paper will focus on the challenges that may occur in order to sustain nuclear
non-proliferation treaty in tact through the eyes of the United States and
having a slight focus on the chronology of United States – North Korea nuclear
and missile diplomacy through the years and the current tensions between the
of this research paper is whether United States policy has helped in preventing
Treaty on the
Nuclear Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) intention is to avoid the
possible danger of nuclear war by preventing a wider proliferation of nuclear
weapons and weapon technology as well as to build up a cooperation between
states to achieve nuclear disarmament. The NPT entered into force on 5th
March 1970 and was led by the United States. In total, there are 191 countries
that have joined the NPT, which includes five states that own nuclear weapons. This
treaty is seemingly the most complex and contentious of all arms control
treaties – in principle and in practice.
The Treaty is
being reviewed every five years. In order to sustain the goal of nuclear
non-proliferation between the member states of the Treaty a safeguards system
has been established – the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), their
primary aim is to verify conformity with the treaty.1
characterizes nuclear weapon states as those who have constructed and tested a
nuclear explosive device before 1st January 1967. It includes United
States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France and China. Four states are known to
have or supposedly have a possession of nuclear weapons such as India, Pakistan
and North Korea that have blatantly tested and bravely stated that they acquire
nuclear weapons, where the fourth state Israel is consciously cryptic towards
its nuclear weapon status.2
In order to enhance global nuclear
non-proliferation and sustain international efforts towards peace and security
a regional approach was to create Nuclear Weapon Free Zones (NWFZ).3
Challenges to nuclear non-proliferation treaty
mentioned in the introduction the nuclear non-proliferation treaty is
imaginably one of the world’s most successful and meaningful global security
regime and at the same time it is the most vulnerable regime of all.
nuclear non-proliferation treaty faces many challenges. Governments not always
recognize the benefits of non-proliferation, often seen as an issue between the
North and South. Perennial tensions between non-nuclear weapon states and nuclear
weapon states cause many challenges that the treaty faces. The treaty has been
under severe pressure for some period.4
declining commitment to non-proliferation that is shown by the non-conformity
cases by states such as Iraq, Romania, Libya, Iran, Syria and now North Korea
as well as political hesitancy by a large number of governments or leastways
Since the first
case of non-compliance case of Iraq in 1991, there have been 8 cases of
non-compliance in total, five were recognized as serious and three were
considered less serious cases.5
Nuclear non-proliferation is such a vital component of maintaining
international security as well as peace, which makes exposing nuclear
non-compliance crucial, this has been proven by the existing history with North
Korea and Iran.6
When reporting a
country that has raised suspicions on non-compliance a report to the Security
Council has to be made, the report has to follow the following five steps:
Agency inspectors report any non-compliance to
the director general, via the deputy director general for safeguards.
The director general transmits the report to the
Board of Governors.
The board makes a formal finding of
The board calls upon the state in question ‘to
remedy forthwith any non-compliance which it finds to have occurred’.
The board reports the non-compliance to all
members and to the Security Council and General Assembly of the United Nations.7
In many cases the
main reason of states becoming a non-compliance state is lack of report given
to the International Atomic Energy Agency, for example the South Korea case of
2014 when it failed to report to the agency about the on-going experiments
involving nuclear materials. In the case of Egypt 2005 where the state also
failed to report to the agency about numerous nuclear activities, these
failures of reporting the agency about the use of nuclear materials such as
uranium and plutonium is a matter of concern for the International Atomic
spread of sensitive nuclear technologies – enrichment and reprocessing of
nuclear technologies, especially through the black market which includes even
nuclear weapon design. There have been a number of attempts on stealing uranium
to make a dirt bomb. As stated by the IAEA there have been approximately 2000
documented attempts of smugglers attempting to steal uranium between 1995 and
2012, not including the non-documented cases. Terrorist would need at least 25
kilograms of uranium to a nuclear device. Almost 100 percent of enriched
uranium is stored at military bases around the world where the security level
should be very high.8
The level of security that should be devoted to keep nuclear weapon elements is
expected to be very high but states manage to steal and buy them through the
black market. The whole is to be found within the system itself.
