Posts Tagged ‘nuclear weapons’

Perhaps it is time for a review and update of Canada’s role in nuclear weapons elimination.  It may be time to have a debate of such as:

A Canadian Declaration on the Control, Verification and Eventual Elimination of Nuclear weapons

Preamble.   The IPNDV consultation represents an opportunity for Canada to continue to deliver its government mandated “pivot to peace operations’ in regards to international peace and stability, specifically in the area of nuclear weapons control.

However, getting rid of all nuclear weapons does not un-invent the technology or the knowledge for reconstitution of a nuclear threat. Certainly getting rid of existing nuclear weapons is a necessary step but may be impractical in the near term. An overriding need is a new global ethic regarding nuclear weapons to deal with this reality.

This ethic must certainly deal with the treaties, prohibitions, control and verification regimes, safeguards and global pressure, but in parallel, we have to deal with the nature of conflict, the evolution of national and global identities, the responsible use of power, and the mimetic structures that pass on cultures and values of hate, violence, or conflict from generation to generation. Structures that often fuelled by poverty, corruption or extremist politics. We must transcend our identities, live beyond national interest, beyond differences, to the level of global citizen, to that of human being. We are one family.   We must change the language of conflict from “war and enemies and anger”, to a language of “peacemaking, humanitarian operations, reconciliation, of stopping violence and relieving suffering”.

We need to acknowledge the truth that under no interpretations of the laws of armed conflict is the use of nuclear weapons either legal or acceptable in any way.

We also need to consider a new global ethic regarding responses to conflict in the global community to reduce, such as the usage risk of nuclear weapons. We need to codify and consolidate a body of law and convention obligating robust peace operations as a precursor to military intervention, and make military intervention a truly last resort. We need to fund and resource such a capacity.

Whereas, we believe that nuclear weapons are unusable within the laws of armed conflict.

Whereas, we believe that the eventual elimination of nuclear weapons defines the best of human existence for all mankind.

Whereas, in the interim, we believe in the strongest verification regime possible for all nuclear weapons states.

It is therefore recommended that Canada formally adopts a principle of non indifference regarding nuclear weapons. Canada cannot remain indifferent to the threat that nuclear weapons represents to mankind.   Canada should not refuse to do what Canada can do.

  • Canada support and seek leadership of UN forums working towards the verification and eventual elimination of nuclear weapons.
  • Canada lead a “renewal initiative” for nuclear weapons treaty verification, adherence and enforcement strengthening to all existing treaties and conventions regarding nuclear weapons, such as involving the NPT.
  • Canada leads a “renewal initiative” involving the development of relational meta environment approaches to address state security needs for nuclear weapons and to build integrity for the primacy of peaceful human values and global human security.
  • Canada create institutions capable of peace operations what can support field verification operations, ideally within a department of peace.
  • Canada lead an initiative to codify “laws for peace operations” in pre, during and post conflict phases, as a strict precursor to invoking “laws of armed conflict” and military intervention.
  • Canada may also consider mandating DND to develop training and expertise, and create deployable units to support verification requirements.
  • Canada consider declaring itself a nuclear weapons free zone.
  • Canada endorse and recognize cities joining Mayors for Peace (Mayors for Peace is a network of over 5500 cities.  The organization was founded in 1991 by the then Mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It calls upon cities to stand together for nuclear abolition and world peace. The leadership provided by the Cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is an important reminder that these are not abstract threats, but a matter of life and death for cities.)



Paul Maillet  Colonel retired


Dear Honorable Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs;

I am very disappointed with Canada’s NO vote to the report of United Nations Open Ended Working Group to find a path for the elimination of nuclear weapons. The fact and arguments for the elimination of this cancer on the planet are well known, but surprising is the Liberal government setting aside its new commitment to peace on this issue. Also surprising is that we are not exercising leadership here. Fixing our support to peacekeeping is one thing, but people dying somewhere in a nuclear holocaust is another, and our position here is not helpful.

I am very disappointed at the lack of consistency here. You are eroding the trust and high hopes we had for change. Regaining our reputation for peace and presence in the global community does not begin with Canada’s NO to finding a path to the elimination of nuclear weapons.     The journey to a safer and more peaceful world is hard enough, and harder without Canada’s support and leadership. We can do so much good with a little courage and political will.

Trust once broken is almost impossible to regain, and nothing good politically can come from obstructing what is clearly in our best interests. The previous government did enough international obstructing and selfishness to last us all a lifetime.  Please no more.   I implore you to do the right thing. This is what the clear majority of Canadians and the global community expect. Little by little this will define or redefine Canadians as who we are, and what we hold to be the best of human existence.

Good luck to us all.

Paul Maillet

Colonel retired

Former Director of Defence Ethics

I read an article on the Iran nuclear issue,  summarizing a webinar” held recently.   It was sponsored by a group interested in “driving significant change towards a non-violent and non-nuclear Iran”.  The panel included a US Ambassador and  former US Undersecretary of State for Arms Control &International Security a, Professor and former White House National Security Council senior staffer; all of which painted a dismal picture of the negotiations .

As a former military officer and accredited Peace Professional (Civilian Peace Services Canada)   I feel that the approaches to  negotiations were designed to make success as difficult as possible, if not very remote, and outcomes will be a source of further political conflict in the US.

I noted speakers expressing firm fixed views and in a classic example of misusing the practices of non violent communication language  (NVC Rosenberg) .   This involved “threats, accusations, blame” and ascribing apocalyptic, fear based outcomes as fact.    I detected the western predisposition to seeking a transactional outcome, without first achieving a relational partnership or any degree of sympathetic or shared  understanding between involved parties.

The Mideast is a hotbed of human rights abuses and war crimes violations, some from friends and allies.  The Mideast is not a nuclear weapons free zone.  We already have bad state actors with nuclear weapons, such as Korea,  and endured a long cold war under the threat of such weapons.  It is a fact that nuclear weapons are within the reach of any country with sufficient wealth and technology.  Right or wrong, it is not against international law to acquire or have nuclear weapons.  Right or wrong, we live in a world where states with sufficient power assert their will; and reserve the right to challenge any such ambitions, and to decide who they want to have political, social and economic relationships.

It would appear that a deal still allows the possibility of such weapons in a longer term, but no deal allows the possibility of weapons in the shorter term.  We know the cost of a strike or invasion in the mid east in this case could trigger a wider regional war with many 100,000s of lives being lost.  This would pale in comparison with the tragedies currently being experienced in the region.

I feel that there is no such thing as a bad deal in this case.  There is only a deal.  A deal that could open to possibilities of a non violent and relational partnership that in the longer term may have hope, or a deal that leads to disaster.  Words on paper are only words.  You cannot drink the word water.  Only behaviours will define the true nature of the relationship beneath the deal.

In my view, to ascribe hard goals and demands is to go down a road to failure.  Nothing in any deal will be perfect.  Whereas, to go down a road that is “response based” and relational, rather than “expectation based”, is to succeed every day that violence is held at bay.

Iran will do what Iran will do.  Nuclear weapons?  Maybe yes, or maybe no?  The question is:  Where is the debate about Plan B, the situation in which Iran acquires nuclear weapons?  How will we then live in peace with such a state?  Somehow this has to be about peace and not confrontation.

In peace.

Paul Maillet

Colonel (retired)