Magazine article Arms Control Today

Editor's NOTE

Magazine article Arms Control Today

Editor's NOTE

Article excerpt

It may seem strange to argue that the 1968 nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) has been a success at a time when North Korea has opted out of the treaty, Iran has skirted its requirements, and the nuclear-weapon states are still far from meeting the treaty's ultimate goal of nuclear disarmament. Yet, especially given the technological changes and increasing globalization of the last four decades, things surely could have been much worse.

Exactly what has prevented more countries from developing nuclear weapons is open to discussion. International alliances, domestic politics, and the strong-arm tactics of the nuclear superpowers have certainly played a part. But it is also certain that the NPT has played an essential role.

As four influential leaders make clear in this month's issue, if the treaty is going to continue to play its essential role in the preservation of peace and stability in the coming decades, it will have to be adapted and strengthened. In particular, all four write that the nuclear-weapon states have to demonstrate more clearly their commitment to nuclear disarmament.

Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store acknowledges that states will need to resolve some of the most difficult dilemmas surrounding deterrence and verification. Former UN UndersecretaryGeneral Jayantha Dhanapala argues that such efforts are essential if non-nuclear-weapon states are to be held to their own NPT commitments. Ambassador Thomas R. Pickering, formerly the top U.S. career diplomat, writes that the permanent members of the UN Security Council, particularly the United States and Russia, can and should do more to reduce nuclear dangers. …

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