Nonproliferation Review November 2007

Volume 14 • Number 3


Debating Disarmament: Interpreting Article VI of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons
Christopher A. Ford

Show/Hide Abstract
The author offers a close analysis of Article VI of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), the treaty’s only article dealing with disarmament, focusing upon both its text and negotiating history, and assesses its applicability as a standard for judging treaty compliance. The author critiques comments on Article VI made by the International Court of Justice in a 1996 case as legally ill founded and conceptually incoherent as a compliance yardstick. The only interpretation of Article VI consistent with its text and history, the author argues, is that it–as it says–merely requires all states to pursue negotiations in good faith; specific disarmament steps are not required. Claims that the 2000 NPT Review Conference imposed new legal obligations for disarmament or altered the meaning of Article VI are found to be mistaken; although the conference could theoretically have adopted interpretive criteria for understanding the meaning of Article VI, it did not in fact do so. Applying his Article VI compliance standard to the case of U.S. compliance, and comparing modern circumstances with those during the Cold War, the author also describes what he says is an excellent U.S. record of Article VI compliance.

U.S.-India Nuclear Cooperation: Better Later Than Sooner
Leonard Weiss

Show/Hide Abstract
On July 5, 2005, President George W. Bush and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh signed an agreement pledging their governments to actions designed to culminate in a formal nuclear cooperation agreement that would end a three-decade U.S. nuclear embargo against India. Although the formal agreement has not yet received final approval from Congress, concerns about the consequences of the agreement, particularly its possible adverse effect on the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and the worldwide nonproliferation regime, have made the agreement controversial. This article traces the events that led to the Bush-Singh meeting, explicates the current situation, examines the arguments for and against the proposed agreement, and makes some preliminary judgments regarding the agreement’s effects on the nonproliferation regime. The failure to prevent India’s 1998 nuclear tests with the threat of sanctions (because the Indians calculated that long-term U.S. resolve was not sustainable) set in motion a chain of events that would ultimately end the nuclear embargo. However, the conditions for a better U.S.-India nuclear agreement–from a nonproliferation perspective–will inevitably arise if the current proposed agreement is not adopted.

The Nexus of Globalization and Next-Generation Proliferation: Tapping the Power of Market-Based Solutions
Kenneth N. Luongo and Isabelle Williams

Show/Hide Abstract
Although globalization has created opportunities for nuclear and biological proliferation dangers to take root and grow, it also has opened the door to new solutions. Original ideas and approaches are needed to develop a stronger, more flexible next-generation nonproliferation strategy that accounts for the increasingly important integration of economic, political, and technological issues. The foundation of this strategy should focus on tapping the power of market-based mechanisms, understanding how commercially driven decisions affect proliferation threats, establishing new partnerships, and forging cohesion among the current nonproliferation mechanisms. The implementation of such a strategy will require forceful leadership, a cultural shift from both policymakers and the range of stakeholders, and consensus building within the international community.

Unwarranted Influence? The Impact of the Biotech-Pharmaceutical Industry on U.S. Policy on the BWC Verification Protocol
Karen Winzoski

Show/Hide Abstract
This article examines the effects that the U.S. biotech-pharmaceutical industry has had on U.S. government policy, specifically on the 2001 decision to reject the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention verification protocol. It concludes that the biotech-pharmaceutical industry’s concerns for the protection of trade secrets contributed to the weakening of the proposed inspection regime, particularly through its demands for managed access. This added to doubts among U.S. policymakers regarding the protocol’s effectiveness. However, this article cautions against blaming industry for the rejection of the verification protocol, when most of the responsibility lies with government. A poorly handled 1994 visit to a Pfizer facility coordinated by the State Department resulted in increased wariness of international inspections within industry. Furthermore, both the Department of Defense and the Central Intelligence Agency had reasons to object to the proposed regime because it could result in the exposure of their own secret biodefense research. Finally, though the biotech-pharmaceutical industry’s lobbying efforts may have led to the rejection of the protocol, it should be expected that any industry will try to minimize regulation. It is the responsibility of government, not industry, to decide the best way to achieve national interests, whether through the enhancement of the biological weapons regime or through the continued support of favored industries. If government chooses poorly, then government ought to be criticized.


