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Can the proliferation of nuclear weapons of mass destruction be halted?

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  1. The failure of the Non Proliferation Treaty System
    1. An unfair treaty
    2. A post Cold War world : the powerlessness of the UN
  2. The necessity of a new regulation
    1. An insecure atmosphere: new actors of International Relations
    2. Is the proliferation Security Initiative a good idea?

Proliferation is a traditional issue of International Security and has always been at the heart of strategic analysis. In the last few weeks, the International Community has been worried about the situation in Pakistan. General Musharaff proclaimed a state of emergency and convened general elections. His opponents, both democratic and Islamic, organized their campaigns, and the most famous among them, Benazir Bhutto, was killed in Islamabad. Thus, Musharaff had to cope with the Islamist networks that already control part of Pakistanis territory alone.

The situation is very dangerous for the International Community because Pakistan has been an unofficial nuclear power since 1998, and one of the strongest non NATO allies. In case of an Islamist victory, there is the risk of seeing Al Qaeda ending up with the nuclear bomb.

Thus it is relevant to think about the actual protection against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Is it really effective? In 1963, the five nuclear powers, that happened to be the five permanent members of the Security Council, agreed on the Treaty of Non Proliferation of nuclear weapons (NPT). The Treaty rests on the theory that only a rational state can own the nuclear bomb. Indeed, they assess that each country that will develop a military nuclear program after 1966 will be regarded as criminal under international law. In exchange, they proposed to help all the countries that are willing to develop a civilian nuclear program. Is this protection system sufficient today?

The failure of the Non Proliferation Treaty System:
I assume that the system is a failure because it is illegitimate. In addition, the Treaty has not been designed to face all the changes that took place in International Relations after the end of the Cold War.

An unfair treaty:First of all, the legitimacy of the treaty is patently unfair. Why do some States have the right to develop military nuclear defense while others do not?
Tags: Nuclear Weapon Proliferation, NPT,military nuclear defense

[...] Suspicion of trafficking nuclear materials could be added at this list but it opens the way to a less restrictive interpretation. States could argue that they can stop every ship that they consider as a threat to their security. Even if a new Treaty provided that the ship can be stopped only with an authorization of the Security Council, I assume this principle would not be more effective than the NPT system. In fact, there is the risk that one country may use its veto power. [...]

[...] Some militarily powerful States are now tempted by the use of force as a mean to regulate the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. This is what led the United States to initiate a war in Iraq in 2003. B. The post Cold War world : the powerlessness of the UN This issue was raise by the former American defense Secretary, McNamara. He assessed that nuclear arms were developed during the cold war. The USSR obtained them in 1949, and then launched a program of intercontinental ballistic missiles, which is needed to launch nuclear bombs. [...]

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