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Issue Analysis: Nuclear Weapons Proliferation, Term Paper Example

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Term Paper

The development of nuclear weapons across the world is considered part of the dynamism in military technologies, which is accompanied by multidisciplinary implications. The spread of nuclear weapons to additional nation-states beyond the nation-states that already possess them is a highly prickly issue within the study of international politics. There are nine countries contemporarily in possession of nuclear weapon arsenals, namely The United Kingdom, the United States, Pakistan, France, China, Russia, India, Israel, and North Korea. Some of these countries developed nuclear weapons in the Cold War context since the Soviet Union and The US steeplechase for influence (Cotta-Ramusino, 101-108). However, some of these countries recently developed weapons because of regional conflicts or other reasons. Nuclear proliferation is mainly caused by the desire of Several nation-states to achieve more security during external attacks in the radical world. However, the US-Russian and the US-Soviet agreements and treaties have regulated the proliferation of nuclear weapons to new nation-states (“Spector”). The policies developed by the nine nations have increased the chances of using nuclear weapons. There also has been a significant concern for the peaceful spread of nuclear energy programs. There are high chances that facilities assigned to produce and use nuclear energy could eventually be used to create nuclear weapons (Kroenig, 166-179). This has resulted in a highly contentious issue within the study of international politics.

Position(s) of Nation-States

United States Government Position on Nuclear Proliferation

The US has the biggest Nuclear weapon arsenal and other delivery systems in the world. Besides, it is among the nuclear weapon nations that joined the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). To strengthen its stand against nuclear weapons proliferation, the US is also a party of the Chemical Weapon Convention (CWC) and Biological and Toxin Weapon Convention (BTWC). Besides, the US government is not part of any chemical and biological offensive programs.  Despite being the only nation to ever use nuclear weapons during a conflict (Nagasaki and Hiroshima 1945), the US is against nuclear weapon proliferation (“United States”).

Apart from NTP, the US is a party of other treaties that support the reduction and control of nuclear weapons. To begin with, it is part of the US-Russian New START Treaty that took effect in 2011. Since then, the Treaty worked to reduce both Russian and the US specified nuclear arsenals to 1550 arrayed strategic missiles as well as 700 deployed diplomatic delivery vehicles. Besides that, the United States is an affiliate of the export control organization, including the Zangger Committee (ZAC) and Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), which ensures that the proliferation of sensitive nuclear technologies is limited (Kroenig, 166-179).

Currently, the United States is modernizing all its nuclear triad stands. Independent analysts approximate that this will cost more than a trillion dollars over 30 years. Besides, the Nuclear Posture Review, under the 2018 Trump government, organized for the advancement of the new generation of nuclear weapons. Therefore, the production of low-yield nuclear weapons kicked off in 2019 (“United States”). The US has demonstrated occasional hostility and ambivalence towards arms control diplomacy under the Trump Administration. In 2019, the Trump administration withdrew from the U.S.-Russia Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) (Kroenig, 166-179). They have further declined to take part in the Treaty, neither are they willing to renew the New START Treaty upon its expiration in 2021.

China government Position on Nuclear Proliferation

China is the first nation known to have launched a formal pledge that opposes using nuclear weapons on countries that do not produce nuclear weapons. It is also the first, among the nine nuclear-weapon nation-states, to take on the “no first use (NFU)” rule (Kroenig, 171). In 1992, China, among other nuclear-weapon countries, complies with the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). Since then, it has emphasized more on its export control, with the declaration of regulation on nuclear supplies as well as dual-use nuclear exports. Besides, China has resolved to halt nuclear technology exports to unprotected facilities. China joined the Nuclear Suppliers Group in 2004 and was the first nation to sign the IAEA Additional procedure. The publication of China’s 2013 Defense White Paper brought a lot of controversies since it omitted the slogan “no-first-use,” which was included in the 2010 Defense White Paper and earlier publications (Cotta-Ramusino, 101-108). However, China reaffirmed its commitment to “no-first-use” in their latest release. China’s existing nuclear stance aims at survivability and upholding the capability of second-strike (“China”).

United Kingdom Government Position on Nuclear Proliferation

Proliferation records indicate that the UK has never significantly or deliberately been involved in the spread of chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons to new nation-states beyond the nation-states that already possess them. The state is an official frontline devotee of nonproliferation.  Besides, the United Kingdom is among the leading members of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the Australian Group, the Proliferation Security Initiative, the Zangger Committee, and the Missile Technology Control Regime (“United Kingdom”). The UK has taken part in both Libyan and Iranian nonproliferation processes. Further, it supports the production of verifiable and effective chemical, radiological, biological, and nuclear-free area in the Middle east (Hanson, 175-193).

