The Eighty Percent and Twenty Percent Solutions to Nuclear Proliferation

By Lund, Matthew | Brigham Young University Law Review, May 1, 2009 | Go to article overview

The Eighty Percent and Twenty Percent Solutions to Nuclear Proliferation


Lund, Matthew, Brigham Young University Law Review


I. INTRODUCTION: NON- PROLIFERATI ON AT THE CROSSROADS

Nuclear non-proliferation issues abound in the news. Of note, the U.S. Air Force has been reprimanded for lax nuclear security measures,1 Iran is accused of trying to build a bomb,2 and experts predict that the forty-year-old Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT)3 is failing.4 These nuclear proliferation fears correspond to the issues of loose nukes, nations developing nuclear arms, and inability of the international community to control nuclear non-proliferation. Whether or not these fears become reality depends on the effectiveness of the international nuclear non-proliferation system.

Prognostications tend towards failure. In a worst-case scenario, we could find ourselves living in a world with nuclear terrorists, nuclear wars, and no international organizations able to control the chaos.5 To avert the nuclear parade of horrors, most academics and politicians agree diat something must be done, but solving these problems is difficult due to political differences inherent in the issues of security, energy, and national interest. Some think that the current mechanisms of non-proliferation are broken. They often advocate either for abandoning the system in favor of national action or for strengthening the system. This discussion, however, focuses on the NPT and neglects existent ad hoc approaches to non-proliferation. These ad hoc mechanisms developed to fill the formal mechanisms' gaps in capability, and tiiey are part of the nuclear non-proliferation solution.

This Comment argues that the formal mechanisms of nonproliferation are not broken, but that even when they are most effective they do not prevent all forms of proliferation. While the formal mechanisms may be strengthened, they will essentially remain the eighty percent solution6 to nuclear non-proliferation, because the irreconcilable political interests of major world nations and the existence of rogue state and non-state actors necessitates an ad hoc approach. Informal methods currently in use, multilateral and bilateral negotiations and preemptive strikes, supply the remaining twenty percent solution to nuclear non-proliferation. The undesirable legal and political effects of ad hoc action do not justify attempts to eliminate them.

This Comment proceeds in Part II by examining the nonproliferation problem, viewing the problem through historical and political contexts. Part III examines the current mechanisms for controlling proliferation and their legal doctrines. The oft pointed-to mechanism of non-proliferation is the NPT, but it is only one instrument in an array of instruments available to enforce the goal of non-proliferation. The formal mechanisms are here characterized as 1) the enforcement provisions of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as embodied by the International Atomic Energy Agency; 2) action taken by the U.N. Security Council; and 3) multilateral organizations.7 In contrast, informal mechanisms include bilateral and multilateral negotiations engaged in on an ad hoc basis by interested parties and preemptive strikes (often unilateral). These methods, collectively, address the non-proliferation problem, and should be considered in a holistic discussion of nuclear nonproliferation.

Part IV examines the relationship between the formal and informal mechanisms, evaluating the political constraints that would limit a mandatory regime and examining die legality of ad hoc efforts under international law. This part also justifies unilateral action to prevent nuclear proliferation with the doctrine of humanitarian intervention and posits diat preemptive action is legal under international law. Although the formal mechanisms are unable to control some aspects of the proliferation problem, ad hoc mechanisms adequately fill these system gaps. The international community should recognize their value and not act to prevent them when they are appropriate. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Eighty Percent and Twenty Percent Solutions to Nuclear Proliferation
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.