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The Non Proliferation Treaty: Reasons For Its Failiures And Suggestions For Its Improvement And Strenghtening

3997 words - 16 pages

The Cold War which was sparked between the two superpowers that had emerged from the Second World War, namely the United States and the Soviet Union, brought about a massive arms race between the two powers. This arms race included nuclear weapons, which were first developed by the United States during the early 1940's and used in 1945 in two attacks against its Japanese foes in the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Soviet Union, which was an ally of the United States during the Second World War was immensely shocked and threatened by the power of this new weapon and immediately set forth to develop a nuclear weapon of its own. As both sides strove to increase its nuclear weapons ...view middle of the document...

The last provision was particularly important to non-nuclear weapons states which "feared that they would be economically or militarily disadvantaged by the treaty" and therefore wanted "assurances from the states possessing [nuclear weapons] that they would work toward disarmament and would not attack or threaten to attack non-nuclear weapons states."The NPT entered into force in 1970 and review conferences were scheduled at a period of five year intervals. Although some progress was achieved in meeting the goals of the treaty, these could be considered minimal and there was hardly any advance in achieving disarmament. Even the end of the Cold War, which was considered by many as a prime opportunity to have made significant steps towards disarmament did not bring about any momentous changes. At the 1995 Review Conference, the treaty was extended for an indefinite period of time yet the treaty and the non-proliferation regime have been faltering over the past few years, mainly as a result of the actions of the United States and its professed nuclear posture after the terrorist attacks it suffered on 11 September 2001. The withdrawal of the United States from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and its failure to ratify the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty are major barriers to the effective functioning of the nuclear non-proliferation regime and its intentions in regards to its own nuclear program as set out in the 2001 Nuclear Posture Review also pose serious problems for the regime. Only a clear commitment by the United States to work multilaterally towards the reduction of nuclear weapons and the denouncement of their use can foster an environment favorable for the pursuit of the goal of non-proliferation.The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Regime During the Cold War PeriodThe nuclear non-proliferation regime has faced some serious obstacles from its onset. Firstly, several key countries did not join the treaty, of which the most vital was China who felt that the treaty was "inequitable." The fact that some countries were actively working to acquire nuclear weapons and declined to join and conform to the demands of the NPT also challenged the goal of non-proliferation. The countries in this group included Argentina, Brazil, India, Israel, Pakistan, and South Africa. However, three of the countries, namely South Africa, Argentina, and Brazil all joined the NPT and dismantled their nuclear weapons programs at a later date. China also joined the treaty even though it maintains its nuclear weapons program.Another problem that faced the NPT was that of non-compliance by member states. North Korea is one such state that has continually been charged with non-compliance with its agreements under the NPT. Throughout its membership Korea aroused suspicions that it was attempting to develop nuclear weapons and often interfered with the inspections of the agency assigned to assess compliance by NPT members, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Finally...

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