Congress and U.S. Nuclear Weapons: Review and Oversight of Policies and Programs
Amy F. Woolf

Show/Hide Abstract
The U.S. Congress, charged with overseeing U.S. nuclear weapons policy and programs, usually addresses such policies and programs through the annual authorization and appropriations process, focusing mostly on questions of how many and what types of weapons the United States should deploy, with little attention paid to questions about nuclear weapons strategy, doctrine, and policy. The oversight process has brought about some significant changes in the plans for U.S. nuclear weapons, including the elimination of funding for the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator study and the shift of that funding into a study of the Reliable Replacement Warhead. But with the focus on authorizations and appropriations, along with the divided jurisdiction over nuclear weapons policy and programs in congressional committees, Congress has not, either recently or during the Cold War and post-Cold War eras, conducted a more comprehensive review of U.S. nuclear weapons strategy, policy, or force structure. Changes in committee jurisdictions could affect the oversight process, but as long as nuclear weapons policy and programs remain a relatively low priority for most members of Congress, and the country at large, it is unlikely that Congress will pursue such a comprehensive debate.


Achieving Nuclear Balance
Ellen O. Tauscher

Show/Hide Abstract
One of the most important questions affecting U.S. national security is the future size of the U.S. nuclear stockpile. While there is clear consensus within the U.S. government on the need to reduce the size of the arsenal, there is none on the best path to achieve these cuts; on the type of deterrent necessary to deal with future threats; or on the size of the production complex needed to support that arsenal. Creating a strategic commission to review these questions, as contemplated in the Fiscal 2008 House Defense Authorization bill, is a necessary first step to establish a sensible nuclear policy. The Reliable Replacement Warhead, which has the potential to transform the complex while preserving the current moratorium on nuclear testing, is a program worth exploring further if it stays within congressionally mandated bounds. As Congress considers both programmatic and policy matters related to U.S. nuclear weapons, it is vital that we also renew and strengthen U.S. leadership on nuclear nonproliferation.

Strengthening Safeguards and Nuclear Disarmament: Is There A Connection?
James M. Acton

Show/Hide Abstract
The nuclear weapon states see International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards as an important means of preventing proliferation and, therefore, of enhancing their own security. Many non-nuclear weapon states are, however, reluctant to accept the IAEA’s Additional Protocol or even consider developing new safeguards instruments. They frequently claim that this is because the nuclear weapon states have failed to make sufficient progress toward their disarmament pledge, as embodied in Article VI of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). This viewpoint discusses whether the nuclear weapon states should adopt a strategy of working toward disarmament as a means of strengthening safeguards. Three questions are explored. First, are the weapon states right to see safeguards as an effective means of preventing proliferation? Second, will progress by the nuclear weapon states toward disarmament strengthen the safeguards regime? Third, what does that actually involve? There is a “political” connection between safeguards and disarmament. The weapon states should seriously consider exploiting that connection, with the aims of encouraging the adoption of additional safeguards by some states and putting pressure on others that use the slow pace of disarmament as an excuse for recalcitrance.


The Atomic Bazaar: The Rise of the Nuclear Poor, by William Langewiesche
Reviewed by Quincy W. Castro

Show/Hide Abstract
The Atomic Bazaar: The Rise of the Nuclear Poor stresses a fatalistic urgency for some of the most pressing arms control problems in a format that is entertaining and accessible to general audiences. William Langewiesche’s primary assertion, that the current nonproliferation regime is untenable and has failed to delegitimize nuclear weapons as the currency of international power and prestige, is intriguing and deserving of serious study. Yet his argument is lost in a variety of anecdotes and hyperbole that are connected by only a few narrative threads. The scope ofThe Atomic Bazaar encompasses nuclear terrorism and black-market weapons, the proliferation of small nuclear powers, and the rise and fall of Pakistan’s A.Q. Khan, yet these explorations are rarely exhaustive. Neophytes in arms control and nonproliferation will find the conclusions compelling and foreboding; Langewiesche deserves credit for his thoughtful and grave treatment of the subject. However, those more widely read may be left wanting a deeper, more comprehensive approach to the book’s primary assertions.


Statements of fact and opinion expressed in The Nonproliferation Review are the responsibility of the authors alone and do not imply the endorsement of the editors, the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, or the Monterey Institute of International Studies.
The Nonproliferation Review ISSN 1073-6700
Copyright © 2007 by Monterey Institute of International Studies