Policy Papers - April 14, 2007
Nuclear Weapons: The Politics of Non-Proliferation
From the Introduction: The inherent difficulty is that the existing distribution of nuclear weapons capabilities serves the interests of some states but not others (i.e., how you see the nuclear challenge depends on where you sit).
Yet this is not a situation where all points of view are equally valid: the actual detonation of a nuclear weapon would be catastrophic, killing hundreds of thousands of people—a challenge to human and international security, indeed. Thus we need a conception of the nuclear question that assumes an irreducible interest in preventing nuclear use, yet simultaneously acknowledges the intense politicization of the nuclear issue. The fundamental challenge is this: how can we build effective approaches to reducing the risk of nuclear use, in the context of vastly different and competing state interests?
Always difficult, this task has become even more complex in recent years, as some states have acquired nuclear weapons status outside the existing regime treaties, and others—e.g., the United States, Iran, and North Korea—appear increasingly uncertain about whether current multilateral institutions can adequately protect their security. The old mechanisms for controlling nuclear dangers are inadequate, but new or strengthened approaches are not solidly in place. Nor is there agreement about the form of those new or strengthened approaches. Rather, the differences among states are often more salient than their common interests concerning nuclear issues; the international discussion is abrasive and frequently counterproductive.
This paper takes stock of this seeming impasse in multilateral efforts to prevent the use of nuclear weapons. It briefly describes the key policy dilemmas at play, but goes on to argue that the underlying challenges are essentially political, reflecting profound differences in state interests and power. We attempt to understand and characterize those political differences, how they shape different multilateral approaches, and what kinds of leadership imperatives they create.
The Global Observatory
Are Recent Prison Breaks in Nigeria Part of a Southward Expansion by Boko Haram?
Whoever is behind them, these prison breaks signal that Nigeria’s authorities are struggling to maintain the rule of law, not just in the far northeast, but also in the Middle Belt and the southwest.
Key Global Events to Watch in December
A list of key upcoming meetings and events with implications for global affairs.
2014 Top 10 Issues to Watch in Peace & Security: The Global Arena
A list of ten key issues to watch that are likely to impact international peace and security in 2014, compiled by IPI's Francesco Mancini.
The Global Observatory, produced by IPI, provides timely analysis on peace and security issues, interviews with leading policymakers, interactive maps, and more.
December 09, 2014
Small States in a Multilateral World
Despite their size and limited resources, small states have an important and crucial role to play in the multilateral system and can leverage their power through cooperation.
December 02, 2014
Protecting Civilians in Armed Conflict: From Concept to Norm
Five years after the adoption of Security Council Resolution 1894, the concept of Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict (PoC) has become a widely accepted norm at the UN, featuring more and more in Council mandates and becoming a cornerstone of UN missions on the ground.
November 27, 2014
Dialogue on Multilateralism Continues in Geneva
The Geneva launch of the Independent Commission on Multilateralism (ICM) took place on November 27th in the Palais de Nations, the UN headquarters in Geneva which used to be the seat of the League of Nations.
December 15, 2014
Video: Nazila Fathi on the Struggle for Modern Iran
December 12, 2014
Video: Effective Governance in Challenging Environments
September 25, 2014
IPI Remembers Margaret Vogt