Argument: States that have abandoned nuclear weapons have remained safe

Issue Report: Abolition of nuclear weapons


Three former Soviet republics, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine, became nuclear weapons free states by voluntarily transferring their nuclear warheads to Russia after the breakup of the Soviet Union. South Africa actually developed a small nuclear arsenal clandestinely, and then dismantled it. Argentina and Brazil have also eliminated their nuclear weapons programs even though they achieved initial success in these programs.
On June 4, 1996, the U.S. Secretary of Defense met with the defense ministers of Russia and Ukraine to celebrate Ukraine’s change in status from the world’s third largest nuclear weapons state to a nuclear weapon free state. On the occasion, these defense leaders planted sunflowers and scattered sunflower seeds on a former Ukrainian missile base that once housed eighty SS-19 missiles aimed at the United States. U.S. Secretary of Defense William Perry said, ‘Sunflowers instead of missiles in the soil would insure peace for future generations.'”