The purpose of this chapter is to examine extant arguments about the relative strengths and weaknesses of the antiproliferation approaches spelled out in the preceding chapter as well as whether these strategies are naturally complementary. It does not seek to advocate a particular viewpoint, but rather to provide a balanced elucidation of the arguments on all sides of the normative debate. Understanding these underlying normative perspectives is important because they represent the abstract underpinning for any real-world differences in Western perspectives.
Theorizing on proliferation response is lamentably sparse. However, a lively normative debate is discernable in the more policy-oriented proliferation literature. Rather than a “great debate” of competing prescriptions derived from overarching theories, it comprises views on specific instruments (e.g., MTCR) or, very occasionally, classes of instruments (e.g., supplier regimes). But by applying the last chapter's conceptual framework, a variety of latent assumptions about each of the three major antiproliferation strategies can be culled from these discussions, yielding a set of broad normative perspectives on each approach.