How Can the International Community Strengthen the Nuclear Nonproliferation Regime?

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
September 5, 2009
International Atomic Energy Agency Board Meeting

Recent developments underline the gravity of the nonproliferation challenge today. Earlier this year, President Obama called on all nations to come together to strengthen the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), which remains the cornerstone of the global nuclear nonproliferation regime.

The President said, “The basic bargain (of the NPT) is sound: countries with nuclear weapons will move towards disarmament, countries without nuclear weapons will not acquire them, and all countries can access peaceful nuclear energy."How can the international community strengthen the nuclear nonproliferation regime?

Comments

Comments

Jack
|
New Hampshire, USA
September 5, 2009

Jack in New Hampshire writes:

It's a good question. We first need to ensure that the tenants of the NPT are applied equally. At present, we don't have have this. Israel possesses nuclear weapons capabilities, but the United States and other Western allies turn a blind eye to this. How can we ask rogue states like North Korea and state-sponsors of terrorism like Iran to abide by international regulatory standards, when we ignore others who possess nuclear weapons? While you can certainly make the argument that Israel is a country that has proven itself a responsible possessor of nuclear technology, we still need a uniform application of the NPT.

Joost
|
Netherlands
September 5, 2009

Joost in the Netherlands writes:

By investing more in healthcare and less in war. By imprisoning weapons manufactors. By reducing poverty in the world. By investing in sustainability. By education and work for all the people in stead of just the bold and the beautiful.

Murray
|
New York, USA
September 5, 2009

Murray in New York writes:

NPT is impossible. To end the fear of a war with Nuclear weapons let every country get at least two nuclear bombs and hope the most insane leader will not drop one.

T.J
|
United Kingdom
September 5, 2009

T.J. in the United Kingdom writes:

The threat is directed from the rogue Regimes -- no need to name them.

The International community must pull together by imposing total Economic sanctions and as an option "Regime change" by any possible means.

There has to be deadlines and timetables otherwise, we will see a time when 9/11 incidents will become the norm and stakes much higher to deal will.

TIME is NOW or else we will pay a heavy price of our inaction.

Edite
|
Canada
September 6, 2009

Edite in Canada writes:

This same question has been mulled over and over for years and not achieved any real significant solution to the existence of nuclear weapons by the have States, the have not States and the want to have States. As long as mentally balanced Presidents and their cohorts are not trigger happy there is not much chance of a nuclear war being initiated by the world's power nations, ie: America, Russia, Israel.

As for rogue nations who have nutbars as Presidents, that is a totally different scenario. Quid pro quos do not last long and can be easily abolished by either party.Nations who make dirty deals vis a vis sales of (nuclear) weaponry with rogue nations behind the backs of the rest of the world can not be counted on either.There is a copious amount of wishful thinking going on and a lot of energy is being expended looking for the proverbial utopia which does not exist and if history does truly repeat itself as most believe, there never will be one.

One can be sure that greater minds than this writer's will have innumerable ideas to try to convince various nations that it would be within their best interests to obey Security Council resolutions and produce the perfect world without nuclear weaponry. Once a genie is let out of the bottle it is very difficult to put back.President Obama's statement at one point in one of his copious speeches indicated that nations(mostly including the U.S.) must pay their dues to the UN. Why would the U.S. want to pay anything to a predominately communist oriented institution which siphons money to rogue leaders and dictators.There have been many times when one can claim that the glass is half-full. Not any more.

Off-topic...... with Obama's predilection for ignoring Central and Eastern European countries by neglecting and discounting the very need for missile defense and radar tracking in Poland and the Czech Republic, he is no better than FDR who literally sold Eastern Europe into slavery and brutality for over 50 years. What is he trying to be, FDR's re-incarnation? He should be shamed for initiating such a brutal concept when he knows quite well what Russia did to Georgia last August and Russia's incurable penchant for imperialistic tendencies and procuring land and countries they claim to be theirs, which is disgusting and diabolically evil. Does Obama even care that Russia will hold Europe hostage over oil this winter? Where is his head and that of his wishy washy advisors? One cannot depend on Obama to protect and defend the USA , let alone any country he does not hold dear to his heart like Ghana, Indonesia, Iran and a whole host of Muslim States. He wants to be their friend while he stabs the rest of the world in the back, including the country he professes to care deeply about, the USA, but is doing everything wrong and very quickly at that. He is drowning America into further debt from which this great nation will not recover, imagine selling a "Lada" type car for cash (which will fall apart soon) and asking Americans to rid themselves of fully functioning cars that are just being added to pile heap of junk.

Middle America, wake up and smell the coffee. You've been had but didn't want to acknowlege it.

