Global Zero at the Luxembourg Forum
Global Zero Team | January 30, 2020
On December 4-5, 2019, Global Zero team members traveled to Geneva, Switzerland to take part in the Supervisory Board Meeting of the Luxembourg Forum on Preventing Nuclear Catastrophe. Global Zero Co-founder Bruce Blair is a member of the Supervisory Board, and Program Associate Emma Claire Foley is a member of the Forum’s newly-established New Voices, a group of some of the most promising early- and mid-career professionals in the field invited to learn from and contribute to the Forum’s work.
The two-day meeting began with an opening statement by the Forum’s founder and president, Viacheslav Kantor. This was followed by discussions led by Kantor and centered on the growing danger of the collapse of nuclear restraint and the return to the unbridled nuclear competition of the early Cold War — a regression made all the more real by the recent demise of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty that ended a U.S.-Soviet nuclear confrontation in Europe during the 1980s. Board members agreed the myriad risks that would accompany a return to such confrontation regionally and globally must be rectified urgently through intensified dialogue, arms control, and crisis management. We are counting upon a new generation of leaders, represented at the conference by the New Voices program, to help pull us out of the quicksand we find ourselves in.
In a statement, the supervisory board issued an urgent call for the United States and Russia to set aside other disputes for the sake of preserving the New START agreement — a bilateral treaty critical to U.S. and Russian mutual security, which is set to expire in February 2021 unless the presidents of the two countries agree to extend it by up to five years. The U.S., Russian, and European members, whose collective experience in international security runs very deep, were unanimous in emphasizing the priority of New START extension in order to avert a new nuclear arms race, reduce the risk that current tense U.S.-Russian relations escalate into a full-fledged nuclear crisis, and live up to commitments under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to pursue nuclear arms reductions.
The New Voices program followed suit, drafting and approving their own statement during a session chaired by Foley. It included a call for global No First Use and for taking the world’s nuclear weapons off of launch-on-warning status, as well as a strong affirmation of the obligation of all parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to pursue total nuclear disarmament.