The Daily Telegraph today publishes key extracts from a speech that Sir Malcolm Rifkind has given on his hope for a "Global Zero"; a nuclear free world.
Although the former Foreign Secretary says that total elimination would be "extremely difficult" he says that the pursuit of the task would be very good for the world:
I have sympathy with Sir Malcolm's point that a reduction in nuclear weaponry would reduce the possibility of terrorists getting their hands on fissile material but not with his implications for the nuclear ambitions of Iran and North Korea. As I have written before, Tehran and Pyongyang actually have an added incentive to acquire a nuclear weapon if other world powers disarm. The reason can actually be found within Sir Malcolm's speech:
The difficulty of verification means and the ease with which nuclear weapons could be 're-acquired' by hostile powers means that all talk of complete disarmament is unhelpful. As Margaret Thatcher said in 2000, nuclear weapons cannot be disinvented. Leading Tory politicians would be better advised to support American investment in missile defence systems. The Obama administration has sent out conflicting signals on its commitment to continue President Bush's deployment efforts.