As for the State Department, please get real about this world. Textbook theory rarely works. Unless you have jumped onto Obama's bandwagon, please open your eyes......really.....really ... wide. One had the misfortune of listening to a "briefing" from a State Department staffer, a youngish girl who sounded absolutely robotic, did not engage with her audience to any degree whatsoever, and even her answers to questions were canned and she had been trained to use the avoidance technique to a T and used it well. What an extremely sad state of affairs.

Above all else, there has to be trust in government. Without that, everyone may as well stay home in bed.

Brian C.
|
Canada
September 6, 2009

Brian C. in Canada writes:

Dear Colleagues,

This Question is Trciky, but I'll give 3 points that might help.

1) Make newly acquisitioned nuclear weapons a finable offense of the said country, and individuals assiting such efforts...100-350 BILLION USD...Enforced ny World Banks, U.S. & Euro Nabks and Switerland...Anyone directly and indirectly associated must poay said fines.

2) Thur the hage make said Offenses of the World community a jailable Offense with Renditions as an Option for any said violator.

3) Pray that the Lord assists you and yours in defense of any Evil Doers Actions, forevermore...If they are such...The Lord knows everyone hearts and intentions...Ask for Divine Revelations for President Obama and his successors to thwart any Evil Doers globally in these regards- Indeed AMEN,

Dr. Cole
Team Cole for 2016

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
September 6, 2009

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ T.J in UK,

Welcome back to the blog.

Indeed, I do not believe we should "wait for it" to manifest via a city being incinerated by terrorists.

If the situation be "unacceptable" , then folks should start acting like it and try something that actually works to prevent it.

And if folks are unwilling to bring the hammer down on ethical infants and remove them from power, then we must accept that the inevitable is acceptable to cowards too afraid to protect civilization.

The choice is clear for all to see, if those entrusted with the future of mankind can face reality for once.

I'm not saying the choice will be easy to make, but it is neccessary to make it.

It is already very late in the day to be doing so.

Rosemary
|
New Jersey, USA
September 6, 2009

Rosemary in New Jersey writes:

We're doing the right thing -- isolate them internationally, and at the same time encourage the rogue states to come to the table. Only treaties will help, but we have to force their hands with isolation,

Peter
|
Texas, USA
September 6, 2009

Peter in Texas writes:

As a member of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, and as one who has visited Hiroshima Japan, I applaud this question! The nuclear nonproliferation regime can, and should, be strengthened by the adoption of a tough, new international treaty which imposes harsh penalties on those who don't live up to their obligations under the existing Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
September 7, 2009

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ Rosemary in New Jersey,

Let's look at facts here. "Containment" has failed, "isolation" has failed, "Sanctions" have failed, and negotiation and diplomatic incentive have failed to bring rouge regimes back to the table.

They have made their choice, it is time for folks that are pledged to "protect populations" to start doing so either by the credible threat of the use of force as a last ditch diplomatic effort, or the actual kinetic removal from power of those who threaten global peace and security.

Let us not forget that civilization itself is at risk from extremism combined with the proliferaton of WMD. We (the global village) are at war with terrorism and we better find the resolve to win it.

Those who sponsor terror, aid and abet, willing to sell WMD's to the highest bidder, have no moral, ethical, or legal right to remain in charge of their nations, while they put their own populations at risk as well as the rest of the world's.

The only way the human race will get over the concept of "Us and Them" generating a dysfunctional mistrust that has allowed the building of whole industries devoted to killing everyone off, turning the planet into something that resembles Mars in a few hours time, and fuels preacher's proseletizing of "end times" phrophesies and conspiracies (some actively seeking to create the conditions of apocalypse); Will be when the human race finds life on another planet and we all "get a grip" when we realize there's another "Them" out there, or we have a really tragic event that changes everything, for all of us.

That tragic event will be the inevitable result of the choice of inaction born of cowardice.

Folks have done all the right things so far to try and resolve ethical infants behavior, and have utterly failed to change the dynamics, or halt the activities.

It's hard to undue an education. We don't like change when a mindset has become comfortable. We don't like or want war, and the rouge regimes of Iran and North Korea have counted on that in order to further their programs of mass destruction.

We can no longer remain comfortably numb to the insanity we as nations and peoples have grown accustomed to.

The status quo is not acceptable to anyone who seeks peace, and in order to safeguard humanity's future, we may have to go to war to ensure that future generations have a chance to grow up in peace.

What I've said here may present a paradox to some, but the world is filled with paradoxical dysfunctionality as a facet of the duality of the human conditon, including the concept that WMDs buys a nation's security.

Now, is it wise to continue to do what hasn't been working, or take the steps now that will solve the problem before it's too late?

I say let us not be afraid to win this war unconditionally.

Zharkov
|
United States
September 7, 2009

Zharkov in U.S.A. writes:

Common sense suggests that it is far, far too late to stop the transfer of nuclear weapons technology.

