The NPT and Power Transitions in the International System

T. V. Paul
  • January 1998, Springer Science + Business Media
  • DOI: 10.1007/978-1-349-26053-9_4

The NPT and Power Transitions in the International System

Why is it important?

The renewal of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) in perpetuity in May 1995 was driven partly by a desire on the part of the nuclear weapon states (NWS) to permanently legitimize their positions as major powers in the international system. Fortuitously for the NWS, the opposition to the Treaty had declined substantially by 1995 with the joining of a number of erstwhile opponents to its ranks, especially South Africa and Argentina. Brazil, another longstanding opponent of the NPT, had initiated regional and bilateral non-proliferation initiatives along with Argentina, effectively agreeing to behave like an NPT signatory state.1 The success of the US-led coercive diplomacy toward North Korea and Iraq in capping their nuclear weapon programmes, at least in the short run, also strengthened the NPT by the time the extension conference was held in New York.

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