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Garvey’s New Book Proposes Path to Nuclear Counterproliferation

May 12, 2013

In his new book, Nuclear Weapons Counterproliferation: A New Grand Bargain (Oxford University Press, 2013), USF School of Law Professor Jack Garvey proposes a new legal and institutional framework for the counterproliferation of nuclear weapons.

Garvey’s proposal is designed to remedy the widely acknowledged breakdown of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which he says can no longer be relied upon for global nuclear security. 

“Nuclear weapons security risk has become much more dire as the technology and material for nuclear weapons is increasingly accessible, including its availability to the most dangerous governments on earth and to terrorists,” said Garvey, who began working on the book three years ago by studying every stage of the production and risk of nuclear weapons, from securing the fissile material to detonation. “But I believe that the legal and institutional tools and political conditions are available, if properly orchestrated, for achieving profoundly greater nuclear security. My hope is that readers will take away this understanding and this conviction.”

Garvey has authored numerous articles on international law, appearing in the Yale Law Journal, the American Journal of International Law, and the Oxford Journal of Conflict and Security Law, among others. His article “Toward a Reformulation of International Refugee Law,” first published by the Harvard Journal of International Law, is being republished this spring in Human Rights and Refugee Law, a collection of the most influential English language works in the field as selected by Professor James Hathaway, director of the University of Michigan’s Program in Refugee and Asylum Law.

In his book, Garvey proposes a new counterproliferation architecture, to be built on available scientific, legal, and institutional resources, which could achieve a critical reduction of nuclear risk and an expanded deterrence. The principal mechanism for implementation would be a United Nations Security Council Counterproliferation Resolution applying equally for all states.

Harold Palmer Smith Jr., former assistant to the U.S. defense secretary, who supervised removal and security of the nuclear weapons of the former Soviet Union under the Nunn-Lugar Program, says Garvey’s book offers an important proposal. Smith is currently a professor at the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley.

“A new vision for the counterproliferation of nuclear weapons may be our most critical national security need,” Smith said in a review of the book. “In lucid prose, Professor Garvey substantiates why counterproliferation on its present course is failing. He then presents a new approach using an instrument at hand. He explains that the current evolution of Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, if seized to realize a new path, may offer the best—and perhaps the only—means to counter the spread of nuclear weapons. His New Grand Bargain should be studied with care.”