Nonproliferation Review March 2009

Volume 16 • Number 1


View this issue’s note from the Editor


View this issue’s contributor bios


Martin Fleck • Jonathan Salem Baskin • Nathan Pyles


Making the Agenda Stick: Lessons Learned From the 2007 NPT PrepCom
Jean du Preez interviews Ambassador Yukiya Amano

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After the conclusion of the 2008 Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) for the 2010 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), the Nonproliferation Review interviewed Ambassador Yukiya Amano of Japan, who presided over the 2007 session of the PrepCom in Vienna. He provided valuable insights into his preparations for the PrepCom and shared his thoughts on some of the most pressing issues that confronted his chairmanship and the PrepCom as a whole. The interview also provides useful perspectives on the future of the strengthened review process.


Nuclear Capabilities in Southeast Asia: Building a Preventive Proliferation Firewall
Michael Malley and Tanya Ogilvie-White

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Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam recently announced that they are launching nuclear energy programs, and Malaysia and the Philippines soon may follow suit. As a result, by 2020, at least three states in Southeast Asia could possess latent nuclear capabilities—the option to pursue military applications of dual-use nuclear technology. Analysis of the nuclear programs, domestic proliferation pressures, and the external threat environment in Southeast Asia leads the authors to conclude that the nuclear intentions of states in that region are entirely peaceful and the probability of future nuclear breakout there is low. However, this finding does not justify complacency. In the long term, the benign outlook for regional security may change, and in the near term weak regulatory regimes present serious challenges to nuclear safety and create opportunities that non-state actors may exploit. To minimize these risks, the authors recommend creating a “proliferation firewall” around the region, which would combine strong global support for Southeast Asian nuclear energy programs with innovative regional multilateral nuclear arrangements.

Coercion or Persuasion? The Bumpy Road to Multilateralization of Nuclear Safeguards
Astrid Forland

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From 1961 to 1963, an interagency debate took place within the Kennedy administration as to whether to use persuasion or more coercive means in order to multilateralize nuclear safeguards, that is, to make the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) the administrator of safeguards on bilateral nuclear exports from the United States. Persuasion as a general rule was deemed preferable, in order to make the many states that had misgivings about IAEA safeguards accept multilateralization. The coercion-persuasion debate followed years of trying to establish a “common front” among Western nuclear suppliers with regard to nuclear safeguards. Disagreement about the intrusiveness of the system proved a major obstacle, but eventually a common position reflecting the need to take international opinion into consideration was agreed. The adoption of the first IAEA safeguards document in 1961 created for the first time a common standard for the application of safeguards. This was a prerequisite to the U.S. policy of transferring to the IAEA the administration of safeguards on bilateral nuclear agreements. The resulting multilateralization of safeguards laid the groundwork for the IAEA to become the universal safeguarder in connection with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons—an unforeseen outcome, since at the outset, IAEA safeguards were perceived as a “holding operation” while waiting for a disarmament agreement.


Albania’s Chemical Weapons Con
Matthew V. Tompkins

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In 2003, the Albanian government declared that in late 2002 it had discovered a heretofore unknown cache of 16 tons of chemical weapons. Tirana requested and received assistance from the West in securing and destroying the materials, a task completed in 2007. Albania has been lauded for its responsible handling of the discovery and for being the first nation to complete the destruction of its chemical weapons under the terms of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). This article argues that the Albanian government has always knowingly possessed the weapons, keeping them a secret until a post-September 11, 2001 international focus on weapons of mass destruction made it politically worthwhile for Tirana to declare and destroy them. The likelihood that the governments of the West turned a willful blind eye to this chain of events is troubling for the credibility of the CWC and confidence in nonproliferation measures in general. Finally, the author recommends measures to avoid and address similar situations in the future.

The Global Nuclear Energy Partnership: Proliferation Concerns and Implications
Jeff Lindemyer

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Since the dawn of the atomic age, the United States has sought to encourage the use of nuclear energy while minimizing the proliferation risks associated with it. The latest U.S. initiative that sets out to accomplish this is the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP), which, in its current form, potentially includes the spread of sensitive nuclear technologies around the globe. This article examines the concerns surrounding the proliferation of these technologies and surveys their history both domestically and internationally. In identifying these concerns, the author argues that GNEP needs to be considered in the context of the Atoms for Peace program; that it erodes the successful thirty-year U.S. position against reprocessing; and that it allows for the spread of technologies that are not proliferation-resistant.


Bracing for Armageddon? The Science and Politics of Bioterrorism in America, by William R. Clark
Reviewed by Milton Leitenberg

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Since fiscal 2001, the U.S. Congress has authorized $57 billion for biological weapons prevention and defense. This is a misallocation of U.S. government priorities and resources and is detrimental to the real needs of U.S. public health, an opinion widely shared among the U.S. public health community. It is propped up, however, by nearly two decades during which government officials and private analysts touted the imminence of a bioterrorism attack, a campaign with serious counterproductive elements. With the exception of the “Amerithrax” attacks in the United States in October and November 2001, attempts by terrorists to produce biological agents have to date been incompetent, with no demonstration of the ability to master the most elementary levels of microbiology. This review essay was prompted by the 2008 publication ofBracing for Armageddon?: The Science and Politics of Bioterrorism in America by William R. Clark.

Spying on the Nuclear Bear: Anglo-American Intelligence and the Soviet Bomb, by Michael S. Goodman
Reviewed by Loch K. Johnson

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Starting in the 1950s, the success of the Anglo-American intelligence effort against the elusive Soviet target began an upward trajectory, based on dramatically improved long-range detection capabilities. London and Washington had been wrong about the timing of the Soviet entry into the atomic age, but the size and the nature of the Soviet nuclear stockpile did not stay hidden from these two Western partners for long. Details of Soviet weapons plans still remained elusive, but by 1958 the United States and the United Kingdom had learned the locations of their adversary’s nuclear facilities and knew how to monitor them day and night. Thanks to their joint advances in intelligence gathering and analysis, the partners could breathe easier, knowing that a Soviet surprise attack was far less likely.

Missile Contagion: Cruise Missile Proliferation and the Threat to International Security, by Dennis M. Gormley
Reviewed John C. Baker

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Dennis Gormley’s new book analyzes the growing importance of cruise missiles for the United States and other countries within the broader context of military, political, commercial, and institutional factors that explain why cruise missiles—particularly land-attack cruise missiles—are increasingly appealing to states, and possibly even terrorist organizations. Gormley addresses issues of interest to multiple audiences—international security analysts, academics, and policy makers. He analyzes the growing global interest in long-range cruise missiles with precision-attack capabilities and the implications for stability in key regions, the underlying factors that encourage or inhibit cruise missile proliferation, and the policy issues that face the United States and other countries concerned about the proliferation of a potentially destabilizing military technology.


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 © 2009 by Monterey Institute of International Studies