Nonproliferation Regime under Siege, The

Working Paper

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September, 1999

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The nuclear nonproliferation regime was challenged in 1998 by nuclear-weapon tests in India and Pakistan, by medium-range missile tests in those countries and in Iran and North Korea, by Iraq's defiance of UN Security Council resolutions requiring it to complete its disclosure of efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction, and by the combination of "loose nukes" and economic collapse in Russia. Additional threats to the regime's vitality came in 1999 from the erosion of American relations with both China and Russia that resulted from NATO's 1999 bombing of Yugoslavia--with additional harm to relations with China resulting from U.S. accusations of Chinese nuclear espionage and Taiwan's announcement that it was a state separate from China despite its earlier acceptance of a U.S.-Chinese "one China" agreement. Major threats to the regime also came from the continued stalemate on arms-control treaties in the Russian Duma and the U.S. Senate, from a change in U.S. policy to favor building a national defense against missile attack, and from a Russian decision to develop a new generation of small tactical nuclear weapons for defense against conventional attack.

This paper will discuss the effect some of these developments had on the 1999 Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) meeting of Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) parties to prepare for review of the NPT in 2000, and speculate about their likely future effect on the regime.

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