Nuclear weapons and international security
in Curbing the spread of nuclear weapons
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In 2000, almost every state in the world (all except Cuba, India, Israel and Pakistan) publicly subscribed once again to the principle that the spread of nuclear weapons to states not already possessing them is dangerous to international security and that it should therefore be energetically discouraged. The occasion was the latest review conference of the 30-year-old Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, the chief international instrument for restricting nuclear proliferation, and for reversing such proliferation as has occurred, if its Article 6 is taken seriously. But the correctness of this principle is not self-evident. An important intellectual challenge comes from Kenneth Waltz, writing most recently in 2003. The basis of his challenge is a generalisation of what he regards as a significant lesson of the Cold War years. This chapter deals with nuclear weapons and international security, starting with Barry Buzan's concept of a ‘security complex’. It concludes by looking at two broad approaches to securing the mutually beneficial outcome of non-proliferation: the centralised approach and the decentralised approach.

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