NATO’s opposition to the treaty banning nuclear weapons: Or why the Netherlands attempted to plug the nuclear deterrence dyke by voting against the treaty

By Ian Davis, NATO Watch

On the 7 July 2017, more than 70 years after the dropping of the atomic bombs on Japan, a global treaty to ban nuclear weapons was adopted at the United Nations headquarters in New York. It is hoped that the 10-page treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons will also provide a framework leading to their eventual elimination. The treaty was endorsed by 122 countries and will be open for signature by any UN member state on 20 September during the annual UN General Assembly.

However, countries that possess nuclear weapons and many others that either keep the possibility of their use in security strategies or doctrines or host weapons on their soil, with one exception, boycotted the negotiations. The one exception was the Netherlands, which despite having US nuclear weapons on its territory, did take part in the negotiations—the only NATO member state to do so.

The Netherlands has a long and distinguished history as a leading progressive force in promoting the rule of law, disarmament, the peaceful settlement of disputes and sustainable development. It is the capital of the international justice system, hosting the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court and its special tribunal. So how did the Netherlands end up being on the wrong side of history at the recent nuclear weapons ban treaty negotiations and the only country present to vote against it?

Read the attached pdf briefing to find out more.


President Trump says NATO is no longer obsolete. And given the need for reliable and independent facts, nor is NATO Watch. Thanks to a grant from Polden Puckham, NATO Watch has been relaunched with a new website and regular updates.

Please come and visit the new website: