The Grand Bargain of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and the by mifei


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                                Chapter 7

                                The Grand Bargain of the
                                Nuclear Nonproliferation
                                Treaty and the Rules of the
                                Nuclear Game Today

                               The year 2008 was filled with anniversary commem-
            orations and remembrances of the many epochal historic events that had
            taken place four decades earlier, during the seminal year of 1968:
            The Tet offensive in Vietnam, which for the first time caused many
            Americans to comprehend that this was a war we might actually lose;
            the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., and the riots that ensued
            around the country; the assassination of leading presidential candidate
            Robert F. Kennedy two months later; the melee at the Chicago Demo-
            cratic convention; the black power salutes of Tommie Smith and
            John Carlos at the Mexico City Olympics; the tumultuous three-way
            November presidential election and the victory of Richard M. Nixon.
            And—at the very end of the year, on Christmas Eve—the flight of
            Apollo 8 from the earth to the moon, and the first view that any humans
            had ever been granted of our single, borderless, breathtaking planet,
            lonely and fragile and whole, suspended among the blazing stars.
                 Not to mention the 1968 opening of John Hersey High School in
            Arlington Heights, Illinois.
                 Yet one anniversary, that largely escaped public notice in 2008, may
            have consequences in the end greater than any of these.

                The 1968 Deal
               After you finish reading this chapter, try an experiment. Visit a Star-
            bucks, or some locally owned alternative, and talk to a hundred people

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              waiting in line. There are always people waiting in line at these places.
              Tell them that on July 1, 1968, world leaders in Washington, London,
              and Moscow signed something called the Treaty on the Nonproliferation
              of Nuclear Weapons, commonly known as the NPT. Then ask each
              person to tell you what it says. In this era of vast civic disengagement,
              probably about ninety will respond, “I don’t know. I never heard of
              it. But my mocha grande yaya is ready and I’ve got to go get my dry
              cleaning now.” Of the remaining ten, probably eight or nine will tell
              you, “It’s about preventing the spread of nuclear weapons. It’s about
              keeping countries like North Korea and Iran from getting the Bomb.”
                   Those eight or nine respondents will be half right. In the NPT, the
              human race endeavored to offer a permanent solution to the great prob-
              lem of the nuclear age. The grand bargain of the treaty was that the
              many nuclear have-nots agreed to forego nuclear weapons, while the
              few nuclear haves agreed to get rid of their nuclear weapons.
                   No, that is not a misprint. More than forty years ago, the U.S. gov-
              ernment really did commit itself to eliminate its entire nuclear arsenal,
              and, in conjunction with the other nuclear weapon states, to abolish
              nuclear weapons from the face of the earth forever.
                   The NPT does not just impose nonproliferation obligations on
              countries such as Iran, Syria, and Libya. It also imposes disarmament
              obligations on us. The treaty requires all nuclear weapon states “to pursue
              negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to a cessation of
              the nuclear arms race at an early date, and to nuclear disarmament . . .
              under strict and effective international control” (article 6). If anyone
              perceives any ambiguity in those words, she needs only turn to the
              treaty’s preamble, which states that the signatories are “desiring to fur-
              ther the easing of international tension and the strengthening of trust
              between States in order to facilitate the cessation of the manufacture of
              nuclear weapons, the liquidation of all their existing stockpiles, and the
              elimination from national arsenals of nuclear weapons.” It was the first
              time since the dawn of the age of atomic weapons, nearly a quarter-
              century earlier, that the human race had formally expressed its intent to
              bring that age eventually to a close.
                   “The NPT is supposed to lead to a nuclear-free world,” says Ben
              Sanders, a member of the Dutch delegation to the 2000 NPT Review
              Conference. “The non-nuclear countries see it as a bargain which the
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            weapons states have failed to keep.”1 “The NPT does not simply aim to
            maintain the nuclear status quo,” says Ambassador George Bunn, who
            served on the original U.S. negotiating team in the late 1960s. “Article
            VI . . . requires that the original five nuclear weapon states pursue effec-
            tive nuclear disarmament measures.”2 “The NPT is based on a core
            bargain under which all the non-nuclear-armed countries have agreed
            they would not acquire nuclear weapons,” says former president Jimmy
            Carter. “In exchange, the five nuclear-armed countries have agreed
            to take good faith disarmament steps, with the eventual goal of the
            complete, worldwide elimination of nuclear weapons. The Treaty has
            been remarkably successful on the first part of the bargain, but not so
            successful on the second.”3

                  The NPT for Dummies
                 The NPT was signed in 1968 by three nuclear weapon states—the
            United States, the USSR, and the United Kingdom—and by fifty-nine
            non-nuclear weapon states. For various reasons the nuclear weapon
            states France and China did not sign the treaty until 1992, though they
            did pledge in 1968 to adhere to its terms and, for the most part, did so.
                 By 1992, the signatories had expanded to not only these five nuclear
            weapon states but a total of 183 non-nuclear weapon states. It is the
            most nearly universal treaty in all of human history, surpassing even the
            U.N. Charter. Only four states remain outside the treaty regime, and all
            possess nuclear weapons: India, Pakistan, Israel, and North Korea, which
            was once a member but withdrew in 2003. Article 10 permits such
            withdrawal if a state party concludes that “extraordinary events . . . have
            jeopardized the supreme interests of its country.” As I will argue in
            Chapter 8, North Korea could make quite a good argument that for
            them, during the Bush era, that was indeed the case.
                 The full bargain of the NPT is actually a bit more complicated than
            “we won’t get them if you’ll get rid of them.” One way to grasp the
            essentials of the treaty is to examine what both sides put forth as their
            part of the deal. What do the non-nuclear weapon states give or give
            up? Two things. Two enormous concessions.

