As painful experience in Iraq, North Korea, Libya and Iran has shown, the rules that govern nuclear exports, safeguard nuclear materials, and control and eliminate nuclear weapons are not self-enforcing. States and international agencies must struggle to mobilize the power needed to enforce and adapt these rules as conditions change.
In order to be successful, threat reduction programs must take into account the opinions of decisionmakers in recipient countries, as well as the lessons learned from threat reduction programs already in place.
The North Korean Nuclear Challenge: Is There a Way Forward?
Amidst bold declarations among the regimes in North Korea and Iran, last week was a bad one for nuclear nonproliferation.
It is now two years since North Korea withdrew from the Nonproliferation Treaty and since Pyongyang restarted its plutonium production program. The results of efforts by South Korea, China, Japan and particularly the United States have failed to convince North Korea to abandon its nuclear program and are now little but an empty shell of a policy. 2005 will be a difficult year.
The new UN report, "A More Secure World: Our Shared Responsibility," addresses emerging threats of the 21st century. It identifies erosion of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, the stagnation of disarmament efforts, illicit nuclear trafficking, and the potential threat of nuclear terrorism major crises of the nonproliferation regime as. The report proposes a multi-layered response to these threats.
The Bush administration plans to make significant additional cuts in the size of US troop deployments in South Korea. Such reductions may leave North Korean leaders with the impression that it is their recently enhanced nuclear capabilities that are driving the American withdrawal and embolden the reclusive state to take provocative actions in the months before to the US election.
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.
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.