Nonproliferation Review March 2006

Volume 13 • Number 1

INTERVIEWS

Keeping the NPT Together: A Thankless Job in a Climate of Mistrust
An interview by Jean du Preez with Ambassador Sergio Duarte

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The Nonproliferation Review (NPR) recently interviewed Ambassador Sergio de Queiroz Duarte of Brazil, who presided over the 2005 Seventh Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). Ambassador Duarte discussed his views on the outcome of the conference and the future of the treaty. He provided NPR with valuable insights into the outcome of the conference and also shared his thoughts on some of the most pressing issues confronting the NPT today, including the Middle East, nuclear terrorism, elimination of the threat of highly enriched uranium in the civilian nuclear sector, proposals to limit access to the nuclear fuel cycle, nuclear disarmament, and negative security assurances. Blaming the failed conference on a general lack of political commitment among states parties and their unwillingness to negotiate common solutions, Ambassador Duarte stressed that “the conference should face squarely its own failure without my attempting to disguise or sugar-coat the deep differences of view, which must be resolved with courage and determination by the states parties if they want the treaty to remain effective.” He emphasized that if states fail to act on their overriding interest in upholding the NPT, especially if states parties continue to ignore or disregard their nonproliferation and nuclear disarmament obligations, some states might come to believe that their security interests are no longer served by the treaty. The future prospects of the NPT would then “look dire indeed.”

ARTICLES

Rebel Without a Cause? Explaining Iraq’s Response to Resolution 1441
Maalfrid Braut-Hegghammer

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Decisionmaking processes leading to the acquisition of nuclear weapons by democratic states have served as the basis for theories about nuclear proliferation. In contrast, less is known about how a totalitarian regime responds to immense external pressure to abolish unconventional weapons it considers crucial for its security and survival. This article will analyze how we can explain Iraq’s behavior after the passing of Resolution 1441 and during the United Nations inspections in 2002-2003.

U.S. Space Weapons: Big Intentions, Little Focus
Theresa Hitchens, Michael Katz-Hyman, and Jeffrey Lewis

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Under the administration of President George W. Bush, Pentagon rhetoric has increasingly articulated a more robust vision of space as a future battlefield. This analysis details some of the ongoing spending for research and development programs identified in current U.S. Air Force, Missile Defense Agency (MDA), and Defense Advanced Research and Planning Agency (DARPA) planning and budget documents related to “space control” and “space force projection.” This analysis finds that current support for “space superiority” and “space control” systems remains largely rhetorical–with little actual budgetary support. Unclassified technology development programs included in the six-year Future Years Defense Plan are a decade or more away from deployment. Programs related to offensive counterspace, space-based missile defense interceptors, and space-based strike total slightly less than $300 million in FY ’06 funding. We conclude significantly higher expenditures in research and development would be required to develop and deploy killer micro-satellites, space-based missile defense interceptors, and military space planes.

International Regime of Fresh Fuel Supply and Spent Fuel Disposal
Chaim Braun and Michael May

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Recent events in Iran and elsewhere demand a reevaluation of the need for increasing nuclear fuel supplies and assuring reliable flow of fuel to nuclear power user states vis–vis the need for strengthened security for all countries against the use of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). The right of countries to a guaranteed supply of nuclear energy for peaceful uses must be balanced with the global community’s desire to limit flows of nuclear material and sensitive nuclear facilities that could create opportunities for nuclear proliferation. This article proposes elements of an international regime of fresh fuel supply and spent fuel disposal that will guarantee fresh fuel supplies to countries honoring their obligations under the Treaty for the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), while reducing concerns about diversion of spent fuel for weapons purposes. A specific application to countries with small pre-commercial uranium enrichment plants is also proposed.

VIEWPOINTS

An Assessment of International Nuclear Nonproliferation Efforts After 60 Years
Nabil Fahmy

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Discussions amongst practitioners and pundits are incriminating evidence of the failure to deal with the threats and dangers of proliferation. The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) has made an important contribution in years past, but its success remains limited as it has become an unambitious static regime, solidifying prevailing inequities or a status quo that will not stand. Some states are bound to reassess their commitments or to hesitate in making new commitments in nuclear or other areas without a change of course by the international community and more rigorous efforts. Ultimately, regional and international peace and security will be jeopardized by such inaction. The Middle East region, for example, is a striking example of the failure of global and regional nonproliferation efforts. If the nuclear proliferation concerns in the Middle East continue with the emergence of a nuclear state, this will have a fundamental effect on the security paradigm in the region.

Strategy for a New Nuclear Age
James Doyle

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America’s current nuclear weapons strategy, force structure, and doctrine contribute to the threat of nuclear terrorism in several ways. First, the U.S. nuclear stockpile presents opportunities for nuclear terrorists to seize the materials they need. Second, U.S. nuclear forces remain a key justification for Russia’s maintenance of similar nuclear forces that are less well protected. Third, America’s continued embrace of nuclear weapons encourages and legitimizes other states to seek nuclear weapons that they will have difficulty securing from terrorists. The national security interests of the United States would be better served by a strategy to shrink the global footprint of nuclear weapons and provide the highest possible levels of security for the most minimal possible deterrent forces. Given the inability to secure nuclear weapons and materials perfectly or to eliminate terrorism in the foreseeable future, reducing the global inventory of nuclear weapons and materials is the most reliable way to reduce the chances of nuclear terrorism.

REPORTS

The “K” Project: Soviet Nuclear Tests in Space
Anatoly Zak

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The Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union fueled an unprecedented race in the perfection and proliferation of nuclear weapons. In its turn, the ever-growing reach of nuclear technology across the land, into the air, and below the sea demanded elaborate and risky tests. Before the two sides agreed to restrict themselves to underground nuclear test activities, ever more powerful nuclear blasts were conducted at high altitudes and in space. This report summarizes available information on the Soviet high-altitude nuclear tests within the so-called “K” Project, conducted during 1961 and 1962. The K Project was only a relatively short episode in the decades-long Soviet effort to develop missile and space defense systems, but one that has not received adequate attention in light of current debates about weaponizing space.

Examining Israel’s NPT Exceptionality: 1998-2005
Gerald M. Steinberg

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Israel’s exceptional status as a nonsignatory to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) has been an increasingly salient issue, particularly during the intense debate over universality in the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference, and again following the Indian and Pakistani tests in 1998. This analysis argues that despite these events, Israel’s diplomatic position has not weakened significantly in the past decade. The factors that have led to this outcome include changes in the political and strategic environment, including the Iraqi and Iranian nuclear programs in violation of the NPT, as well as Israeli engagement in different frameworks such as the Conference on Disarmament and the UN, and in bilateral strategic dialogues with key powers. On this basis, we will consider the degree to which the policy is likely to be maintained in the face of the most recent developments, including developments in Iran and the precedent set by the U.S.-India nuclear agreement.

 


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The Nonproliferation Review ISSN 1073-6700
Copyright © 2006 by Monterey Institute of International Studies