              ■   The non-nuclear weapon states pledge to remain non-nuclear
                  weapon states indefinitely into the future. That, of course, is
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                    what many believe to be the only goal of the treaty: to prevent
                    nuclear weapons from passing into more and more hands. The
                    pledge appears in article 2, which says that the non-nuclear
                    weapon states commit not to “receive,” “manufacture,” or
                    “otherwise acquire” nuclear weapons.
               ■    In addition, the non-nuclear weapon states pledge to provide
                    reports on all their peaceful nuclear activities to the IAEA,
                    allow international authorities to inspect peaceful nuclear work
                    to ensure that it doesn’t become nuclear weapons work, and
                    allow significant intrusions upon their sovereignty. It is crucial
                    to recognize that this duty applies only to the non-nuclear
                    weapon states. The treaty imposes no obligation upon the
                    nuclear weapon states to report anything about their nuclear
                    activities, peaceful or otherwise, or allow any intrusions upon
                    their sovereignty. Article 3 commits non-nuclear weapon states
                    “to accept safeguards . . . for the exclusive purpose of verifica-
                    tion of the fulfillment of its obligations assumed under this
                    Treaty with a view to preventing diversion of nuclear energy
                    from peaceful uses to nuclear weapons.”

                    The nuclear weapon states make several pledges in return.
               ■    They agree that the non-nuclear weapon states can pursue civil-
                    ian nuclear programs. According to article 4, the non-nuclear
                    states possess an “inalienable right” to develop “nuclear energy
                    for peaceful purposes.”
               ■    The nuclear weapon states agree to assist the nuclear programs
                    of the non-nuclear weapon states, by providing technologies for
                    nuclear energy and other commercial nuclear products. Article 4
                    says that the nuclear weapon states commit “to facilitate . . . the
                    fullest possible exchange of equipment, materials, and
                    scientific and technological information” for non–weapons-
                    related nuclear projects, and that they “shall cooperate” with
                    the non-nuclear weapon states for the “further development of
                    the applications of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.”
               ■    The nuclear weapon states also agree not to launch a nuclear
                    attack on any non-nuclear weapon state. (I will discuss the
                    agonizing history of this promise later in the chapter.)
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              ■   Finally, the nuclear weapon states agree that they will eventu-
                  ally eliminate their nuclear arsenals entirely in order to bring
                  about a nuclear weapon–free world. This provision appears in
                  article 6. As your experiment at Starbucks will tell you, it
                  remains widely unknown to the public to this day.

                  The Grand Bargain:
                  Repeatedly Reaffirmed
                 The parties to the NPT have formally and frequently restated their
            intentions to fulfill these promises. The treaty entered into force in
            1970, two years after it was signed, but did not commit the parties to its
            terms forever. Instead, it was set to be reviewed and reaffirmed twenty-
            five years later, in 1995. Otherwise, by its own terms, it would expire.
                 According to everyone who attended the 1995 NPT Review Con-
            ference, the dissatisfaction with the nuclear status quo was quite palpa-
            ble among both the non-nuclear weapon states and the many civil
            society advocates who showed up to agitate. These parties sensed that
            the NPT’s two-tier structure was in danger of becoming permanent, and
            that the nuclear weapon states did not ever intend to fulfill their article 6
            obligation to engage in nuclear disarmament. Both the non-nuclear
            weapon states and the peace agitators were determined to let the nuclear
            weapon states know that they would not stand for this attitude, and that
            nuclear apartheid was not indefinitely sustainable.
                 For their part, the nuclear weapon states desperately wanted the
            treaty to be extended indefinitely. That was the ace in the hands of the
            non-nuclear weapon states, and they played it well. By agreeing to
            extend the treaty, they were able to extract several tangible commit-
            ments in return. As a way to pursue the implementation of article 6, the
            nuclear weapon states agreed to a set of “Principles and Objectives for
            Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament.” (Recall the emphasis in
            Chapter 2 on the unbreakable connection between non-proliferation and
            disarmament.) These included completing the negotiation of a Compre-
            hensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) within one year; commencing the
            negotiation of a new treaty to ban the worldwide production of
            weapons-grade fissile materials; and working to establish a zone in the
            Middle East that would be free of nuclear weapons, other weapons of
            mass destruction, and their delivery systems.

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