If you don't think so, consider the large number of nations today which either have, or are already capable of building, nuclear weapons -- North Korea, Iran, Pakistan, China, France, Britain, Russia, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and nearly everyone else who has a nuclear reactor and some idea of how to build a bomb.

Is there any nation than could not buy a nuclear reactor from some other nation?

We lost the opportunity to prevent nuclear proliferation when we approved nuclear reactor sales to countries around the world, including Iran and North Korea. We lost our national security a long time ago, when the USSR obtained our bomb plans, and again when China obtained missile guidance technology with State Department approval.

One could argue that the best way to strengthen a nuclear nonproliferation regime would be to abolish the State Department and allow a committee of janitors to decide whether to issue licenses to export nuclear technology.

The real issue today is how to prevent the use of atomic weapons against other nations. The U.N. was created to prevent war. The U.N. has failed in that task. Whatever else it is good for, it is useless and defective for it's intended purpose.

If a U.S. manufacturer had built the U.N., it would be sued out of business for the huge number of deaths it had caused by its negligence in preventing war. The continued survival of the U.N. is due solely to "mission creep", not because it was so effective.

Why should the U.N. be trusted with nuclear profliferation issues when it is so obviously worthless for its intended purpose?

What we need now is a global treaty in which nations agree to no nuclear first strike against any other nation.

The penalty for violating the treaty by first use of atomic weapons could be the execution of every government official authorizing the nuclear first strike rather than commencing a wide-spread atomic war. Making a nuclear first-strike into a war crime is one way to show other nations that we are serious.

The idea of going to war merely because we suspect another nation might be trying to build a bomb is incredibly stupid when there are so many alternatives available to prohibit a nuclear first strike.

T.J
|
United Kingdom
September 7, 2009

T.J. in the United Kingdom writes:

#- Eric,

I have known an Iraqi political refugee in the UK since a year before the fall of Saddam Hossein. He is a Shiite Moslem and this sect together with the Kurds suffered the most during the reign of terror of Saddam.

His conversations with me are always about the news from back home -- Iraq -- and the constant medelling of the Iranian regime in the Iraqi affairs. According to his sources a quiet and prosperous Iraq is not in the interest of the Mullah's regime next door. He believes, should Iraq becomes stable, then the "attention" will turn onto the Mullahs conduct.

I guess we all noticed that after the June Presidential "Selection" in Iran and we can see how so few can hold hostage so many. Now enter the WMDs and it becomes even more complicated.

Can this regime be trusted? I do not believe that.

Even most Europeans who were happy trading and legitimising the Mullahs regime have had a rude awakening. But time will tell who is wearing the pants and is wearing the skirt.

The clock is ticking FAST.

Ron
|
New York, USA
September 8, 2009

Ron in New York writes:

Walk the Halls:

The IAEA HQ at Vienna is a perfect model of the International Community current status on the Nuclear Proliferation Regime. Walk the Halls and you get completely lost. A warren of circular spaces leading nowhere. Small, poorly lit cubicles; often empty, and libraries filled with arcane bulletins, dog-eared yellowed studies done in the 1950's on the affects of radiation...graphs, charts, statistical analyses.....Isn't it way passed time to get transparency and accountability on the global nuclear situation?

We have thousands of loose nukes and related dual-use materials all over the planet...rogue regimes in the illicit trade, stockpiles in the leading nations, and the U.S. at the top of the nuclear food chain (a negative role model if we really want change). For starters, how about taking out the three nuclear development sites in Iran? Let's get real and proactive about this issue.

Ron
|
New York, USA
September 8, 2009

Ron in New York writes:

Thanks for posting.....

It is refreshing to see the diversity of responsible opinions being posted on the Dipnote pages...

As for Nuclear Proliferation....U.S. has created Nuclear prowess as the coin-of-the-realm; and only U.S. can lead the world toward a change in this currency. How can we expect the world to turn toward peace, security and development, when the Nuclear Option remains the trump card in the economic and political deck?

Let's get real; and lets get moving...nuclear winter approaches; then what do we do about climate change?

Thanks for posting.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
September 8, 2009

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ T.J. in UK,

Personally I think the clock has run out, and the Iranian people rang the bell to notify the regime.

What does your friend think the Iraqi government should do about the meddling of Iran in their affairs?

Fair number of comments here to the effect that a "treaty" of some sort will represent a "silver bullet" and solve the problem of proliferation...

Unfortunately reality is that ethical infants treat them like "scraps of paper" to be tossed in the trash, along with international law, UN resolutions, and agreements reached via diplomatic efforts.

Which leaves the possibility of peaceful outcomes twisting in the wind.

A hammer, like any other tool is only as ethical as the one wielding it.

If the nail is to be driven home and set without bashing one's thumb, one must keep their eye on the head of the nail struck, not the hammer as it comes down upon it.

Thus are the lessons learned in the process of getting the job done properly.

