Attempts to mitigate risk: Nuclear...
First efforts to contain and eliminate the nuclear threat began immediately after the atom bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. And these efforts have continued to this day. In principle, bilateral, multilateral and universal agreements can have two objectives:
One is disarmament, which is about the partial or total destruction of nuclear weapons and/or their delivery systems (missiles, aircraft, ships and submarines). Disarmament can limit or even eliminate the number of nuclear weapons that can potentially be used.
The other is arms control. With regard to nuclear weapons, arms control means managing the arms processes in ways that reduce the risks of a nuclear build-up, avert the danger of a nuclear war breaking out, and avoid unnecessary arms spending. It is a question of limiting, eliminating or banning certain categories of weapons and/or certain military activities (in certain areas, for instance) as well as preventing the nuclear weapon-relevant commodities from being passed on. In this respect, measures to improve transparency can contribute to building political trust between potential adversaries. Arms control can but does not have to involve the destruction of nuclear warheads and/or delivery systems. It can also lead nuclear powers to change course technologically, moving from older to newer systems. And it can aim at preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons.
Since 1945, arising peace movements and the international public have repeatedly urged governments to implement arms control and disarmament measures, particularly for nuclear weapons. One stumbling block was and still is the nuclear powers' belief that their security ultimately depends on the possession of nuclear weapons and the United States' insistence on maintaining its superiority in defence technology at all costs.