Nonproliferation Review March 2014

Volume 21 • Number 1


View this issue’s contributor bios


Tanya Ogilvie-White • David Santoro • David D. Palkki • Avner Golov


On the Road to the 2015 NPT Review Conference: An Insider’s Perspective of the 2013 NPT PrepCom
William C. Potter interviews Ambassador Cornel Feruta

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The second session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2015 Review Conference (RevCon) of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) highlighted two issues in particular— progress toward a Middle East Weapons of Mass Destruction-Free Zone and the Joint Statement on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons—that may not only greatly affect the health and vitality of the NPT and the 2015 RevCon, but possibly also have implications for the international nonproliferation regime as a whole. Dr. William Potter, director of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, interviewed Ambassador Cornel Feruta, chairman of the 2013 PrepCom, to discuss these and other issues related to the meeting and the future of the treaty and its review process.


Economic Competition and Nuclear Cooperation: The “Nuclear Renaissance” Revisited
Jeffrey S. Lantis

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The number of bilateral nuclear cooperation agreements surged during the “nuclear renaissance” of the past decade. This proliferation is only partially explained by the prevailing approaches that focus on strategic imperatives. To supplement these explanations, this study draws on neoliberal models of economic competition to posit that bilateral agreement negotiations also exhibit conditions of “uncoordinated interdependence” and maneuvering to gain market share. Case evidence suggests the contours of supplier state bids for civilian assistance are determined at least as much by considerations about economic competition as they are by positive strategic goals. In addition, this study identifies several cases of cooperation where there appears to be little or no strategic motive for export agreements. The study concludes that patterns of economic competition and the influence of peers in defined competitive spaces alter material payoffs and impact policies. It also identifies a surprising role for principled restraint in dampening strategic and economic competition in some dyads.

The Relative Efficacy of the Biological and Chemical Weapon Regimes
Jason Enia and Jeffrey Fields

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The biological and chemical weapon nonproliferation and disarmament regimes are often put forward as models of what the nuclear nonproliferation regime could (or should) be. But are these regimes effective? If so, is one stronger and/or more effective than the other? What is it that makes them relatively stronger than the nuclear nonproliferation regime? In this article, we return to and expand upon a framework for assessing regime health and effectiveness. We utilize this framework to engage in a comparative analysis of the chemical weapon (CW) and biological weapon (BW) nonproliferation regimes, respectively. Our analysis reveals that these two regimes are comparatively healthier than their nuclear counterpart. While some of their behavioral features might be troubling—such as the disputes over stockpile destruction of CW—these tend to be mitigated by the presence of a strong norm against possession and proliferation of both CW and BW. This norm is adequately embedded into the existing institutional features of the regimes in ways that do not exist in the nuclear nonproliferation regime.


Confronting the “Perpetual Menace to Human Security”: Openness as a Tool to Enable Nuclear Disarmament
Zia Mian and Alexander Glaser

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Nuclear weapon states historically have attached great secrecy to their nuclear weapon and fissile material production programs and stockpiles, despite warnings that this would fuel fears, handicap informed debate and decision making, and drive arms races. As evidenced by the “Action Plan on Nuclear Disarmament” agreed upon at the 2010 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) Review Conference, however, the international community now sees greater transparency about nuclear weapon and fissile material stocks as necessary for enabling and monitoring progress toward nuclear disarmament. To support this effort, the International Panel on Fissile Materials has proposed a step-by-step program for weapon states to declare their inventories, production histories, and disposition of nuclear warheads and fissile materials, and to set up joint projects to develop methods for verifying these declarations. This openness initiative is described here, and could be adopted at the 2015 NPT Review Conference, laying a basis for negotiating verifiable deep reductions in nuclear arsenals and their eventual elimination.


Serious Rules for Nuclear Power Without Proliferation
Victor Gilinsky and Henry Sokolski

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The authors propose five principles for addressing the major deficiencies of the current treaty- based approach to nonproliferation. These involve: effectively closing the door to withdrawals from the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT); defining which nuclear technologies fall within the NPT’s “inalienable right” provision, so as to maintain a reasonable safety margin against possible military application; expansion of International Atomic Energy Agency inspections to include greater readiness to use its “special” inspection authority; creation of an NPT enforcement regime, to include a secretariat; and universalizing the NPT so as to apply to all states, while creating a path for current non-parties to come into compliance. There is no illusion here about the prospects for the adoption of this approach. At a minimum, the world needs to be frank about the gap between nuclear programs and current nonproliferation protection. Encouragement of greater use of nuclear power should be predicated on closing that gap.


Phantom Menace or Looming Danger? A New Framework for Assessing Bioweapons Threats, by Kathleen M. Vogel
Reviewed by Gregory D. Koblentz

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What biological weapon threats does the United States face? How do advances in biotechnology affect the threat? The answers to these questions have so far been dominated by what Kathleen Vogel of Cornell University calls the “biotech revolution” frame, which emphasizes the technological aspects of biological threats. Vogel mines the rich literature on science and technology studies to provide a refreshing new perspective for assessing biological threats. Vogel’s new paradigm, the “biosocial” frame, goes beyond technology to take into account the role of social factors in shaping biological weapon threats and our responses to them. The book uses case studies of synthetic biology, the Soviet biological weapon program, and US intelligence on Iraq’s biological weapons to demonstrate the overlooked influence of social and organizational factors on the development of biological threats. Based on this research, the biodefense community needs to dramatically shift the way it assesses and prepares for biological threats.

Politics and the Bomb: The Role of Experts in the Creation of Cooperative Nuclear Non-Proliferation Agreements, by Sara Z. Kutchesfahani and The Politics of Nuclear Non-Proliferation: A Pragmatist Framework for Analysis, by Ursula Jasper
Reviewed by Anne I. Harrington

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Two new books contribute to a growing literature on nuclear politics. Offering detailed case studies of states that have renounced, disarmed, or rolled back nuclear weapon programs, Ursula Jasper and Sara Kutchesfahani analyze the political processes and agreements that states create instead of creating the next Bomb. Kutchesfahani’s extensive interviews result in rich descriptions of how cooperative security arrangements develop in practice. Her case studies include Brazil and Argentina’s development of the Brazilian-Argentine Agency for Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials (ABACC), and the US-based Cooperative Threat Reduction program that assisted in the denuclearization of Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Belarus. Where these two texts differ is in their relative theoretical contributions. Whereas Kutchesfahani stays within established disciplinary boundaries, Jasper introduces a novel approach. Drawing her theoretical resources from American pragmatism, Jasper studies specific “procurement decisions” in Switzerland and Libya.


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.

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