United States Foreign Policy Towards Nuclear Proliferation

Topics: Nuclear proliferation, Nuclear weapon, Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Pages: 15 (4748 words) Published: May 29, 2011
United States Foreign Policy towards Nuclear Proliferation

In a joint statement made by President George W. Bush, European Council President Konstandinos Simitis and European Commissioner President Romano Prodi regarding the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) stated:

“Proliferation of WMDs and their delivery systems constitutes a major
threat to international peace and security. The threat is compounded by
the interest of terrorists in acquiring WMD. This would undermine the
foundations of international order…Proliferation is a threat not only to our security, but also to the wider international system. We call for a halt to proliferation activities in a way that is demonstrable and verifiable. Non-proliferation is a global challenge which requires a multifaceted solution.

We need to tackle it individually and collectively – working together and
with other partners, including through relevant international institutions, in particular those of the United Nations system,” (OPS, 2003). Those states most actively working to develop weapons of mass destruction is for the most part located in unstable regions of the world – the Middle East, South Asia, and the Korean Peninsula. The greatest threat posed by these states is to their neighbors and to regional stability. Proliferation poses dangers to all nations. It poses particular problems for the United States. The breakup of the Soviet Union presented immediate threats to the global non-proliferation regimes. Dr. Peter Clausen’s thesis is “that America has opposed the spread of nuclear weapons, not as a moral or humanitarian imperative but out of hard-headed calculations of interest,” (Clausen, 1993). While the United States and other countries want to stop the spread of nuclear proliferation, it will never become a reality and effective unless all the nations who have nuclear capabilities give up their programs themselves for a greater world order and peace without the threats of WMD. History and Stance on Nuclear Proliferation

“The proliferation of nuclear weapons poses the greatest threat to our national security,” stated President Bush in his National Security Strategy of 2006. To deal with this continuing threat, the United States over the past half-century has helped build an international “Non-proliferation regime.” The regime consists of international agreements and cooperative national actions to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons to additional countries or to the newest threat, terrorists. The initiating agreement for the regime was the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) in 1968. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has since adopted the term “nuclear security” to describe “the prevention and detection of, and response to, theft, sabotage, unauthorized access, illegal transfer or other malicious acts involving nuclear material, other radioactive substances or other associated activities.” Nuclear security includes what has long been called “physical protection” of nuclear material from theft and sabotage (Bunn, 2006). The first and greatest success on both U.S. policy and the Non-Proliferation regime is that no nuclear weapons have been used in war since 1945 when the U.S. bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Second, there are more than 20 countries that have or are seeking to acquire chemical and/or biological weapons. Weapons of mass destruction have been characterized as “an asymmetrical counter to the West’s massive superiority in conventional weapons,” (Spiers, 2000). Current concerns focus upon the diffusion of knowledge about how to produce these weapons, the ability to develop weapons programs using “dual-use” technology and materials, and the widespread availability of long-range delivery systems.

Despite the existence of national and international export controls, nuclear technology has been acquired illicitly and clandestinely through front companies, false export documents, and multiple...

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