 2000, arms control, détente, Helsinki accords, Helsinki Final Act, Initiatives pour le Désarmement Nucléaire (IDN), NATO Summit 2018, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament, peaceful resolution of disputes, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, tactical nuclear weapons, Trump-Putin Summit 2018, UN Charter