Controlling both the horizontal and vertical spread of nuclear weapons has always been a subject of international concern since nuclear weapons began being developed in the early 20th century. There are three main types of weapons of mass destruction: chemical, biological, and nuclear. Although all three types may be proliferated and present a serious threat to international security, the focus is placed on nuclear weapons because of their enormous destructive capacity. In today’s modern international system, the concern is centered on the spread of nuclear weapons to international terrorist organizations and unpredictable rogue states. If actors such as these were to acquire nuclear weapons, the damage that they could potentially enact on the world would be detrimental. As a result, many efforts have been made by the countries that already possess nuclear capabilities to reduce and eliminate nuclear weapons elsewhere.
Treaties such as the Non-Proliferation Treaty, the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaties I and II, and the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty were some of the first major building blocks of the arms control and disarmament regime, particularly concerning nuclear proliferation. This regime was initially put in place by the world’s major powers as an effort to maintain the status quo and have only 5 countries with nuclear weapons. This exclusionary attitude can still be seen in the actions of the “nuclear club” of countries that already possess nuclear weapons. This nuclear club, which currently consists of the U.S.A., Russia, China, the U.K., France, India, Pakistan, and Israel, is constantly trying to confront what is known as the “N+1” problem. The “N” represents the number of states that currently possess nuclear weapons, while the “+1” represents the addition of new states to the nuclear club. The dynamic between these two groups is extremely complicated because each side has a completely different perspective on the situation. This makes non-proliferation difficult to achieve because neither side is willing to consider the perspective side of the other.
A NPT Review Conference was held in 2000 to strengthen the provisions put in place by the NPT in 1968, and multiple proposals for further nuclear non-proliferation were made. One proposal was the development of a Model Additional Protocol, which would empower the International Atomic Energy Agency to conduct more widespread inspections, including unannounced and short notice inspections. This would increase the effectiveness of verification efforts and better ensure that a state is not violating its NPT obligations.
A second proposal was to oppose the transfer of nuclear materials to states outside of the NPT. This would limit their ability to construct a nuclear weapon, but it would also limit their abilities to construct peaceful nuclear fuel cycles that are used as an alternative to environmentally unsound...