Are Nuclear Weapons Required to Enforce Nuclear Disarmament?

Maybe this should be filed under the category of Watch Out What You Wish For. But in the event, however utopian-sounding, that Global Zero is achieved and every state in possession of nuclear weapons agrees to destroy them, how would it be enforced? The Global Zero movement’s own step-by-step plan drawn up in February 2010 refers only to an “agreed upon mechanism for resolving compliance disputes and, in the case of violations, enforcing compliance.”

In his disturbing new book How the End Begins: The Road to a Nuclear World War III (Simon & Schuster), which we’ve been citing in a series of posts, Ron Rosenbaum asks:

. . . wouldn’t the inspection regime require explosive weapons powerful enough to blow open sealed underground bunkers where prohibited nuclear mischief might be going on?

Answering his own question, he writes:

In fact, the inspection regime would somehow have to be the most powerful political entity on earth, perhaps relying on a monopoly of nuclear weapons itself, and thus deterrence, and we’re back where we started.

In other words, Global Zero could provide us with the worst of both worlds: for conservatives, world government (new world order!). For Global Zero supporters: disarmament turned inside out, becoming instead a means by which the existence of nuclear weapons in perpetuity is guaranteed.