Experts Say

Utilizing Article XIV Conferences to Boost the Two Norms that Matter Most

Arms Control Now
January 4, 2018
By Michael Krepon

Testing nuclear weapons and using them in warfare are linked: testing demonstrates resolve and confirms the military effectiveness of battlefield use. Conversely, the norms of not testing and not using nuclear weapons as instruments of warfare are also linked. Realistic testing is an essential and normal aspect of the weapons’ development process. By refraining from underground and atmospheric testing of nuclear devices to confirm their war-fighting effects, states inferentially acknowledge that the use of these weapons on battlefields is not normal. Whether nuclear armed states have affirmed No First Use pledges or not, they recognize that nuclear weapons are to be used only in extremis.
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