This project asks: What would a nuclear weapon-free world look like? And, by extension, feel like? Many have advocated a nuclear weapon-free world, but few have envisioned it as daily life. This project seeks to change the discourse on the establishment of zones free of nuclear (NWFZ) and other weapons of mass destruction (WMDFZ) by asking stakeholders to imagine a way of living unburdened by insecurity. We focus our energies on two existing policy proposals: the Northeast Asian NWFZ and the Middle East WMDFZ. A zone empty of nuclear (and other WMDs) could involve one district within one state or straddle across national boundaries. The visions could focus on a safer environment for education, technology, and/or investment, not to mention the latest advances in sustainable living. Wherever the locale and whatever the focus, our project’s query will stretch creative minds on what’s possible for the region rather than harp, as usual, on what’s not.
We take a multi-generational perspective. Achieving a nuclear-free world through the gradual spread of WMDFZs is not and cannot be a one-time policy declaration. Our re-imaginings must encompass generations across time and space. For this reason, we begin with ideal visions of what life could be like in a WMD-free world. The generation growing up in this environment will want to sustain it, ensuring the same for their children and so on. Ordinary citizens and residents in one area will thus join longstanding efforts to spread zones free of nuclear weapons and other WMDs until they cover the entire globe. You and I may not live to experience it. But at least we can begin it.
Our project aims also to learn from Others. This involves those typically silenced or marginalized by state-centric approaches. The lives of women, children, workers, immigrants, artists—those who take public transport to work every day—are affected as much as those of strategists and government elites. Yet rarely are the former heard as the latter dominate all the policies and strategies on this matter. We will also learn from historical precedents. That is, we will draw lessons from those parts of the world that have transformed successfully from a militaristic to non-militaristic culture (e.g., Japan) and where a nuclear-weapon-free zone already prevails (i.e., Latin America, the Pacific Ocean, Southeast Asia).