How bad is the Non-Proliferation Treaty?

Military analysis.
May 3 2005 5:57 PM

The Real Nuclear Option

The Non-Proliferation Treaty is a mess. We have to save it anyway.

(Continued from Page 2)

Some wannabes will not be bought off, of course; they simply want nukes. In those cases, the treaty must be amended to provide an enforcement clause—and, harder still, an enforcement agency. Some have proposed eliminating Article X, which allows a country to abrogate the treaty. The problem is, all treaties have an exit clause; it's an acknowledgement that the countries haven't signed away their sovereignty.

Yet this dilemma forms the core of the problem. It may well be that, in order to stop or seriously curtail the proliferation of nuclear weapons, countries must sacrifice a little bit of sovereignty.


This has already taken place, to a small extent, with the NPT's "Additional Protocol," a measure that allows the International Atomic Energy Agency to conduct short-notice inspections of any site where it believes nuclear activity might be going on. (Before the Additional Protocol, the IAEA could inspect only sites that the host country had "declared" to be nuclear facilities.) This measure went into effect in 1997, and since then 65 countries have signed it.

The signatories should discuss extending this principle. It's time to discuss, for instance, forming a multinational expeditionary force equipped and empowered to invade or bomb the nuclear facilities of a country that has either clearly violated the NPT or abrogated it without a reason of legitimate self-defense.

And to get the bold gestures going, President Bush should attend the review-conference and announce that he is canceling all U.S. programs for new nuclear weapons.

But now we're plunging into fantasy. The dreadful thing is that, without such plunges, we're likely to see more nuclear-armed countries—some of them led by terrible people—in the years to come.



Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

I Am 25. I Don’t Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.

The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I Am 25. I Don’t Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.

Republicans Want the Government to Listen to the American Public on Ebola. That’s a Horrible Idea.

The Most Ingenious Teaching Device Ever Invented

Tom Hanks Has a Short Story in the New Yorker. It’s Not Good.

Brow Beat

Marvel’s Civil War Is a Far-Right Paranoid Fantasy

It’s also a mess. Can the movies do better?

Watching Netflix in Bed. Hanging Bananas. Is There Anything These Hooks Can’t Solve?

The Procedural Rule That Could Prevent Gay Marriage From Reaching SCOTUS Again

  News & Politics
Oct. 20 2014 8:14 PM You Should Be Optimistic About Ebola Don’t panic. Here are all the signs that the U.S. is containing the disease.
Oct. 20 2014 7:23 PM Chipotle’s Magical Burrito Empire Keeps Growing, Might Be Slowing
Oct. 20 2014 3:16 PM The Catholic Church Is Changing, and Celibate Gays Are Leading the Way
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I Am 25. I Don't Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 20 2014 7:15 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 9 A spoiler-filled discussion of "Flatline."
Brow Beat
Oct. 20 2014 9:13 PM The Smart, Talented, and Utterly Hilarious Leslie Jones Is SNL’s Newest Cast Member
Future Tense
Oct. 20 2014 4:59 PM Canadian Town Cancels Outdoor Halloween Because Polar Bears
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Oct. 20 2014 11:46 AM Is Anybody Watching My Do-Gooding? The difference between being a hero and being an altruist.
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.