Negative Security Assurances and the Nuclear Posture Review   [open pdf - 90KB]

Concerns that the United States will violate its NPT negative security assurances are being blown out of proportion. Critics seem to extend these assurances to states that have overt or clandestine nuclear arsenals and to states that violate international norms and treaties against developing, stockpiling or using biological and chemical weapons. Clearly the Bush administration has voiced no intention to be the first to use nuclear weapons against states that lack weapons of mass destruction. The administration's preference is not to use nuclear weapons -- hence the stated intention in he NPR to use conventional weapons in a "strategic" context. The NPR debate, however, does focus attention on a disturbing international trend. Even as the United States and Russia reduce their strategic nuclear arsenals, other state and non-state actors continue in their quest to bolster their nuclear, chemical and biological weapons capabilities. Whenever policies that are intended to foster disarmament -- such as the negative security assurances associated with the NPT -- confront flagrant efforts to obtain weapons of mass destruction, the connection between policy and reality will be strained. The inability of disarmament policies to cope with these circumstances has more to do with bad situations, not the bad intentions of U.S. policymakers.

Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Naval Postgraduate School, Center for Contemporary Conflict: http://www.ccc.nps.navy.mil
Media Type:
Strategic Insights (July 2002), v.1 no.5
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