Defending Frenemies: Alliances, Politics, and Nuclear Nonproliferation in US Foreign Policy – International Affairs – article

Defending Frenemies: Alliances, Politics, and Nuclear Nonproliferation in US Foreign Policy

James J. Wirtz | International Affairs

2019-11-19

A perennial complaint voiced by disarmament advocates concerns inconsistencies in US non-proliferation policy that have led to a mixed record in halting the spread of nuclear weapons among client and allied states. Sometimes, US administrations move decisively to terminate nuclear programmes. The United States, for instance, managed to shut down South Korean and Taiwanese nuclear weapons initiatives. In the case of Pakistan and Israel, however, US policies were more equivocal and the outcomes were quite different. Although the realities of Cold-War realpolitik were not always aligned with the expectations of non-proliferation champions, debate about US non-proliferation policy often seemed centred on allegations of hypocrisy, rather than understanding how competing demands influenced the US response to the proliferation threat.

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