Competing Western Strategies against the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction: Comparing the United States to a Close Ally

By David A. Copper | Go to book overview

Chapter 6

Conclusion: Common Ends, Divergent Means

The primary finding of this two-actor study has broad ramifications for the viability of overall U.S. cooperation with its Western antiproliferation partners. This, in turn, raises serious questions regarding the wider prospects for effective international responses to the burgeoning proliferation threat.

The upshot of the study—that there has been a significant, consistent pattern of divergence between the United States and a key “likeminded” Western antiproliferation partner—implicitly challenges the prevalent assumption that Western states have responded collectively to proliferation with an essentially cohesive strategy. Given that Washington is an essential leader in virtually all antiproliferation ventures, and that the United States and Australia represent “similar cases, ” it is reasonable to infer that this type of divergence is probably not exceptional. It seems likely, in fact, that the United States and Australia do not represent an especially extreme instance of national divergence, if for no other reason than Australia's special commitment to supply-side efforts derived from its unique association with the Australia Group. Thus, the major finding of the present study strongly suggests a wider divergence among Western supplier states, and in particular between Washington and its various partners.

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