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Thinking About Nuclear WeaponsPrinciples, Problems, Prospects$
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Michael Quinlan

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199563944

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199563944.001.0001

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(p.76) 7 Proliferation
Thinking About Nuclear Weapons

Michael Quinlan (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers why the spread of nuclear weapons to new possessors has been generally recognized as dangerous, and then notes the array of instruments, centred upon the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), that has been built up to prevent this. It discusses problems about the asymmetrical character of the Treaty, and brings out that the Treaty embodies three main bargains of which disarmament by the tolerated nuclear-weapon possessors is only one. It acknowledges nevertheless that such disarmament needs to be taken further if whole-hearted support for the Treaty-centred regime, pressure upon problem states like North Korea and Iran, and acceptance of the burdens and constraints which the regime entails are to be maintained, and if the need is to be acted upon, preferably at the 2010 Treaty review conference, to remedy regime weaknesses concerning verification, the right of withdrawal, and reconciling the prevention of wider weapon-proliferation potential with the likely spread of nuclear energy.

Keywords:   disarmament, Iran, North Korea, NPT, nuclear energy, proliferation, review conference, verification, withdrawal

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