17/12/2014 This content is not up to date

Ulrich Kühn: Future of the CTBT hinges on ratification in the United States

Ulrich Kühn works at the Hamburg University's Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy and was an external advisor on nuclear arms control to the Division for Disarmament, Arms Control and Non-Proliferation at the Federal Foreign Office of Germany in Berlin. He is a co-founder of the IDEAS network for the establishment of a Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian security community and currently coordinates the project on Challenges to Deep Nuclear Cuts.

What did the conference Prague Agenda 2014 present to you?

It presented an opportunity to exchange views and information with the members of the arms control and non-proliferation community.

Could The Prague Agenda, as an international meeting of experts on global nuclear issues, be a useful way to work towards global nuclear disarmament?

It definitely could because, most importantly, it holds up the spirit of Obama's Prague speech and thus serves as a continuous reminder of the importance of the goal of eliminating nuclear weapons.

What do regional perspectives of nuclear disarmament represent to you?

I am particularly interested in discussing possible solutions with regard to establishing a nuclear-weapons-free zone in Europe.

What are the biggest global challenges and threats for contemporary society in your opinion?

Terrorism, the lack of democratic institutions, uncontrolled finance capitalism, social inequality, non-proliferation of WMD, hyper-nationalism, and poverty.

How can nuclear arms control and non-proliferation be intensified?

Through more money from private and state funders to support research and track 2 initiatives around the globe, and through more professional outreach (PR) activities.

How can nuclear weapons be reduced in your opinion?

Sorry, this question is too general for me to fully answer it; in short: it can be done through a phased approach involving all nuclear weapons states with legally binding limits on certain actors which have a direct nuclear deterrence relationship, and a sound international verification mechanism (incl. a functioning version of the FMCT and the CTBT).

What is the future of the CTBT (Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty) in light of what has been said at the Prague Agenda conference?

The future of the CTBT hinges very much on a possible second try for a successful ratification of it in the United States. This could be a game changer.

How do you see the situation regarding nuclear-free zone countries?

I am not very optimistic with regard to the NWFZs because the value of negative security guarantees has been strongly negatively affected by the Ukraine crisis (i.e. Budapest Memorandum). However, I would support civil society efforts aimed towards starting a discussion about a possible NWFZ in Europe in order to get rid of NATO’s tactical nuclear weapons.

What do you think about the cooperation between nuclear states and countries from nuclear-free zones?

As referred to under Pt. 9, the relationship depends very much on the ability to devise clear and sound negative security guarantees. So far, the NWS have not done enough to support the NWFZs.

About the author

Eliška Hrušovská has a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and European Studies as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Management of Leisure Time and Recreation – Recreology. She was a project intern during the Prague Agenda conference at the Institute of International Relations in Prague. She does volunteering even in her leisure time. She worked as a volunteer for organisations such as the Amnesty International, Forum 2000 Czech Republic or for the United Nations Information Centre Prague. Her academic research concerns global governance and leadership, interpersonal relations, global conflicts and international security, non-governmental organisations, and global civil society. She is currently working on her Master's thesis: Global civil society of the 21st century: challenges and threats (2015, MUP).