President Barack Obama and an array of other Western leaders continue to assert that the spread of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) to non-state actors is one of most pressing challenges to global security today. Yet, Western efforts to engage governments—particularly governments across the global South—in a practical nonproliferation dialogue have largely yielded disappointing results. This viewpoint examines the need for a new strategy to engage the developing world in nonproliferation programs. It argues that strategies focused strictly on WMD nonproliferation are unsustainable, and ultimately are destined for failure. An alternative “dual-benefit” nonproliferation engagement strategy utilizes the enlightened self-interest of partner governments needed to achieve broad-based buy-in among all partners. In a concluding section, we recommend that the “Group of 8” Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction standardize this model of nonproliferation engagement as it sets out to identify and fund WMD nonproliferation capacity-building initiatives beyond the states of the former Soviet Union.
Read the full paper in The Nonproliferation Reviewhere.
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