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  2. Abstract

In the context of rising regional instability and conflict, along with increased incidents of global terrorism, in a dynamic, uncertain security environment, emerging nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction threats—both state proliferation and terrorism—are seen as growing dangers giving rise to increasing global insecurity. The international nuclear nonproliferation regime, the centerpiece of which is the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT), is essential to current and future non-proliferation efforts and needs to be maintained and strengthened, not replaced. The normative and legal weight of the regime is important for counterterrorism as well as non-proliferation, but it will not likely directly affect the behaviour of so-called ‘rogue states’ and terrorists. Preventing them from achieving their objectives if they attempt to wield nuclear and radiological weapons may deter and dissuade them, as may a credible prospect of punishment. The interaction of non-proliferation and deterrence, so clear during the Cold War history of the NPT, remain crucial parts of an increasingly complex picture.

  • 1

    See Albert Wohlstetter et al., Moving toward life in a nuclear armed crowd? Report to the US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (Los Angeles: Pan Heuristics, 1976).

  • 2

    For a fuller discussion of second-tier suppliers, see Chaim Braun and Christopher F. Chyba, ‘Proliferation rings: new challenges to the nuclear non-proliferation regime’, International Security 29: 2, Fall 2004, pp. 549.

  • 3

    ‘Remarks on the war effort by the President at the Citadel’, The Citadel, Charleston, South Carolina, 11 Dec. 2001,

  • 4

    A report on the international control of atomic energy, prepared for the Secretary of State's Committee on Atomic Energy (Washington DC: US Government Printing Office, 16 March 1946).

  • 5

    For a discussion of the legacy of Atoms for Peace, including the IAEA and the NPT, see Joseph F. Pilat, ed., Atoms for Peace: a future after fifty years? (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press/Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 2007).

  • 6

    ‘Remarks by the President on weapons of mass destruction proliferation’, National Defense University, Ft Leslie J. McNair, Washington DC, 11 Feb. 2004,

  • 7

    See ‘Announcing the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership: press briefing by Deputy Secretary of Energy Clay Sell’, 6 February 2006,

  • 8

    See e.g. A more secure world: our shared responsibility, report of the Secretary-General's High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change (New York: United Nations, 2004); Weapons of terror: freeing the world of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, report of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission (Stockholm, 2006).

  • 9

    See Mohamed ElBaradei, ‘Towards a safer world’, The Economist, 18 Oct. 2003; Multilateral approaches to the nuclear fuel cycle: expert group report to the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, INFCIRC/640, 22 Feb. 2005.

  • 10

    See ‘Remarks prepared for Energy Secretary Sam Bodman’, 2005 Carnegie International Non-proliferation Conference, 7 Nov. 2005,