The UK signed the agreement on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) in November 1968. It is also a participant in all main WMD nonproliferation agreements as well as international export control schemes. In June 1998, the UK joined the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). Its stockpile has a total of 225 weapons. However, the UK government is planning to lessen the amount of diplomatic nuclear armaments to 180 (Hanson, 175-193). Since the year 2010, the UK has been working to minimize the number of missiles on each submarine from 48 to 40. Besides, it has worked on reducing the requirements for available warheads from 160 to 120 (“United Kingdom”).

Position(S) of Intergovernmental Organizations

Various inter-governmental organizations have been formed following nuclear weapons proliferation. Some of these organizations include the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, and the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC).

Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) mainly aims at stopping the spread of nuclear arms and nuclear technology to non-nuclear weapons countries. This organization has always ensured collaboration in non-violent uses of nuclear energy and promotes the goal of realizing nuclear demilitarization (Office of Disarmament Affairs). This Treaty is in the frontline to control the spread of nuclear proliferation. It advances the goal of nuclear disarmament as well as overall and comprehensive disarmament (“Spector”). Besides, it helps in promoting the alliance in the peaceful utilization of nuclear energy.

Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) forbids non-nuclear weapons countries from producing nuclear weapons or toxins without justification for peaceful or defensive purposes (Office of Disarmament Affairs). BTWC also prohibits nuclear weapon countries from exporting nuclear weapons and technology to non-nuclear-weapon countries or otherwise helping them to manufacture the weapons. It obligates parties to get rid of firearms for the concord of the state-nations. Besides, it is committed to ensuring that states cooperate in solving their differences by consulting and conducting investigations initiated by the UN security council (Hayashi, 101-106).

Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty is an intergovernmental organization that prohibits all nuclear test explosions for both military and civilian purposes across the world. This Treaty also does not support nuclear tests in non-nuclear-weapon countries. It was formed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1996 but has not taken full effect since the nine specific nuclear weapon nations have not ratified the agreement (Hayashi, 87).

Position of Non-Governmental Organizations

International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) is a non-governmental organization that promotes implementation and adherence to UN nuclear ban treaty. The organization insists on the position that nuclear weapons cause catastrophic harm and threaten human existence. In that regard, there should be a complete ban on its adoption and spread to other countries. According to ICAN, nuclear weapons are the most indiscriminate and inhuman weapons ever developed. They result in severe environmental degradation and undermine national and global security (Office of Disarmament Affairs). Above all, it takes a considerable portion of public resources that could otherwise meet human needs. Hence it must be urgently eliminated and its spread banned.

Greenpeace is also an international non-governmental organization that has always campaigned against nuclear weapon proliferation. Their main goal is to protect nature and nuclear weapon proliferation to non-nuclear weapons state-nation may result in the depletion of natural resources during the nuclear weapons test (Hanson, 188). Their primary focus is to ensure that the earth natures life in all its diversity. The organization uses lobbying, direct action, ecotage, and research to achieve its goals.

Finally, The ATOM Project is another non-governmental organization in support of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. The central focus of this campaign is to get rid of all nuclear arsenals and build international support to abolish all nuclear testing as well as the spread of nuclear weapons to non-nuclear weapons state-nations (Baylis et al. 2018).

Works Cited

“China.” Nuclear Threat Initiative | NTI, 2020, www.nti.org/learn/countries/china/.

“United Kingdom.” Nuclear Threat Initiative | NTI, 2016, www.nti.org/learn/countries/united-kingdom/.

“United States.” Nuclear Threat Initiative | NTI, 2020, www.nti.org/learn/countries/united-states/

Baylis, John, and Yoko Iwama, eds. Joining the Nonproliferation Treaty: Deterrence, Nonproliferation, and the American Alliance. Routledge, 2018.

Cotta-Ramusino, Paolo. “Status of Nuclear Non-proliferation.” International Cooperation for Enhancing Nuclear Safety, Security, Safeguards and Non-proliferation–60 Years of IAEA and EURATOM. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, 2018. 101-108.

Hanson, Marianne. “Global Weapons Proliferation, Disarmament, and Arms Control.” Global Insecurity. Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2017. 175-193.

Hayashi, Mika. “Nonproliferation Treaty and Nuclear Disarmament: Article VI of the NPT in Light of the ILC Draft Conclusions on Subsequent Agreements and Practice.” International Community Law Review 22.1 (2020): 84-106.

Kroenig, Matthew. “US nuclear weapons and nonproliferation: Is there a link?” Journal of Peace Research 53.2 (2016): 166-179.

Office of Disarmament Affairs. “Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).” Welcome to the United Nations, www.un.org/disarmament/wmd/nuclear/npt/.

Spector, Leonard S. Nuclear ambitions: the spread of nuclear weapons 1989-1990. Routledge, 2019.

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