control has developed a great deal in theory and in practice during and after
the Cold War. After the Cold War, the
issue of arms control was strategically being planned consciously during the
postwar period as an alternative to disarmament. This was being done as a means
of reducing the likelihood of war and to keep states from advancing in their
arms production. Advocates of arms control came as an approach to limit the
hostility between nations1. It’s very unlikely that arms
production could be stopped completely and powers become easily balanced. It is
practically unrealistic and very dangerous for any nation to seek the complete
elimination of weapons, and it would not necessarily reduce the likelihood of
war if there are already present tensions within states. Disarmament had
formerly been seen as an alternative to military strength and reinforcing peace,
arms control was now viewed as an important aspect for the international
community. Arms control agenda seek to create a stable balance of power in
which the forces that cause states to go to war can be properly controlled and continually
regulated2. The emphasis in arms
control is focused on the overall stability instead of completely eliminating
of arms, and proponents do recognize that an increase in weaponry is sometimes
required to preserve a balance of power.
Following a series of arms and
military treaties over the years, the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of
Nuclear Weapons (NPT) is seen as a landmark treaty which had the objective to
“prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to promote
cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and to further the goal of
achieving nuclear disarmament and general and complete disarmament3.” The Treaty entered into
force in 1970 and has a review every five years. So far a total of 191 States
have joined the Treaty, including the five nuclear-weapon States. More
countries have ratified the NPT than any other arms limitation and disarmament
agreement, which is highlights the Treaty’s significance.
central bargain is that non-nuclear weapon states agree to never acquire
nuclear weapons and in exchange the current nuclear-weapon states agree to
share the benefits of “peaceful nuclear technology and to pursue nuclear
disarmament aimed at the ultimate elimination of their nuclear arsenals”4. The existence and power of the NPT
itself are important and one of the main reasons why states join arms control
agreements. When looking at the overall goal of preventing proliferation, it
simply cannot be accomplished by one or a few states acting alone, no matter
how powerful those states may be: Achieving this kind of goal
requires the commitment and cooperation of the international community acting together
cohesively in order to limit the spread, monitor the use of, the technologies
most directly relevant to acquiring nuclear weapons5.
weakening of the NPT — whether through a state’s refusal to join,
withdrawal after having been a party, suspected cheating that is neither
cleared up nor called out, or flouting by nuclear-weapon states of their side
of the “bargain” —weakens the belief of the world community
in attainability of nonproliferation goals and, accordingly, weakens the
will of individual countries to participate energetically in the measures
needed for success.
any government that is concerned about the dangers from the use of nuclear
weapons by either states, insurgency groups, terrorists, as all governments
ought to be, should be doing everything in its power to strengthen the NPT and
nothing to weaken it. The NPT embodies the commitment of the vast majority of
the world’s states to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons into the possession
of additional countries.
Comw.org. (2017). Arms Control in an Age of Strategic and Military Revolution.
online Available at: http://www.comw.org/pda/0511rm11.html Accessed 5 Dec.
(2017). The cold war – Arms Control and Disarmament. online
Accessed 12 Dec. 2017.
(2017). Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) – UNODA.
online Available at: https://www.un.org/disarmament/wmd/nuclear/npt/
Accessed 5 Dec. 2017.
A. (n.d.). The politics of nuclear weapons. SAGE Publications,
J. (2005). Why is the Non-Proliferation Treaty important? — John P. Holdren
| Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. online
Belfercenter.org. Available at:
Accessed 5 Dec. 2017.