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Can the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty be considered a successful instrument of nuclear arms control?

Essay 2011 5 Seiten

Politik - Internationale Politik - Thema: Frieden und Konflikte, Sicherheit



1. Introduction

2. Main Body
2.1 Non-proliferation
2.2 Disarmament
2.3 Peaceful use of nuclear energy

3. Conclusion

4. References

1. Introduction

The Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) is a multilateral treaty designed to halt the spread of nuclear weapons. To determine whether or not the NPT has been a successful instrument of nuclear arms control I will empirically evaluate the goals established under the NPT and in doing so measure its “success”. I will do this by using an inductive approach where I will present my observations which will then enable me to provide a broader generalisation in my conclusion.

2. Main Body

2.1 Non-proliferation

The first aim of the NPT is to halt the proliferation of nuclear weapons. (Williams, Wolfsthal, 2005) Articles I and II prescribe that nuclear-weapon states (NWS) should not assist non-nuclear-weapon states (NNWS) develop or acquire nuclear weapons. In turn, NNWS should not seek out such weapons. (ACA, 2005) Williams and Wolfsthal (2005) claim that since the treaty came into force, more nations have abandoned nuclear weapon programs than begun them.

This statement is supported by the fact that in 1970 the treaty only possessed 64 member states, including three nuclear weapon states in which both France and China later signed on, together with 122 other nations giving the NPT a total of 188 member states. (Williams, Wolfsthal, 2005) Whereas, only four countries that are not party to the NPT now have nuclear weapons programs: India, Pakistan, Israel, and North Korea, the only state to withdraw. (Burroughs, viewed on 16/4/11)

2.2 Disarmament

The next aim of the NPT is disarmament. (Williams, Wolfsthal, 2005) According to Article VI of the NPT parties to the treaty should engage in, “effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament." (IAEA, 1970) However, the implementation of the disarmament obligation by the NWS has been “dismal”. (Burroughs, viewed on 16/4/11)

The facts suggests that there are still over 25,000 nuclear warheads in the arsenals of the five NWS compared to 38,000 nuclear weapons that existed in 1968 when negotiation of the treaty was completed. (Burroughs, viewed on 16/4/11) Ultimately, this failure of the NWS to take appropriate action and meet their disarmament obligation sends out the wrong message to NNWS to achieve non- nuclear proliferation.



ISBN (eBook)
426 KB
Institution / Hochschule
Freie Universität Berlin
nuclear non-proliferation treaty




Titel: Can the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty be considered a successful instrument of nuclear arms control?