undeclared nuclear programs is a major challenge. There are practical limits to
the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) verification capability.9
The third point overlaps with the second point but is as important. Detection
of undeclared nuclear programs is as essential as preventing the rise of
nuclear weapons/elements in the black market. Term undeclared nuclear programs refers
to nuclear or nuclear related activities which the state has not informed the
IAEA. Often the inability to nail a state of undeclared nuclear activities lays
with the lack of evidence that has to be collected over a large territory.10
If we look at the
possible future of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, there is a possible
effect of implications of nuclear expansion; the non-proliferation regime is at
risk of becoming weakened by the non-complying states, black market and
undeclared nuclear programs. Safeguards can provide a limited affirmation of
undeclared nuclear programs.
greatest challenge for the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty nowadays is how to
handle and prevent treaty violations, the same vivid example of Iran’s
violations of the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty is good enough to prove that
treaty violation is happening and will continue if not increase.
should be taken to advocate commitment to the treaty or if not the
non-proliferation regimes, future as such is at stake
United States challenges to nuclear
For the past 25
years, the amount of states that own nuclear weapons there are nine of them.
Before arriving at nine states that own nuclear weapons there were few more.
These states have acted differently when it comes to maintaining peace and
obeying the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty:
Egypt, Brazil and Argentina voluntarily
discarded nuclear weapons development program;
South Korea, Libya and Syria were compelled by military and diplomatic means to
give up the quest;
Belarus, Ukraine and Kazakhstan had inherited
nuclear weapons from the former Soviet Union and willingly gave them up;
South Africa is the only state that before
disposing all of nuclear weapons built a small arsenal.
mentioned a big challenge for the whole world and United States including is
black market. Despite all of the recorded cases of nuclear smuggling and the
lasting interest of terrorist groups that desire to get their hands on them, no
burglar have obtained enough material to build a bomb.11
centuries security is unpredictable and often uncertain mostly because of such
states as Russia, North Korea, China and Iran. Following steps and actions
taken by these states are unpredictable. A significant role in achieving the
non-proliferation goals plays the cooperation between Russia and China, but the
cooperation could be threatened by U.S. decline of bilateral relations between
Beijing and Moscow.
advance has to been made in lessening, combining, and securing conceivably
defenceless weapon-usable nuclear materials around the world.12
inside the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty participation has come to new extent
with numerous non-nuclear weapon states– baffled by the pace of nuclear
disarmament supporting a bargain to boycott nuclear weapons, which adversaries
of the boycott accept will debilitate the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty and
delegitimize the nuclear prevention that permits U.S. non-nuclear allies to abandon
Challenges for the Trump administration
The Trump administration
acquires a worldwide atomic non-proliferation management that has been more
viable and tough than numerous eyewitnesses expected. Trumps administration may
witness stress situations. To guarantee that it will keep on serving security
of the United States and its allies the new administration should address these
should start with dealing with North Koreas nuclear and missile capabilities.
When it comes to addressing the ongoing threats from North Korea, the new
administration has two choices either put maximum pressure on Pyongyang and
increase the amount of sanctions towards it. China would be pressured to join
U.S. on the ride that would follow by U.S. working hand in hand with Japan and
South Korea to strengthen their alliance. The best-case scenario is that by
increasing the amount of sanctions towards Pyongyang North Korea would rein or
abandon their nuclear and missile programs.
choice or option that U.S. has on their hand now is using the already mentioned
pressure combined with negotiations. This tactic is a 50/50 chance of success,
there is no assurance but in comparison to the first option that U.S. has
regarding threats from North Korea, the second one stands a rather higher
chance to bring success in building an alliance with China and South Korea.
eliminating any possible way of Iran’s road to nuclear weapons. The problem
situation with Iran hides not only in them obtaining nuclear weapons but also
in preventing Iran from its influence elevation in the Middle East.
sustaining momentum in nuclear security. The already made progress in nuclear
security field needs to be kept and sustained which is a crucial challenge for
the Trump administration. Improving relations with Russia may play in favour of
rebuilding bilateral cooperation on nuclear security. While trying to restore
the relationship between U.S. and Russia of the nuclear security United States
should expand reciprocal security relationships with other major nuclear power
U.S. – North Korea nuclear and missile
There have been countless negotiations not only from the part of United
States but from the entire international community with North Korea about
nuclear and missile development and export of ballistic missile technology that
in majority have ended with no result.
