The literal, political, and moral abomination of nuclear weapons are made abundantly clear by a former UN weapons inspector in Iraq—and a longtime fixture on the nuclear-disarmament scene, who suggests actions that would move us toward their eradication.
Ruefully shaking his head, Butler (The Greatest Threat, 2000) reminds readers that nuclear weapons haven’t gone anywhere. Sabers may not be rattled as often as during the Cold War, he states, but make no mistake: implements of mass destruction are still aimed at Washington and Moscow, Los Angeles and Novosibirsk, and all points in between. Butler has been engaged for the past two decades in trying to bring about the elimination of such weapons. He has been on the front lines as the nuclear powers have engaged in a “circus” of arms control, talking the talk, but walking nowhere significant. Forget about disarmament, he advises; we are back to dealing with proliferation once more. Compliance, timetables, and all the fine print are side issues, writes Butler: “The problem of nuclear weapons is nuclear weapons”; they should be deemed unacceptable dangers and banished. To this end, he suggests the US start the ball rolling by issuing a statement of intent to disarm, signing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, ending the production of weapons-grade fissionable material, complying with the spirit and letter of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and working briskly with Russia to decommission missiles before they go on the open market. Butler is an informed guide to the disingenuous world of arms talks, a voice of reason in that wilderness of doublespeak and obfuscation.
A valuable and clearheaded primer.