Russell
|
District Of Columbia, USA
September 8, 2009

Russell in Washington, DC writes:

There would have to be a paradigm shift. It must shift from "having WMDs makes a country safe" to "the total elimination of all WMDs makes the world safe." That should be the international communities ideal goal because so long as any COUNTRY has nuclear weapons the WORLD will remain in danger.

Would that ever happen? Not in this lifetime...

joe
|
Tennessee, USA
September 9, 2009

Joe in Tennessee writes:

The delemia is actually premissed on: "Why is it OK your Country to have them and not us.?"

It is and unfortunite reality that what was started to end a war and save lives has resulted in the capacity for any one Nation to bring, perhaps, the entire world to an end.

The only answer is to eliminate them, there is no grey area when you are dealing with a finite end reality.

Perhaps if we went back to fighting with clubs, there would be less war and more International co-operation; but, we are too intelligent, moral and civil to consider such unrealistic methods of war.

Zharkov
|
United States
September 9, 2009

Zharkov in U.S.A. writes:

The essence of diplomacy is reaching an agreement about something. Leaders without ethics may still keep agreements that they see to be of personal benefit to them.

North Korea has kept its agreement to maintain a cease-fire with the South. The USSR kept its agreement to stay in the sector it was assigned in Berlin. Why? A violation would mean consequences that would have been severe.

Yes, treaties are broken, but that usually results when the penalty is relatively inconsequential. With a nuclear-armed world, the penalty for ordering a nuclear first strike can be made very consequential.

As long as there is a severe penalty for a nation's leaders who decide to commit the nuclear war crime of first strike, it is more likely that their nation and other treaty parties will keep their agreement.

Speaking of reality, the U.S. government has a serious, ongoing financial problem and a Congress that lacks even an elementary understanding of public finance. Diplomacy regarding the first use of nuclear weapons, rather than the inevitable spread of them, is more economical than invasion and more welcome.

Alex
|
Kansas, USA
September 9, 2009

Alex in Kansas writes:

First and foremost, the U.S. can not be naived and destroy their nuclear weapons. Despite the efforts of the global nuclear non-prolifiration, there are countries that if given an opportunity, would not hesitate in the employment of nuclear weapons against the U.S. The U.S. has the Constitutional responsibility of defending its citizens utilizing the most advance technologies available (Nuclear Weapons).
Remember, that recently China launched a satellite capable of destroying other satellites thus preventing other countries from missile guided capabilities, and communication interception. (The test was successful)

The U.S. must continue in every effort in implementing the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons without destroying our arsenals. The U.S. has demonstrated the ethical authority to refrain from employing these nuclear weapons. It is very undoubtful that other growing threat such as Iran and North Korea to mention some, would practice the same restrain.

Nuclear weapons in the Cold War symbolized a political tool or an instrument of war that gave a country the power of persuasion over another. However, is restricted to policies and the understanding of catastrophic results. Unfortunately, emerging threats do not follow any source of ethical restrain, have publically announced the intention of using a nuclear weapon if the opportunity was available, and some non-state organizations that based their goals on extremist ideologies would not follow any constraints.

What the U.S. must do not in addition to strongly pursuing non-prolifiration, is to develop means to defend itself from a nuclear attack in the form of interception devices (space war technology). However, the U.S. must conduct a re-assessment of the national interest including identifying the possibilities of the possible nuclear threat of emerging global and regional powers.

Ron
|
New York, USA
September 11, 2009

Ron in New York writes:

Themes for the new Regime....

No More Nukes...No More Nukes....new mantra?

Go Nukeless...a bumper sticker?

Nix the Nukes....a T-shirt?

Nuke-Off......wristband?

UN-Nuke It.....new beverage?

Don't forget the suitcase nukes....portable and devastating.

Mani
|
United States
September 11, 2009

Mani in U.S.A. writes:

Today, nuclear weapons are present in some of the world's most dangerous flashpoints: India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea. Beyond the nations listed above, there are at least 10 or 20 other nations that have the resources and technological capacity build a nuclear weapons program very quickly if they ever chose to do so (Brazil, South Africa, Japan, South Korea, Germany, Canada, etc.).

The question is not only about keeping nuclear weapons out of the hands of the "bad guys". Even well-intentioned powers may lack the command structure and technical capability to properly secure and control their own nuclear weapons.

I believe that the 20th century regime of non-proliferation (i.e. the nuclear "haves" and the nuclear "have-nots") was a noble effort, but times have changed. A new paradigm is required that acknowledges current realities and proposes practical solutions to reduce the danger of nuclear war.

A new paradigm should focus on 3 priorities:
1) Universal access to peaceful nuclear technology under rigorous international monitoring
2) Nuclear safety & management training for newly nuclear-armed states
3) Counter-proliferation operations directed against non-state actors

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