RELEASE EMBARGO DATE: April 22, 2014 at 9:00 AM
“Things fall apart; the center cannot hold; . . .
The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.”
“The motivations not to undertake programs are clearly strong. They include the high cost of weapons (and especially of sophisticated delivery systems), lack of clear military need, legal restrictions, concern for international repercussions, moral pressures, lack of effective independence in the case of the satellites to undertake a program, and the hope that diffusion will be halted.”
- – It entered into force in 1970 and was extended indefinitely a quarter century later.
- – The Treaty, and the norms which support it, are widely accepted—surpassed only by the United Nations Charter in adherents—and now numbering 190.
- – As a result, across many regions and even whole continents, there is effectively zero risk of proliferation.
- – The number of states with nuclear weapons is the same today as it was 25 years ago—with South Africa renouncing its program and North Korea finally confessing its covert effort.
- – Indeed, it has proven possible to reverse the spread of nuclear weapons, in the cases of South Africa, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine.
- – With Syria beset by civil war, it is now limited to North Korea, which has tested nuclear weapons, and Iran, which has tested the international community.
- – Although both countries pose serious threats to international peace and security, they are essentially alone.
- – In short, diplomats sometimes bluff.
- – To the extent that President Obama’s vision of a world without nuclear weapons calls into question the credibility of U.S. security guarantees, it will undermine the his policies designed to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons.
- – In Belarus, U.S. criticism of the government’s human rights practices caused Minsk to scupper a deal to give up its highly enriched uranium. Human rights are a fundamental American interest, but could we have held off our criticism until after the fissile material was removed?
- – Similarly, in the interest of nonproliferation, Ukraine is owed a better response in defense of the Budapest Memorandum than Europe, the United States, and Northeast Asia have yet mustered.
- – The true tests of a deal on the Iranian nuclear program relate to Tehran’s willingness to come clean on what the International Atomic Energy Agency calls the “possible military dimensions” of its nuclear program, and to abandon covert nuclear technology procurement. Anything less, would be cosmetic.
The views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the views of the Asan Institute for Policy Studies.