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Research Report


Joseph F. Pilat
David S. Yost
Copyright Date: May. 1, 2007
Published by: NATO Defense College
Pages: 132
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Table of Contents

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  1. (pp. 5-6)
    Joseph F. Pilat and David S. Yost
  2. (pp. 7-18)
    Joseph F. PILAT and David S. YOST

    On 12 September 2006, the NATO Defense College and the Los Alamos National Laboratory held a workshop entitled “NATO and the Future of the NPT.” This introduction provides a summary of the workshop deliberations, based on the papers collected in this volume and the discussion they generated, concerning the future of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and the implications for the Alliance.

    The participants agreed that the NPT is under challenge. Since the late 1990s, there has been growing concern about increasing proliferation dangers, including rogue states and terrorists; cooperation on weapons of mass destruction (WMD)...

  3. (pp. 19-25)
    William WALKER

    The American jurist Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. wrote in 1919 that the US Constitution “is an experiment, as all life is an experiment”.² The same could be said of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). But what exactly has been the experiment that is the NPT, and how can and should its success be assessed? Where do these questions and their answers lead us when contemplating the Treaty’s future?

    The NPT possessed six attributes at its foundation and during its first quarter century. Firstly and most obviously, it was the text of an international treaty negotiated in...

  4. (pp. 26-30)
    Paul WILKE

    Do we have a crisis within the system, or of the system? This challenging question was raised by William Walker at a Wilton Park conference on the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) held late in 2005. The preliminary answer I came up with was that, whatever the outcome of this turbulent time in the field of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, it will be an extension of the present system. Therefore, without denying that we are facing a crisis, it would be better to see our present time in terms of a paradigm shift. We are moving swiftly...

  5. (pp. 31-37)
    Michael RÜHLE

    Among the few things that arms control “hawks” and “doves” agree on is the precarious state of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). The withdrawal of North Korea in 2003, the frustrating attempts to halt Iran’s uranium enrichment programme, and most recently the US-India nuclear deal allow for no other conclusion than that the NPT and the regime it underpins have been damaged – perhaps even beyond repair.

    When it comes to the causes for the current malaise, however, the commonality between hawks and doves quickly vanishes. Indeed, their views on who is to blame for the...

  6. (pp. 38-43)
    Martin BRIENS

    There have been in the past many dark predictions about a proliferated world, a world with more nuclear-capable and nuclear-armed nations, in the context of a weakening, and even a collapse, of the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). The threat of nuclear terrorism makes this prospect even more ominous.

    This dark nuclear future is indeed a possibility, but one that we can still prevent from happening. The worst is never certain. President Kennedy said in 1963, that there could be as many as twenty-five nuclear-armed countries by 1980.² It did not happen. Of course, circumstances have changed,...

  7. (pp. 44-53)

    The greater the number of states possessing nuclear weapons, the greater the risk that one day, by design or accident, they will be used or will fall into the hands of non-state actors with catastrophic consequences. We must therefore reject as irresponsible the idea that the international community should get used to the fact that sooner or later more countries will possess nuclear weapons, and that we can do nothing about it. Rather, it is essential to take all the necessary steps to “dissuade” and “deter” non-nuclear-weapon states (NNWS) from acquiring such weapons.

    Dissuasion entails persuading a state (both the...

  8. (pp. 54-62)
    Rüdiger LÜDEKING

    The nuclear non-proliferation regime is in a state of crisis. This should prompt widespread international concern and determined efforts to safeguard the future of the regime and of its centrepiece, the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). It is therefore surprising that it has seemingly not prompted that reaction, and that as yet the failure of the 2005 NPT Review Conference to arrive at an agreed result has not served as a wake-up call for the international community to join forces to address the risk of erosion that the NPT regime faces.

    The risk of erosion is essentially...

  9. (pp. 63-76)
    John R. HARVEY

    This paper will describe where we are heading in the US nuclear-weapon programme, including efforts to “transform” the stockpile and supporting infrastructure, and what it might mean for the global non-proliferation regime, for developing a consensus for restructuring that regime, and for the United States’ commitment under Article VI of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).

    Let me summarize the key points of my presentation, and then elaborate more broadly:

    To meet its own security needs and those of its allies, the United States will need a safe, secure, and reliable nuclear deterrent for the foreseeable future....

  10. (pp. 77-90)
    Thomas K. SCHEBER

    Conflict in the world today has been described by some as a clash between agents of order and agents of disorder. In this model, countries that seek to establish and enforce norms of behavior among nations are representative of those that seek order. Countries or groups that work to subvert or circumvent established norms—sometimes through violent means—characterize agents of disorder.

    In this framework, the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) is viewed as a product of the agents of order. This widely subscribed treaty—in force for more than 35 years—put in place standards, procedures,...

  11. (pp. 91-98)
    Bruno TERTRAIS

    This paper first considers the implications of the existence of NATO for the nuclear non-proliferation regime, and then examines the implications for NATO of possible future nuclear scenarios.

    Any discussion about the relationship between the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament should begin with the recognition of two basic facts. One is that as a multilateral organization, NATO is not a party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), and thus as an institution is not bound by of the commitments made by the member states. Criticisms by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) about the alleged...

  12. (pp. 99-105)
    Michael QUINLAN

    I take it as given that the non-proliferation regime remains a very important and good thing; that it is not in inexorable terminal decline, or on the edge of a precipice; but that there are both general and particular dangers to it, as we saw for example in the fiasco of the NPT review conference in 2005 and, more concretely, in the problems posed very conspicuously by Iran and, perhaps slightly less urgently though no less profoundly, by North Korea. The practical questions for our Alliance then are what it can do to help reduce or manage the dangers, and...

  13. (pp. 106-114)
    Roberto ZADRA

    Because other workshop participants focused on the question whether there is a future for the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), this paper focuses on the impact of that debate on NATO policy and posture. The impact of the NPT on such policy and posture can be assessed from two perspectives: from the perspective of the non-proliferation efforts of the Alliance as a whole, at 26, and from the perspective of its nuclear policy and posture within the Nuclear Planning Group, at 25 (France is not a member of the NPG).

    Since the May 2005 NPT Review Conference,...