Security Assurances and Nuclear Nonproliferation

Security Assurances and Nuclear Nonproliferation

Security Assurances and Nuclear Nonproliferation

Security Assurances and Nuclear Nonproliferation

Synopsis

While policy makers and scholars have long devoted considerable attention to strategies like deterrence, which threaten others with unacceptable consequences, such threat-based strategies are not always the best option. In some cases, a state may be better off seeking to give others a greater sense of security, rather than by holding their security at risk. The most prominent use of these security assurances has been in conjunction with efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons.

Ongoing concerns about the nuclear activities of countries like Iran and North Korea, and the possible reactions of other states in their regions, have catapulted this topic into high profile. This book represents the first study to explore the overall utility of assurance strategies, to evaluate their effectiveness as a tool for preventing nuclear proliferation, and to identify conditions under which they are more or less likely to be effective.

Excerpt

Jeffrey W. Knopf

In the pursuit of national security, states often rely on the threat or use of military force to defend their interests and deter challenges. Yet threat-based strategies are not always the best option. In some cases, a state may be better off seeking to give others a greater sense of security, rather than by holding their security at risk. Efforts to alleviate insecurity can be important not only in dealing with potential adversaries, but in relations with allies as well. Despite their possible value, however, security assurances—which can be defined as promises to respect or ensure the security of others—have received much less attention from policymakers and scholars than have measures for defense or deterrence.

The most prominent use of security assurances in international politics has been in conjunction with efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. The 1968 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, more commonly called the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), created two classes of states: nuclear weapon states and non-nuclear weapon states. Only the five states that had tested nuclear weapons before the treaty was opened for signature (the United States, Russia, China, Britain, and France) could join as nuclear weapon states, while all other states were expected to join as non-nuclear weapon states. Those countries required to forswear nuclear weapons have sought to make sure that doing so would not jeopardize their security vis-à-vis nuclear-armed states. They have requested both negative security assurances, which involve a pledge by nuclear weapon states not to use or threaten the use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapon states, and positive security assurances, which involve a pledge to come to the aid of non-nuclear weapon states that are . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.