Policy and Nuclear Proliferation: How Arms Control Encourages Proliferation

Document Type


Publication Date



It is generally accepted that arms control enhances nonproliferation efforts. This article examines interactions between arms control proposals in the near- to mid-term and nonproliferation, and argues that some arms control actually provides incentives for increased proliferation. Specifically, unilateral arms control may lead to increased proliferation. Bilateral arms control has shown little if any impact on nonproliferation efforts. Multilateral arms control, however, may well strengthen the nonproliferation regime (the general regime, not simply the treaty). Another areas of interest is the interaction between the prohibitions on chemical and biological weapons and nuclear proliferation. Here, I argue that retaining the option to respond to biological use with nuclear weapons does not hinder nonproliferation efforts. Finally, I suggest that a unilateral and absolute no-first-use commitment by the United States would actually encourage the proliferation of nuclear weapons.





Tell us how this article helped you.