VOLUME LVI- Number 2

Alexia Fitz

Abstract: Since the rapid development of nuclear weapons in the 1940s, many international laws have been put in place to combat these dangerous weapons. Many treaties created by the international community seek to limit the use, stockpiling, threat of use, production, and sharing of nuclear weapons, including the Treaty of Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). State compliance is crucial for international security regarding the success of nuclear treaties. Some assumed that because of the destructive nature of nuclear weapons, states are interested in ratifying and complying with treaties that work to eliminate these weapons. However, as time has progressed, states have been less willing to be a party to nuclear treaties as seen with the lack of state support for TPNW. Similarly, members of the international community fear that state compliance could decrease and lead to the possible use of nuclear weapons. This project asks, what is preventing progress on eliminating nuclear weapons? This research argues that the existence of an alliance dilemma interferes with state compliance related to nuclear treaties. Despite the fact that these treaties and alliances are established to increase state security, alliances actually increase the possible scenarios for and chances of nuclear warfare. This result occurs because nuclear alliances bring nuclear states and non-nuclear states together under one umbrella, meaning that these weapons could be engaged as a result of conflict between states that do not possess nuclear infrastructure themselves. This argument creates a new way of examining the success of nuclear treaties beyond simply looking at compliance by nuclear states.

Keywords: Nuclear Weapons, Proliferation, Alliances, State Compliance

About the Author: Alexia Fitz is a senior at Towson University double majoring in Political Science and International Studies with a minor in Human Rights and History. She plans to attend George Washington University in the fall for a Master’s in Security Policy Studies with a concentration in U.S. National Security.

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