One of the major falls in terms of cooperation was North Korea withdrawal
from the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty that they announced in 1994. Officially,
North Korea withdraw from NPT in 2002.
The second considerable occurrence was in 2005 when North Korea claimed
to give up all nuclear weapons and nuclear programs and re-join the Nuclear
Non-proliferation Treaty, this plan broke down in 2009.14
In 2015 sanction towards North Korea were expanded. In 2016, North Korea
conducts multiple nuclear tests; UN Security Council adopted Resolution 2270
condemning the nuclear tests of 2016.
Past decade has been quite eventful when it comes to U.S. and North Korea
relations, the diplomatic relations have noticeably worsened since U.S. current
president Donald Trump is in control.
When North Korea repeatedly has planned, and made nuclear missile launches
in 2017 U.S. became cautious and sets up sea-based radar equipment to detect
missile launches by North Korea. North Koreas leader Kim Jong Un threatens U.S.
of attacking them if attempts of removing the current leader of North Korea
will continue. U.S. president did not remain in debt of an answer to threats
from North Korea and warned North Korea (Pyongyang) if the threats towards U.S.
continue North Korea can expect being of being wiped off the global map.
Latest and sixth nuclear weapon test that occurred this September was
claimed to be eight times more robust then the nuclear bomb that was dropped in
United States has not only been concerned about weapons of mass
destruction situation in North Korea but about the current human rights situation
in North Korea, that is critical. Repression of freedom of speech and political
prison camps is only a small part of breach of human rights that occur. With
the White House mostly focused on the nuclear issue, Congress has at times
taken the lead on shaping U.S. policy toward North Korean human rights.16
No significant improvements have happened and seems that U.S. and other NGO’s attempts
to make North Korea a democratic or at least move them towards that path, stop
the stagnation of the nation has failed. When receiving criticism towards human
rights record North Korea responds with equal criticism towards U.S. human
the slow and not happening progress NGO’s and United Nation agencies still
provide North Korea with different humanitarian assistance such as food.
Humanitarian aid from United States is not required since 2011.17
Challenges to nuclear
non-proliferation trough Realist, Liberalist and Constructivist point of view
If we look to
the current situation of nuclear non-proliferation treaty and the present
conflict with North Korea through the prism of a realist theory then
international and national security is one of the main four principles that
realists follow. The so called “high politics” are considered to be military
security and strategic issues, everything else is considered to be “low
politics”. Realists argue that interstate relations have a tendency to clash as
well as for realists surviving is one of core elements of international
politics. Other states have to always be seen as a potential threat and the
state has to be ready to defend itself as we live in an anarchical world, a
self-help system in other words.18
maintaining longevity of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty should be one of
the principle targets of national and international security nowadays.
specifically look towards the ongoing threats between U.S. and North Korea then
U.S. should as previously mentioned raise the level of sanctions and combine it
with negotiations to achieve that North Korea withdraws nuclear weapons and
Realist theory claims
that the world is without central authority or in other words we live in an
anarchical world and by not having a central power that would protect us,
dictate rules the only possible way to achieve maximum security is by achieving
maximum power. States, great powers thrive to get more power over time. One of
the reasons that U.S. military capabilities are so mighty and the budget for
military research and equipment is augmented every year. U.S. wants to be the
most powerful state in the world.19
The role of
nuclear weapons for realists is identified as the highest weapon, which it for
obvious reasons is. Nuclear weapons shall be used as the last instrument of
defence and those states obtaining nuclear weapons can use them as an insurance
of states security.
are often divided into different subcategories such as defensive and offensive
realists. These two have significantly different views on military weapon
realists believe in weapons and nuclear weapons have somehow become the key
element, the last straw of security. This notion is increased by the conditions
realists live by the thought that if all states are highly military capable
there won’t be any need of beginning a war as the costs of war would reach an
extensively high price that in the long run would not pay back. In the 21st
century it is considered that wars and invasions often are not financially
profitable by any means. The circumstance of the worldwide framework gives
motivating forces to development just under specific conditions. Defensive
realists see the development conduct to give security as a mixed-up conviction.
