It is customary for a French President to devote an entire speech to issues of nuclear deterrence – something his US or British counterparts have seldom done since the end of the Cold war, and which testifies to the importance that nuclear weapons still have for Paris. But the speech given by President Nicolas Sarkozy on March 21 was noteworthy in at least two respects. It signaled that even though Sarkozy is often keen on making “clean breaks” with past practices, continuity would prevail as far as nuclear weapons policy is concerned.
Symposium on Nuclear Nonproliferation held at Rowan University on April 11, 2008.
After President Vladimir Putin said last month that Russia would not allow other countries "to poke their snotty noses into our affairs," we should face the fact that security relations with the West are in a shambles. Putin, who is fond of tough-guy slang, used the colorful phrase when he accused the United States of pushing the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to decide against sending observers to the State Duma elections on Dec. 2.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) faces a critical test this November when it will issue its latest report on Iran's nuclear activities. A condemning report by the IAEA could prompt Iran to end all cooperation with the IAEA. Yet a falsely reassuring report could damage the credibility of the nonproliferation regime.
Judging by the visit of Condoleezza Rice and Robert Gates to Moscow last week, the United States and Russia are in a race to dismantle the treaty system that has regulated their security relationship for decades. The Russian side eagerly reminded U.S. counterparts of their promise to cease implementing the Conventional Forces in Europe in early December if NATO did not proceed to ratify the adapted CFE Treaty.
Last week, the six-party negotiations (which include the United States, China, Russia, Japan, North Korea and South Korea) agreed on a second phase of a plan to denuclearize North Korea that has under discussion since 2005. This plan goes further than the agreed framework by requiring "disablement" of North Korean plutonium production facilities, but is troublingly silent on a few things.
The Iraq war’s monopoly on America’s political energy has now stretched to five years. During what is an eon in a time of fast-moving global change, a number of international security problems have grown into full-blown crises. Unless a major effort is made to reverse current trends, the fissures now spreading across the global nonproliferation regime could easily become the worst of these crises.
A report from the IAEA laying out a timeline for Iran to resolve outstanding issues related to its nuclear program may give Iran as much as eight months of continued centrifuge installation and operation.
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The White House reached a deal late last month to provide India with U.S. civil nuclear cooperation, reversing a ban on such cooperation that had been in place since 1978. After India's first nuclear test in 1974, the United States decided to halt nuclear exports to countries that have not signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, and persuaded the rest of the world's nuclear suppliers to make this a global rule in 1992. India, Israel and Pakistan refused to sign the treaty and instead produced nuclear arsenals. The Bush administration now wants to remove the longstanding restrictions on India, and to persuade the rest of the world to do the same.