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The Nonproliferation Complex


For more than four decades the twin goals of nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament have been an almost unchallenged objective of the “international community.” Like drought prevention, or bans on the use of child soldiers, nonproliferation remains a mostly uncontroversial, largely universalistic initiative to which few object. The proponents of nonproliferation are fond of stressing that the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) has more signatories than any other arms control treaty. Who would not want to prevent more states from obtaining nuclear weapons? And who, for that matter, would oppose the ideal of a world free of such weapons?

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Edward Hallett Carr , The Twenty Years' Crisis, 1919–1939: An Introduction to the Study of International Relations (London: Macmillan, 1946), p. 82

John Simpson and Darryl Howlett , “The NPT Renewal Conference: Stumbling toward 1995,” International Security 19, no. 1 (1994), pp. 4171

Tariq Rauf and Rebecca Johnson , “After the NPT's Indefinite Extension: The Future of the Global Nonproliferation Regime,” Nonproliferation Review 3, no. 1 (Fall 1995), p. 29

Darryl Howlett and John Simpson , “Nuclear Proliferation: The Evolving Policy Debate,” Contemporary Security Policy 20, no. 3, 1999, p. 209

Brad Roberts , “From Nonproliferation to Antiproliferation,” International Security 18, no. 1 (1993), pp. 139–73

Robert Gilpin , War and Change in World Politics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981)

Stephen Brooks , G. John Ikenberry , and William Wohlforth , “Don't Come Home America: The Case against Retrenchment,” International Security 37, no. 3 (2012), pp. 751

Anne Harrington de Santana , “The Strategy of Non-proliferation: Maintaining the Credibility of an Incredible Pledge to Disarm,” Millennium 40, no. 1 (2011), pp. 319

William Walker , “Nuclear enlightenment and counter-enlightenment,” International Affairs 83, no. 3 (2007), pp. 431–53.

George Perkovich , “Bush's Nuclear Revolution: A Regime Change in Nonproliferation,” Foreign Affairs 82, no. 2 (2003)

Mark Fitzpatrick , “Non-Proliferation and Counter-Proliferation: What is the Difference?Defense & Security Analysis 24, no. 1 (2008), pp. 7379

Jeffrey W. Knopf , “Nuclear Disarmament and Nonproliferation: Examining the Linkage Argument,” International Security 37, no. 3 (2012–2013), pp. 92132

Nina Tannenwald , The Nuclear Taboo: The United States and the Non-Use of Nuclear Weapons Since 1945 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007)

Benoît Pelopidas , “The Oracles of Proliferation: How Experts Maintain a Biased Historical Reading that Limits Policy Innovation,” Nonproliferation Review 18, no. 1 (2011), pp. 297314

Francis J. Gavin , “Politics, History and the Ivory Tower–Policy Gap in the Nuclear Proliferation Debate,” Journal of Strategic Studies 35, no. 4 (2012), pp. 573600

Charles L. Glaser , “The Flawed Case for Nuclear Disarmament,” Survival 40, no. 1 (1998), pp. 112–28

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Ethics & International Affairs
  • ISSN: 0892-6794
  • EISSN: 1747-7093
  • URL: /core/journals/ethics-and-international-affairs
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