From the March 2009 edition of Arms Control Today
April 8, 2009
by Christopher Ford
The Obama administration has stated its intention to conclude a treaty cutting off production of fissile material, highly enriched uranium (HEU) and plutonium, for nuclear weapons. So did the administrations of George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Although a fissile material cutoff treaty (FMCT) has been a key objective of the UN Conference on Disarmament (CD) for many years, that organization seems unable to break out of its now customary paralysis. This experience should encourage the Obama administration, if indeed it wants such a treaty, to look to another forum for realization. More importantly, it may be vital for the new U.S. administration to take a different approach because pursuit of an FMCT as currently contemplated at the CD might well have the ironic and presumably unintended consequence of gravely undermining the nuclear nonproliferation regime. Fortunately, such a new approach may well be available.
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Christopher A. Ford was formerly Senior Fellow and Director of the Center for Technology and Global Security at Hudson Institute.
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