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Three Minutes to Midnight: is the World Sleepwalking Into a Nuclear Disaster?

  • Campbell Conference Facility 1 Devonshire Place Toronto, ON (map)

Date: Thursday, March 19 2015
Time: 12:00PM-2:00PM
Location: The Vivian and David Campbell Conference Facility, Munk School of Global Affairs, 1 Devonshire Place

Title: Three Minutes to Midnight: is the World Sleepwalking Into a Nuclear Disaster?

Five years ago hopes were high that the world was at last seriously headed towards nuclear disarmament. By the end of 2012, however, as reported in the inaugural State of Play report, much of this sense of optimism had evaporated. By the end of 2014, the fading optimism had given way to pessimism. New START was signed and ratified, but the treaty left stockpiles intact and disagreements about missile defence and conventional-arms imbalances unresolved. Nuclear weapons numbers have decreased overall but increased in Asia; nuclear-weapons programs in India, Pakistan and China have accelerated; North Korea has conducted three nuclear tests and the CTBT is yet to enter into force; and fissile material production is not yet banned. A comprehensive agreement on Iran eluded negotiators by the extended deadline of 24 November 2014 and the push for talks on a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East has stalled. Cyber-threats to nuclear weapons systems have intensified, outer space remains at risk of nuclearization, and the upsurge of geopolitical tensions over the crisis in Ukraine produced flawed conclusions about the folly of giving up nuclear weapons on the one hand, and open reminders about Russia’s substantial nuclear arsenal, on the other. Against this sombre backdrop, Nuclear Weapons: The State of Play 2015 by Gareth Evans, Tanya Ogilvie-White and Ramesh Thakur, provides an authoritative advocacy tool for governments, organizations and individuals committed to achieving a safer and saner nuclear-weapon-free world in the lead-up to the Ninth NPT Review Conference in New York in April–May 2015

Speaker: Ramesh Thakur, a former United Nations Assistant Secretary-General and ICISS Commissioner and co-author of The Responsibility to Protect doctrine (2001), is Director of the Centre for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament, Australian National University. In this talk he presents the main findings of the above study and also draws on his new book Nuclear Weapons and International Security: Collected Essays (Routledge, 2015).

The Bill Graham Centre for Contemporary International History is a collaborative academic enterprise between Trinity College and the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto.