Warm Welcome for ICAN NATO Report

Today the Nobel Peace Prize winning International Campaign Report for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) published its report: “Why NATO members should join the UN nuclear weapon ban”.

Scottish CND warmly welcomes this new, thorough and comprehensive report which makes a wholly compelling case for NATO member states to engage with the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). In doing so it dispels a number of myths and misrepresentations around the new Treaty.

In particular, it disposes of the claim that accession to the TPNW is incompatible with membership of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. The current nuclear Strategic Doctrine is not intrinsic to the North Atlantic Treaty and there are no legal barriers to NATO states signing and ratifying the TPNW, though it would mean the end of any “nuclear sharing” and a renunciation by the state in question of any dependence on the nuclear arsenal of another state for their security. The report notes a new fluidity within NATO states in regard to recognition of the TPNW, reflected at party, parliamentary and popular level.

While the target audience of the report is NATO states (and mainly those which are not themselves nuclear-armed) the report has huge interest and relevance for a Scotland that is the involuntary host to the UK’s weapons of mass destruction. Scottish CND’s stance on NATO is unequivocal. NATO is an aggressive military alliance. As an independent Scotland its our place and key relationships in the wider world it will make absolutely no sense to align itself with a US leadership that remains committed to nuclear policies.

At the same time, we are but part of the global disarmament movement that has been given such new hope and momentum by the emergence of the TPNW. We need to recognise that the questions and the equations of compromise are different in different contexts.

It is heart-warming to see embedded in the report the following quotation from the Scottish First Minister:

“An independent Scotland would be a keen signatory (to the TPNW) and I hope the day when we can do that is not far off.”

We share her hope and her emphasis on the primacy of the Treaty. Early accession to the TPNW, as well as marking an absolute rejection of nuclear weapons, will also be a powerful signal that we want to join the world in tackling together the huge and varied challenges that we face. And we should be preparing for that right away, especially by making and strengthening links with the global movement.

Scottish CND Chair Lynn Jamieson said: “The original NATO treaty does not require the absurd self-delusion that nuclear weapons provide ‘safety’ or an ‘umbrella’. SCND opposes NATO because of its nuclear doctrine, ratcheting up of the arms race and for making Scotland an involuntary host to nuclear weapons. Until its member states sign the Nuclear Ban treaty, NATO is normalising unimaginable horror and doing harm to us all.”