Nuclear Proliferation Issues

Security for a New Century hosted Dr. Morton H. Halperin, member of the Congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States and Dr. Andrew K. Semmel,
former deputy assistant secretary of state for nuclear nonproliferation
to discuss nuclear proliferation issues in anticipation of the Review
Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of
Nuclear Weapons (NPT).

The NPT, with 189 signatories, offers
non-nuclear weapon states a guarantee that they will not be threatened
by the five declared Nuclear Weapons States (NWS) – the United States,
Russia, China, France, and the United Kingdom – as well as the right to
safely develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

Some
countries such as South Africa and Brazil have stepped back from
efforts to develop nuclear weapons in the 40 years the NPT has been in
effect. Despite these past successes, the non-proliferation regime
faces enormous challenges. The treaty needs to be reaffirmed and
strengthened to meet new threats to global security. Developments in
recent years have put stress on the framework of the NPT and IAEA. The
international community’s efforts to monitor nuclear nations, Iran’s
persistent failure to report all of its facilities to the IAEA, A.Q.
Kahn’s clandestine dissemination of nuclear technology throughout the
Middle East, North Korea’s withdrawal from the NPT in 2003, and the
rise of non-state actors each represent a unique challenge that will
dictate the tenor of future NPT negotiations.

Bilateral
disarmament discussions between the U.S. and Russia, who collectively
possess 90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons, must also be renewed
and reinvigorated. The Bush Administration’s support for India’s
nuclear program as well as the United States’ failure to ratify the
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) has raised the stakes for American
leadership in the upcoming round of talks.

Dr. Semmel and Dr. Halperin referred to a list of 10 specific actions put forward by the Partnership for a Secure America
(PSA) and endorsed by 30 policymakers representing both parties, and
emphasized the importance of accomplishing these goals in 2010.

Security for a New Century is a bipartisan study group for
Congress. We meet regularly with U.S. and international policy
professionals to discuss the post-Cold War and post-9/11 security
environment. All discussions are off-the-record. It is not an advocacy
venue. Please call (202) 223-5956 for more information.

Choose Your Subscription Topics
* indicates required
I'm interested in...
38 North: News and Analysis on North Korea
South Asian Voices