To what extent is the NPT an effective tool for limiting the spread of nuclear weapons? In what ways has it succeeded and in what ways has it fallen short?
Role of NPT in limiting the spread of nuclear weapons
Nuclear weapon attack is one of the most dangerous threats ever to international security today. Nuclear proliferation is the process that deals with the process of constructing or preparing nuclear weapons by different countries for protection in war or any uncontrolled conflicts. Many countries are participating in nuclear weapon attacks, like Israel, India, Pakistan, France, the United Kingdom, and many others. This attack or incident was responsible for mass destruction in different places and also disturbed the environment’s components. Most states with nuclear weapons follow or maintain some policies that usually permit their first use in conflict. They signed or agreed to pledge to use that weapon only when required and not for their benefit.
Many sources concluded or reported the use of nuclear weapons for biological, chemical, or conventional attacks. The states with the most potent and conventional military support, like the United States, also retain these weapons as their first option for an attack against the enemy. The NFU pledge, first made by China in 1964, decided that no state should use nuclear weapons as its first option in any conflict. United States had never followed or declared this NFU policy and remains the only country to use nuclear weapons twice in a war against Japan in 1945 (cfr.org, 2018).
NPT, or Nonproliferation Treaty, played a vital role in the global nonproliferation regime and established a robust and comprehensive framework based on some essential principles (cfr.org, 2021). The primary objective of this treaty is to prevent any spread of nuclear weapons, and as a result, it will help promote peace and harmony worldwide. The three primary pillars that are set to be obtained from the implementation of this treaty are disarmament, nonproliferation, and peaceful use of any nuclear-related technologies. According to this treaty, no nuclear power must transfer nuclear weapons technology to any non-nuclear weapon states. Also, no non-nuclear armed state should develop any nuclear weapons technology by any means or plan to participate in any event related to it. The other key point added by this treaty is that every non-nuclear state using nuclear energy must safeguard and conclude an appropriate treaty with the IAEA for further inspection. NPT also focused on restricting nuclear weapon states to pursue negotiation in order to end this long nuclear arms race.
According to sources, almost 16 nations agreed and signed the treaty to follow this approach and planned to stop using nuclear weapons without its necessity. NPT faced its most significant challenge during the war between the US and Russia, and hawkish leaders planned to add or rebuild nuclear arsenals for the war. NPT also designated five different parties as Nuclear-weapon states (NWS), and that includes China, France, the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, and the United States. The other 185 signatories out of 190 who belong to the parties of NPT are classified as non-nuclear weapon states. The four states that never signed this treaty were India, Israel, Pakistan, and South Sudan, and some were not in favor of prohibiting nuclear weapons altogether.
The first NPT review conference was held in the year 1975, and the draft text of this conference underlines the significance of the systematic and progressive effort steps for the effective implementation of disarmament. This step included some essential strategies that helped provide greater transparency, reducing the operational status of nuclear weapons and limiting the role of nuclear weapons in all states. The Non-proliferation treaty is one of the most effective treaties implemented in history (armscontrol.org, 2015). It includes many positive security guarantees and provides a legal and political framework that successfully helped dozens of nations end nuclear weapons war. NPT helped protect the southern hemisphere from nuclear weapons by making them free from all those critics and also played an essential role in the security of South America and Africa (theatlantic.com, 2016). Some states, like Iran and North Korea, paid high penalties for not following the recommendations of the NPT, and some were ostracized for their actions (theatlantic.com, 2016).
Some of the best strategies included in this treaty are to enforce non-nuclear weapon states to allow the International Atomic Agency to inspect their civil nuclear facilities. That played an essential role in ensuring the safe use of nuclear energy and not disturbing the peace and harmony in other states. America has almost 7,000 nuclear weapons, and Russia, this country counts for almost 95 percent of nuclear weapons worldwide. This amount is sufficient to result in massive mass destruction and can have a dangerous impact for years. Some report concludes a reduction in the use of nuclear arsenals from the Cold War, which is now reduced to a higher percentage. The humanitarian initiative that NPT proposes was a successful initiative to underpin all the efforts that help reduce or eliminate nuclear weapons use. Since 2010, states like Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, and Mexico have been asked to report NPT on the progress of disarmament to check whether all the treaty commitments were followed, and most of them were denied or denied did not report.
NPT remains the most successful approach in reducing nuclear weapon attacks to some percentage and promoting the peaceful use of nuclear energy worldwide. It is a legal document signed or agreed upon by nuclear and non-nuclear weapon states abiding by some rules and regulations. In the current generation, technologies have made remarkable progress or development. So all states must abide by rules and regulations set by NPT to keep the world safe from destruction.
armscontrol.org, (2015), The NPT: Looking Back and Looking Ahead, Retrieved from: https://www.armscontrol.org/act/2015-07/features/npt-looking-back-looking-ahead [Retrieved on: 06-12-2022]
cfr.org, (2021), Nuclear Proliferation, Retrieved from: https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/no-first-use-and-nuclear-weapons [Retrieved on: 06-12-2022]
theatlantic.com, (2016), What Should the World Do With Its Nuclear Weapons, Retrieved from: https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2016/04/global-nuclear proliferation/478854/ [Retrieved on: 06-12-2022]
cfr.org, (2018), ‘No First Use’ and Nuclear Weapons, Retrieved from: https://www.cfr.org/global-governance-monitor/#!/nuclear-proliferation [Retrieved on: 06-12-2022]