By Ariel Zurilnick
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Facts – Created in 1970
– Over 188 countries have joined over the years
– A review conference is held every 5 years
– $77.5 million has been allotted for both 2005 and 2006 for equipment, services, and training in peaceful nuclear programs
– In September, over 170 world leaders will convene in New York to address a variety of issues, including nuclear disarmament
– Latest conference was in session May 2 – May 27
If the results of a recent United Nations conference are any indication, a universal alarm over the spread of nuclear arms will not be calmed anytime soon. In the past few years, nuclear armaments in several countries have expanded rapidly. Presently, there are no provisions for penalizing these countries or preventing further expansion of their programs.
The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty was created with the intent of “preventing the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology” and promoting disarmament and the peaceful use of nuclear energy, according to the UN website. Despite good intentions, the NPT is severely flawed, namely by its inability to enforce its own provisions and punish violating countries. As the only binding contract concerning disarmament, it is essential that the NPT have power- and right now, it doesnt.
Who Has the Bomb
(and when they got it)
– US (1945)
– Russia (1949)
– China (1964)
– France (1960)
– UK (1952)
– India (1974)
– Pakistan (1998)
When the 2005 NPT conference convened in May, its goal was to eliminate the treatys fatal flaw– lack of action. In the past five years, the treaty has been blatantly disobeyed. North Korea has withdrawn in order to develop a nuclear weapons program. Iran has made its own nuclear program public. Libya attempted to build up its arsenal several times, although eventually abandoning the endeavor.
Each incident went unaddressed and unpunished. With the NPT, countries can join and enjoy its advantages, then bow out when the time is right– usually after financial resources have been obtained and put to irreversible use.
Who Wants the Bomb
(or has it, but unconfirmed)
– North Korea
Discord among member nations was the main obstacle throughout the treaty review and ultimately prevented any final decisions from being reached. Iran accused the United States of purposely allowing the conference to fail in order to develop the American nuclear program. The United States was also denounced for its nuclear-cooperation agreement with Israel, which Iran views as a violation of the treaty and a grave threat to Middle Eastern peace.
This accusation was especially damaging because of the desire to create a nuclear weapon-free zone in the Middle East– a desire that was foremost on the conferences agenda. In addition, Israel has consistently refused to become a member of the NPT, instead continuing to build its program made possible partially through American funds. Until this practice stops, the USs major role with the NPT will be seen as hypocritical by many nations.
Who Has Not Signed The NPT
– North Korea (revoked in 2003)
The greatest incentive for joining the treaty is the abundance of funds at the disposal of member nations. The money is allotted for the development of more sustainable and cost-effective means of producing electricity– i.e. nuclear energy. In 2003, $73.2 million worth of equipment, services and training was made available to member nations. Even more has been allotted for the future.
Such advantages have lead to more and more countries choosing to join, but until the treaty is given the power to not just reward, but to punish, its abilities will always be compromised. The 2005 Non-Proliferation Treaty Conference failed to empower the agreement and failed to show the kind of commitment to disarmament and peace that is desperately needed.
– Has the ability
– Has the missiles
– Claims it has nuclear weapons
– Has not yet tested them
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