The historic events in Libya, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran and North Korea have raised several key questions that help frame the proliferation debate over the future direction of U.S. non-proliferation policy.
The pace of developments in nuclear proliferation over the past 18 months is unprecedented, and it is hard for even dedicated experts to keep track and make sense of all the latest developments. Yet with all the developments, from Libya to Pakistan to North Korea, several questions have emerged to form the core debate over the future direction of U.S. nonproliferation policy.
Recent events in Pakistan and Libya are directly affecting the Bush Administration's approach to North Korea's nuclear program. The disclosure of A.Q. Khan's elaborate efforts to uranium enrichment and nuclear weapons technology and the decision by Col. Khadaffi to abandon his WMD programs have reinforced the Bush administration's perception that their tough approach is paying dividends.
Democracy and Rule of Law Project discusses the implications of political turmoil in Iran. Audio from this event is available shortly.
On Friday, there was a coup d'etat in Iran. By preventing thousands of democratic candidates from participating in the parliamentary elections, the clerics eliminated yet another relatively independent institution of political power. Their next target is the presidency.
In the past few weeks we have witnessed remarkable changes in some of the most difficult and dangerous global nuclear proliferation threats. Rather than heading toward military conflicts, the United States seems to be moving toward negotiated solutions that could end the nascent nuclear weapons programs in Iran, Libya and possibly also North Korea.
President Bush’s February 11, 2004 speech on non-proliferation was a step in the right direction in pursuing a stronger, more effective and more international nonproliferation policy. Many of the initiatives, if implemented, will increase the ability of the United States and the international community to stem the spread of nuclear weapons. It remains to be seen, however, if the President’s strong words will lead to greater funding for and greater international cooperation by the United States on critical non-proliferation efforts.