They propose that states seek after direct systems as the most ideal approach
to guarantee security.21
In contrary to
realist school of thoughts liberals do not believe that the state is a unitary
actor, they claim that democratic states a less prone to go to war then
non-democratic states, nevertheless democratic state may go to war with
non-democratic state if the situation would require it, but a democratic state
would not start war with another democratic state. Democratic states are more
driven to trade, alliances if needed, increase of military forces is not an
important point within the liberalist point of view.
assumptions go around economic factors that play a big role; not only the state
is an important actor in world politics; society is the mirror of the state and
the last, already mentioned state is not always a unitary actor.
Liberals truly believe
that international institutions, democracy and economic interdependence reduce
the chance of military conflicts. Democracy reduces the chance of having an
armed conflict as a democratic state is based on institutions. Economic
interdependence equals peace in the liberal school, the costs must be
determined and later on evaluate the possibility and the need of starting a
military intervention of any kind.
It might be
already obvious but Liberals consider that interdependence in international
politics will provide peace and help us prevent any chances of conflict. They
also think that by owning nuclear weapons between the nuclear states somehow
would prevent these states from starting a war. They claim that the possession
of nuclear weapons would somehow control the behaviour of states.22
Looking at the
current situation in international politics this liberal claim seems not to be
implying – two major powers, two states of owning nuclear weapons are in a
chance of beginning a nuclear war.
As society is the
mirror of the state it has to keep satisfying the needs of the society therefor
bypass the high costs of nuclear weapon creation and find an alternative. Despite
the fact that expansion of atomic weapons is viewed as a costly undertaking, it
has a potential for double utilize. The innovation of atomic weapons could be
used to fabricate nuclear energy resources.
justify their name by one of their main assumption being the fact that the world
is always under construction, it is a case of becoming as opposed to being.
They believe in a possible change that definitely would not be simple but is
possible. Agents in charge may differ, they may be states as well as non-states
actors. Constructivists do not privilege any particular agent, actor or unit of
three assumptions of Constructivist school of thought is seeking to
problematize the identities and interests of states; view international
structure in terms of social structure filled with ideational factors to
include norms, rules, and law and the last assumption is that Constructivists
underscore the impossibility of pure objectivity.
As everything is
seen as constructed anarchy is no exception – anarchy is what states make of
it. Perception of a state is believed to have made anarchy.23
The role of
nuclear weapons according to Constructivists in international politics turns
out to be more imperative as the risk perception depends on other states
estimation. Nuclear weapons end up noticeably fundamental in light of the fact
that the dread of weapons destruction control is self-evident.
To conclude I
would like to say that looking at whether or not U.S. has helped in nuclear
non-proliferation around the world, the answer is yes. Nevertheless, the fact
that U.S. nowadays has a smaller influence then it had before in the field of
non-proliferation it still is a big player in mobilizing broad international
support for strengthening the multilateral pillars
of the non-proliferation regime and in using the weight of its bilateral
relationships to advance non-proliferation goals. Prevention of nuclear
proliferation between the nuclear weapon owning states and nuclear terrorism
may become more and more challenging in the years ahead. The Non-proliferation
treaty has to be taken as the major priority of not only Trumps administration
but the international politics in general.
In light of these methodologies
nuclear weapons are viewed as the instrument to increase national interests.
Both the pragmatist and leftist trust that nuclear weapon is an instrument to
accomplish state’s national enthusiasm since both of the speculations are concentrated
to the material gains that can be obtained. In the meantime, the constructivist
school of thoughts sees nuclear weapons as the apparatus to impact the
competitors approach. This condition
manufacture in light of the gigantic devastation energy of atomic weapon.
Conversely with the two past speculations, the constructivists stresses to the
thought, not the material pick up. The contrast between these speculations is
the best approach to utilize this instrument is utilized as a part of request
to pick up the goals. In reality, atomic weapon has an imperative and uncommon
part in the global governmental issues.