The Humanitarian Initiative is the next great hope of those committed to the abolition of nuclear weapons. The Initiative is a process sponsored by numerous states and NGOs pointing to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any potential use of nuclear weapons. It has spurred renewed calls for the legal abolition of nuclear weapons. This paper analyses the Humanitarian Initiative and the prospects it offers when dealing with the problem of nuclear weapons. The analysis is grounded in a classical realist perspective. Such perspective is particularly useful because the humanitarian approach attempts to address the political problem of nuclear weapons by recourse to claims about morality and through the means of international law. While this course of action is perhaps understandable, it is open to question whether, and if so, how, it takes into account the underlying power political realities created by the possession of nuclear weapons.

Speaker: Dr Jan Ruzicka (University of Aberystwyth)
Chair: Professor Nicholas J Wheeler (Director, ICCS)

Jan Ruzicka is Lecturer in Security Studies in the Department of International Politics at Aberystwyth University. He also serves as Director of the David Davies Memorial Institute. He has published widely on nonproliferaton, nuclear weapons, trust and international politics. Together with Campbell Craig he is writing a book on Unipolarity and the Politics of Nonproliferation (under contract with Cornell University Press). He leads the project ‘Alliances and Trust-building in International Politics’ supported by the British Academy.

Recorded: Wednesday 04 May 2016 (16:00 - 17:30)

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Download the transcript: The Next Great Hope – The Humanitarian Initiative and Nuclear Weapons (PDF 135KB)