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A humanitarian approach to reshape the global nuclear order

For decades, nuclear weapons have been portrayed as essential to the security of the few states that possess them, and as a very ‘normal’ part of national and international security. These states have engaged in enormous programmes of acquisition and development, have disregarded the humanitarian implications of these weapons, and sought to persuade their publics that national security was dependent on the promise of killing hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of civilians. The term ‘nuclearism’ has been used to describe this era, and several elements of nuclearism are explored here to identify how these states have been able to sustain their possession of nuclear arsenals. By perpetuating a discourse of ‘security’ which avoided international humanitarian law, by limiting decisions on nuclear policy to small groups of elites, by investing vast amounts of resources in their nuclear programs, and by using the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to perpetuate their privileged status as nuclear states, despite their promises to disarm, the great powers have been able to sustain a highly unequal – and dangerous – global nuclear order. This order is now under challenge, as the Humanitarian Initiative explored the implications of nuclear weapons’ use. Its sobering findings led non-nuclear states, supported by civil society actors, to create the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, making these weapons illegal, for all states. The Humanitarian Initiative has posed a challenge to all the elements of nuclearism, and has resulted in a significant rejection of the existing nuclear order. The treaty will not result in quick disarmament, and it faces several hurdles. It is, however, a notable achievement, delegitimizing nuclear weapons, and contributing to the goal of a nuclear-free world.

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Death and security – the only two certainties
Charlotte Heath-Kelly

great abyss of mortality? Carol Cohn first noted the strange absence of death from IR when confronting the sanitised abstraction of nuclear discourse ( 1987 ), and since then, very few works have interrogated the role of death within politics. 3 Yet death is politically functional. We are governed through the rhetorical invocation of the spectacular catastrophic event of death: the terrorist attack, the enemy invasion

in Death and security
Ann Sherif

-nuclear movement’ in the United States with a membership of only about 25,000 at its peak in 1958.13 The distance between the Americans’ frames of reference and those of Japanese participants at the teach-ins is indicated by the numerous questions about the relationship between the civil rights movement and the anti-war movement, and about Americans’ awareness of Japanese protest movements. Historical contexts of nuclear discourse in Hiroshima and Nagasaki The Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings in August 1945 bound Japan to the Cold War in general and most specifically to

in Understanding the imaginary war
Tracy B. Strong

to him as ‘politically unstable … with certain conservative tendencies’ and sees in the appointment of Byrnes a ‘strengthening of the … most reactionary circles of the Democratic Party’. This telegram is in part a reaction to the Kennan telegram discussed below. 32 See in particular H.  Mehan, C.  E.  Nathanson and J.  M.  Skelly, ‘Nuclear discourse in the 1980s: The unravelling conventions of the Cold War’, Discourse and Society, 1:2 (1990), pp. 133–​65. 33 See J.  Neufeld, The Development of Ballistic Missiles in the United States Air Force, 1945

in American foreign policy
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German nuclear cinema in neoliberal times
Steffen Hantke

explore the gothic dimensions of nuclear discourse, I would like to begin with Gregor Schnitzler’s 2006 film Die Wolke . Although this is, at first glance, the least gothic of the three films in its depiction of a nuclear accident, a reading of the film in the context of its literary source material, Gudrun Pausewang’s novel of the same name for young adults, will

in Neoliberal Gothic
Constance Duncombe

-imperialist rhetoric that structures the discursive framework of both states’ nuclear discourse. 88 In both cases the US, the most powerful nuclear state, is represented as the Other. However, what distinguishes Iran from India is the continual threat by the US of military invasion or attack on Iran's nuclear infrastructure. Combined with the imposition of sanctions, it systematically increases Iran's level of fear of interference by the US and other states. As a result, there is a sense that institutions such as the IAEA are ‘a mere vehicle of the [nuclear-armed] antagonist Other

in Representation, recognition and respect in world politics