Erosion of U.S. authority in the nonproliferation regime has imperiled U.S. national security and its ability to pursue its security objectives, particularly those related to nonproliferation. The next U.S. administration has an opportunity to reclaim leadership and rebuild the dangerously damaged nonproliferation regime, but only if it better understands the views of non-nuclear-weapon states.
Deepti Choubey led a discussion based on her new Carnegie report, Are New Nuclear Bargains Attainable? Representing two key non-nuclear-weapon states, Australian diplomat Peter Sawczak and Brazilian diplomat Achilles Zaluar commented on actions the U.S. must take to restore credibility among non-nuclear-weapon states.
Based on her interviews with the foreign ministries of sixteen important non-nuclear-weapon states, Choubey began by explaining that too often the U.S. misreads the political landscape when it crafts quid pro quo bargains that offer progress on disarmament (like ratifying the CTBT) for non-nuclear-weapon states support of additional nonproliferation initiatives. Nuclear-weapon states must fulfill previous commitments to demonstrate equal attention to the three pillars of the NPT before non-nuclear-weapon states will consider additional nonproliferation obligations.
The Next U.S. Administration Should:
Non-Nuclear-Weapon States Should:
Peter Sawczak supported Choubey’s pragmatic approach and called for renewed U.S. leadership. Sawczak warned that disarmament and nonproliferation concerns must be approached from a political angle that values different threat perceptions and works to build inter-regional trust. Achilles Zaluar added that the 13 Steps agreed upon at the 2000 Review Conference must be fulfilled, the U.S. must give equal attention to all three pillars of the NPT regime, and the U.S. must ratify the CTBT.
Question & Answer
A French diplomat questioned Choubey’s use of the term “bargain,” arguing that the word implies an exchange, whereas movement of disarmament is in the security interests of nuclear-weapon states. Choubey responded that the title referred to the notion of new quid pro quo bargains and not to existing arrangements agreed to between nuclear and non-nuclear-weapon states.
Additional questions focused on the 2010 NPT Review Conference and where expectations should be set to ensure a sense of urgency from the next U.S. administration. The discussion also focused on redefining the 2010 NPT Review Conference as a foundation for the 2015 NPT Review Conference.
The Carnegie Nuclear Policy Program is an internationally acclaimed source of expertise and policy thinking on nuclear industry, nonproliferation, security, and disarmament. Its multinational staff stays at the forefront of nuclear policy issues in the United States, Russia, China, Northeast Asia, South Asia, and the Middle East.
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