The development of nuclear weapons has been a critical problem for the NATO alliance. In the Pacific, a region of increasing strategic interest for the United States and Soviet Union, nuclear weapons have been an environmental concern since the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Opposition to nuclear tests has now been taken a step further with the creation of a South pacific Nuclear Free Zone and the decision by a New Zealand Government to ban port visits by vessels believed to be carrying nuclear weapons. 'Bizarrely inappropriate' is how the colourful New Zealand Prime Minister, David Lange, described nuclear weapons in relation to his country's security needs. This attempt to disengage from nuclear deterrence, which provoked a crisis in the ANZUS alliance with Australia and the United States, has been followed closely by political parties and pressure groups in the Northern hemisphere. Some states, such as Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Japan and Spain, already have declaratory policies against nuclear visiting but merely assume that the declarations are honoured by the United States and United Kingdom.
New Zealand's proposal to back its policy with legislation had been seen by the Reagan and Thatcher administrations as a threat to the principle of 'neither confirm nor deny' the presence of nuclear weapons on vessels, and as a significant challenge to alliance cohesion. This study examines the questions of principle at issue, the evolution of the ANZUS crisis, its implications for the Western alliance structure as a whole, and the degree to which the 'nuclear-free' virus' in the South Pacific might be catching.
Series: Cambridge Studies in International Relations (Hardcover)
Number Of Pages: 304
Published: 29th September 1989
Publisher: CAMBRIDGE UNIV PR
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 23.67 x 16.08
Weight (kg): 0.59