New nuclear arms race looming, advisory council for Dutch gov't warns

Nuclear explosion
Nuclear explosionPhoto: egal/DepositPhotos

The number of new nuclear weapons being developed and distributed and the increased tensions between states that own nuclear weapons pose a major risk to international security, according to the Dutch government's advisory council on international affairs AIV. As the nuclear weapon countries are taking no action themselves to address the threatening situation the Netherlands should raise the issue with the United Nations, the AIV advised, NOS reports.

According to the AIV, a committee must be formed to work on new arms control plans, because those from the past century are no longer sufficient. Complicated communications also creates a greater risk of unintentional escalation, the council said. "The attention for controversial weapons has been neglected and the situation with nuclear weapons is becoming more dangerous", AIV chairman Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said, according to NOS. "Countries must get up out of their beach chairs."

Currently the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, Israel, Pakistan, India and North Korea all have a nuclear destruction arsenal. According to the AIV, these countries are all working on modernizing their weapons and are more concerned with "deterrence" than with taking the initiative to control and reduce nuclear arsenals.

The situation is further complicated by the fact that president Donald Trump cast doubt on America's role in NATO and in the protection of territory in Europe, and by the Americans threatening to cancel the treaty on medium-long range missiles over the weekend. The Netherlands must urge NATO to enter into dialogue with Russia and China, the AIV advised. The Council believes that everything possible must be done to prevent a nuclear weapon ever being used again.

In 2017 a total of 122 countries voted for a nuclear weapons ban in the UN. But as no nuclear weapon countries participated in this vote, the treaty is mostly symbolic.