Nuclear deterrence `impotent` before new challenges

The Cold War-era concept of nuclear deterrence been rendered `impotent` by the new challenges of the 21st century.

Moscow: The Cold War-era concept of
nuclear deterrence been rendered `impotent` by the new
challenges of the 21st century and global security could be
ensured only through `deep re-organisation` of existing
international system, a group of eminent Russians led by
ex-premier Evgeny Primakov have said.

While achieving the goal of nuclear disarmament should
remain a strategic objective, it was possible only in the
context of a deep reorganisation of the entire international
system, Primakov, former foreign minister Igor Ivanov,
president of top Kurchatov Nuclear Centre Evgeny Velikhov and
last Soviet Chief of General Staff Gen Mikhail Moiseyev said
in a joint article published by Izvestia daily today.

"Nuclear deterrence is impotent in responding to
threats of the 21st century such as the proliferation of
weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their means of delivery,
international terrorism, ethnic and religious conflicts,
translational crime, etc," the group says.

The four policymakers, who in the past were involved
in the US-Russian arms control process argued that the logic
behind nuclear disarmament was at times an obstacle to broader
action better-adapted to the day`s security realities.

They said ultimately what was needed is a new paradigm
in global security thinking capable of taking the world beyond
the Cold War-era logic centred on mutual deterrence and
piecemeal disarmament and towards a new, cooperative system
for addressing 21st-century security threats effectively.

"In such a context, nuclear disarmament is not so much
an end in itself as it is an important direction in which to
head, a precondition and a means for reorganising
international life on a more civilised basis in the direct
sense of the word and in accordance with the imperatives of
our century," Primakov and others wrote.

They asserted that the nuclear disarmament process,
though important in itself, keeps the world locked in the
`nuclear ideology` of mutual deterrence, a paradigm that has
largely outlived its usefulness and that no longer offers an
adequate basis for addressing new types of international
security threats, including on the creation of a common
missile defence shield.

"This will obviously help resolve other key problems
of the 21st century related to the global economy and finance,
energy supply, the environment and climate, demographics,
disease, transnational crime and religious and ethnic
extremism," the group of strategic thinkers said.

"Worse still, nuclear deterrence in many ways
encourages the proliferation of WMD and missile technologies
and hampers deeper cooperation among the leading powers in
taking action against such threats (as in joint development of
missile defence systems, for example)," the former Russian
policymakers wrote. They also slammed the prevalent notion in Russia that
nuclear weapons are necessary to retain its great power

"The great power status is attained by the
modernisation of economy and living standards of the
population and not nuclear weapons," the group underscored in
an apparent reference to Pakistan.

The group of authors, however, praised the new START
nuclear arms control treaty, inked by Russian President Dmitry
Medvedev and US President Barack Obama in Prague in April.

They also noted the Obama administration`s stated
intention to seek a multilateral approach to dealing with
matters of international security in equal cooperation with
Russia and called on Washington to apply this principle at a
practical level on a range of security issues.