Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty
The Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons is the cornerstone of the nonproliferation regime. It entered into force in 1970, and 190 states have subscribed. The treaty covers three mutually reinforcing pillars—disarmament, nonproliferation, and peaceful uses of nuclear energy—and is the basis for international cooperation on stopping the spread of nuclear weapons. The basic bargain at the core of the NPT is sound: Countries with nuclear weapons will move towards disarmament; countries without nuclear weapons will not acquire them; and all countries can access peaceful nuclear technology.
More: Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty
What if I could name 3 or 4 irrefutable reasons to come to a skeptical conclusion to worry this deal with Iran is inadequate that have nothing to do with Obama, or Netanyahu, or the Mullahs at all? The reasons are the now numerous nuclear breakout countries and the repeated failures to effectively enforce the above treaty over my lifetime. My reluctant conclusion? the headline.
Ironies abound. Israel was most likely the very first and in ways worst violator of non proliferation. Not just designs, or testing. But full deployment of a large strategic deterrence force. Subs, missiles, and aircraft. Yet Israel is the only nation to take military action for non proliferation if only in a selfish sense. Osirak back when and a reactor in Syria a couple years ago. Perhaps deeply involved in a deadly spy war of the same motive.
Consequences for the state of Israel over it’s warheads? Significant at first but faded fast.
So let me ask the “gorilla in the room” question that will make some very uncomfortable. What if Israel had chosen against or been deterred from nuclear weapons? Did that first big breakout not utterly undermine the moral authority of any and all follow on attempts to enforce the NPT?
India. Pakistan. Both have now deployed strategic weapons on missiles. Consequences? Similar to Israel and again faded over time. Nothing stands in the way of further developments in missiles or warheads by any of the advanced breakout nations.
North Korea-Designed, tested and now claims deployment.
Japan is a salient example of success if self imposed. They have all the technology and material they could need for warheads. But they choose not to, at least so far. But here is the rub-The thing most likely to drive japan to arm up is not Russia, or China. It’s North Korea.
Conclusion-non proliferation is merely a secondary priority in American, UN and NATO International policy. Further, for each breakout nation we get at least one nation suddenly wanting similar weapons, Nuclear weapon technology acts like a contagion.
Observe that shorter term issues such as party politics and domestic elections serve either accidentally or perhaps with some cynical purpose to distract all those involved from the initial priority. Containment provides political cover only until it fails. Then we face the consequences of a double failure in critical policy. I can’t think of better examples than NK and Iran.
At some point the answer becomes all nations stepping back from those weapons. World body inspections of the vast increase in nuclear energy that simply must happen to get us of oil and coal. Yes even us WW2 superpowers will have to step back from the brink we built. A good first step would be to allow international inspections of existing weapons stock and platforms.
In the end nuclear non proliferation will probably have to be forced upon at least one violator. But only if we put long term ahead of short term.
Nuclear detonation simulator
CNS Experts in the Media:
Jeffrey Lewis, “A Skeptic’s Guide to the Iran Nuclear Deal,” Foreign Policy
Jeffrey Lewis in: “What Everyone Gets Wrong about Iran Nuclear Negotiations,” vox.com
Aaron Stein in: “This is an Astonishingly Good Iran Deal,” vox.com
Ferenc Dalnoki Veress, “Guide to Iran Nuclear Deal ‘Parameters’ Sheet,” Iran Fact File
Michelle Dover, “Jargon in the Iran Nuclear Deal Discussions,” Iran Fact File
Jeffrey Lewis in: “The Iran Nuclear Talks: a Very Simple Guide,” vox.com
Jeffrey Lewis in: “Framework for Nuclear Deal Tougher on Iran than Expected,” South China Morning Post
Jeffrey Lewis, “Proposed Deal Far Tougher on Iran than expected, Nuclear Experts Say,” Seattle Times
Leonard Spector, “Iran’s Nuclear Smuggling Legacy: Finders Keepers?,” Yale Global Online