Future of Global denuclearization: Interview with Dr Andrew Futter

Academics, and students alike are all seeking to understand the route that nuclear development will undertake in the future- ‘Will proliferation accelerate? Who wants the bomb and why? How can the nuclear weapon states and non-nuclear weapon states prevent proliferation? Is the spread of nuclear weapons throughout the world inevitable?’

It is simply a case of uncertainty; ‘the future of nuclear proliferation is a political rather than strictly a technical question’– and I think it is safe to say that nothing is for certain when it concerns politics.    A leading academic who specialises in the field of nuclear proliferation has kindly given his insight regarding the future of nuclear non-proliferation.

Dr Andrew Futter is a senior lecturer in International Politics at the University of Leicester. His research is focused primarily with contemporary nuclear weapons issues and how emerging technologies impact nuclear strategy, stability and arms control. He has published widely on nuclear issues, including his books; ‘The Politics of Nuclear Weapons’ and ‘Ballistic Missile Defence and US National Security: Normalisation and Acceptance after the Cold War’, as well as a range of journal articles such as ‘Iranian nuclear aspirations and strategic balancing in the Middle East’.

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Francis J. Gavin article review.

This post will review an article written by Francis J. Gavin on Nuclear proliferation and non-proliferation during the Cold War, making it one of the most relevant articles to this blog. F. Gavin received a masters and a Ph.D. in diplomatic history, and is now the first Frank Stanton Chair in Nuclear Policy studies and a professor in Political sciences at MIT. Nuclear strategy and arms control is one of his main interests and area of study. Showing how qualified and trusted his writing is and how relevant the article is. Continue reading “Francis J. Gavin article review.”

South Africa and the NPT

South Africa’s nuclear capabilities are ambiguous, both in terms of its reasons for developing the bomb and the secrecy surrounding the development. It has been suggested that South Africa’s development of the bomb was linked entirely to national ambition. It is perhaps plausible that South Africa developed the bomb simply to be as technologically advanced as possible, in order to equal great international superpowers, like the US and Russia. This mentality was enhanced by South Africa’s isolation in the 1970s and 80s, due to its domestic turmoil caused by the apartheid movement, making South African government more determined to prove themselves on an international scale.

Another perhaps more pragmatic reason for South Africa’s nuclear development was the political and military advantage of having nuclear weapons. The bomb for South Africa meant security; having a nuclear arsenal that could be revealed at the last minute would ensure foreign intervention, not necessarily support, if there was ever to be a Soviet attack on South Africa, given its anti-communist stance. This interpretation would explain the covert nature of South Africa’s nuclear weapons program as these plans would require secrecy in order to be successful. Continue reading “South Africa and the NPT”

Horizontal vs. Vertical proliferation.

Horizontal proliferation.

Horizontal proliferation is the spread of nuclear weapons to new countries by banning the trade of nuclear arms and to stop any capability of producing nuclear weapons. From the first successful nuclear detonation in New Mexico in 1945 the spread of nuclear weapons has posed a serious threat that America sought to stop to best of their ability, with refusing to share this new technology in contrary to their previous agreement even with their close allies in Great Britain as they felt it was too much power. However, it can be seen earlier on that although they did not share this new technology it wasn’t till the 1960’s that they began to start to realise that they needed to come to an agreement with the rest of the world on how to stop proliferation. This came with the form of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty of 1968 banning the trading of nuclear weapons with states that did not have them, and to focus efforts towards finding sustainable energy resources rather than weapons. With all the countries in the world that had nuclear weapons at the time the signing the agreement it seemed like a success. Continue reading “Horizontal vs. Vertical proliferation.”

NATO and Nuclear Sharing


nato-logoThe concept of the US, with such an impressive nuclear arsenal, sharing its nuclear weapons with non-nuclear states seems to completely defy the original aims of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT). Is it perhaps alarming then, that a significant international military alliance with twenty-eight members, two of which are nuclear weapon states, subscribes to such a theory?

The United States has had a nuclear presence in Europe since the 1950’s. In spite of this, several ideas were proposed in the 1960’s to develop a separate NATO nuclear force that could be shared amongst non-nuclear states. These however, never came to fruition, as non-nuclear NATO members were happy to rely on the security of the United States’ weapons to ensure their nuclear deterrence was maintained.

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Arms Control Association ‘Assessing Progress on Nuclear Nonproliferation and disarmament’ (2016) Accessed: 9th December, 2016. Available at: https://www.armscontrol.org/files/2016_ReportCard_reduced.pdf

Nuclear Nonproliferation efforts in the 21st Century.

2016 has been quite a gut-wrenching year for so many people. From the sheer number of deaths to beloved celebrities, to the 2016 UK ‘EU Referendum’ most commonly known as ‘Brexit,’ and to the recent US Presidential election, in which it’ll be Donald Trump taking reigns of arguably the most powerful nation on this planet. Throughout the year there have been numerous reports of North Korea, and their advancements in Nuclear Power, most specifically in the weapons department. I mean, for such a relatively closed off nation, how advanced is it? We keep seeing reports from various MSM outlets that Kim Jong Un has tested a ‘Hydrogen bomb’ but just how much can we truly believe reports like this? I suppose nations have to take this as solid truth that rogue nations are building up an arsenal of nuclear weapons. Who gives the right to disallow the likes of North Korea, Israel and Pakistan the abilities to develop Nukes, but nations such as the UK, US and Russia allowed to develop them for ‘a deterrence?’ Is it just a matter of racism, on the basis that Westerners are more advanced than those in the East? Or is it simply because the Arsenal size that the US, Russia, France, the UK and China possess could already destroy everything on this planet, twice over, and that the time and money spent on developing these weapons could be used to actually help the earth out. That is essentially the main focus of Nuclear Nonproliferation. To prevent the spread of Nuclear Weapons, and for nations to come together, for the greater good of all life on earth and to make life a brighter place for the future generations.

Continue reading “Nuclear Nonproliferation efforts in the 21st Century.”

Who can or cannot own a nuclear warhead?

Under the Treaty on the Non – Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons nine member states are known to possess an inventory of warheads. Five of the nine states are bound to the treaty (North Korea estranged itself in 2003 and India, Pakistan and Israel are considered “Non-Signatory”) These states are as follows; the USA, the Russian Federation, United Kingdom, China, France, Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea.

Ever since 1968, when the treaty was brought to international attention it has been open to signatures, with 1970 marking the year a signature was considered mandatory.

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Is the USA truly committed to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty?


The extent to which the United States of America upholds their commitment to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty has often been subject to scrutiny. Though a considerable number of states has ratified the Non-Proliferation Treaty more than any other arms limitation and disarmament agreement, this fact alone does not provide enough evidence to display the extent of commitment by any particular party involved. As the headline suggests, the scope of this analysis will focus primarily on the extent to which the United States has remained compliant with the obligations regarding the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

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Stability vs. instability

Since the mid-1900s, we have witnessed several countries introduce the nuclear bomb to their defence strategy. This is commonly seen as being a dangerous prospect as nuclear war could potentially be the end of the world as we know it today. This therefore suggests that nuclear proliferation causes an air of instability between the world’s superpowers; through the threat that owning a nuclear weapon creates. This “intense standoff between two countries, ‘without direct conflict’ is what is known as the stability-instability paradox“.

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