Handbook of Nuclear Proliferation

Handbook of Nuclear Proliferation

Handbook of Nuclear Proliferation

Handbook of Nuclear Proliferation

Synopsis

There was an expectation that the end of the Cold War would herald a new era of peace and stability in which the importance of nuclear weapons was marginalized. Instead, we have been left with a fractious, inter-dependent international community rife with ethnic and religious tension and unbound by super-power competition. The challenges of climate change, demographic shifts and resource competition have further altered the security environment. As if this were not enough, nuclear proliferation is once again at the top of the international agenda.

In the last decade the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty (NPT) has been challenged from within by Iraq, Iran and Libya while India's, Pakistan's and North Korea's nuclear weapon capabilities are threatening the non-proliferation norm from without. The new proliferators are predominantly, but not exclusively, aggressive, unstable and authoritarian regimes, considered by many in the international community to be outside the constraints of international normative behaviour. Some have even been labelled 'outlaw', or 'rogue' states. Although inter-continental nuclear war is not presently considered a danger, the increased number of nuclear weapons states combined with the nature of those states and the strategic environment in which they exist makes the possibility of a lesser nuclear exchange potentially much greater. In parallel, the 9/11 atrocities raised fears of the prospect of apocalyptic terrorists acquiring nuclear weapons. Indications that the NPT is failing to rise to the challenge have resulted in policy decisions that have arguably reversed both the disarmament and non-proliferation norms.

This volume delves deep into the changing global nuclear landscape. The chapters document the increasing complexity of the global nuclear proliferation dynamic and the inability of the international community to come to terms with a rapidly changing strategic milieu. The future, in all likelihood, will be very different from the past, and the chapters in this volume develop a framework that may helps gain a better understanding of the forces that will shape the nuclear proliferation debate in the years to come.

Part I examines the major thematic issues underlying the contemporary discourse on nuclear proliferation.

Part II gives an overview of the evolving nuclear policies of the five established nuclear powers: the USA, Russia, the United Kingdom, France and the People's Republic of China.

Part III looks at the three de facto nuclear states: India, Pakistan and Israel.

Part IV examines two 'problem states' in the proliferation matrix today: Iran and North Korea.

Part V sheds light on an important issue often ignored during discussions of nuclear proliferation - cases where states have made a deliberate policy choice of either renouncing their nuclear weapons programme, or have decided to remain a threshold state. The cases of South Africa, Egypt and Japan will be the focus of this section.

The final section, Part VI, will examine the present state of the global nuclear non-proliferation regime, which most observers agree is currently facing a crisis of credibility. The three pillars of this regime - the NPT, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and the Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty - will be analyzed.

Excerpt

There was an expectation that the end of the Cold War would herald a new era, an era of peace and stability, in which the importance of nuclear weapons would be marginalized. Instead, we have been left with a fractious and at the same time ever more interdependent international community rife with ethnic and religious tensions and unbound by great power competition. The challenges of climate change, demographic shifts and resource competition have further altered the security environment. As if this were not enough, nuclear proliferation is once again at the top of the international agenda. The cumulative effect of these problems has led some to suggest that there is a high chance of an attack with chemical, biological, nuclear, or radiological weapons somewhere in the world over the next decade.

In the last decade the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) has been challenged from within by Iraq, Iran and Libya, while the nuclear weapons capabilities of India, Pakistan and North Korea are threatening the non-proliferation norm from without. The new proliferators are predominantly, but not exclusively, aggressive, unstable and authoritarian regimes, considered by many in the international community to be outside the constraints of international normative behaviour. India and (at least for the moment) Pakistan aside, they have been labelled ‘outlaw’ or ‘rogue’ states. Although intercontinental nuclear war is not presently considered a danger, the increased number of nuclear weapons states, combined with the nature of those states and the strategic environment in which they exist, makes the possibility of a lesser nuclear exchange potentially much greater. The atrocities of September 11, 2001 have further raised fears of apocalyptic terrorists acquiring nuclear weapons technology. Indications that the NPT is failing to rise to the challenge and that the nuclear Rubicon will shortly be crossed have resulted in policy decisions that have arguably reversed both the disarmament and non-proliferation norms.

This volume aims to delve deeper into the changing global nuclear landscape. Its chapters are intended to shed light on the diverse themes surrounding this very important issue area in international security. They document the increasing complexity of the global nuclear proliferation dynamic and the inability of the international community to come to terms with a rapidly changing strategic milieu.

It was only with the help, support and encouragement of a number of people that this project could come to fruition. I would like to express my gratitude to Cathy Hartley (Editor, Europa New Projects at Routledge) who was instrumental in getting this work commissioned and was ultimately responsible for the transformation of a concept note into a fully-fledged book. I would like to express my deep sense of gratitude to all the contributors who, in spite of their busy schedules, took time off to be a part of this volume. In particular, I would like to pay my respects to late Professor Paul Wilkinson who passed away during the . . .

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