In September 2021, Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States unveiled a landmark security partnership known as AUKUS. AUKUS will give the United States a formidable tool to deter Chinese aggression by providing Australia with nuclear-powered naval submarines (SSNs). Nonetheless, AUKUS poses significant legal risks because it raises questions about compliance with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).
This article seeks to contribute to the burgeoning debate on space diplomacy by examining the historic interplay between diplomatic discussions on outer space and nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament. It studies three significant cases since the Cold War, when space technologies constituted a significant topic in diplomatic exchanges and in advancing foreign policy objectives related to global arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation. The cases trace early negotiations between Washington and Moscow on using satellites to detect nuclear detonations, to multilateral attempts at establishing an International Satellite Monitoring Agency, and conclude with a study on the use of satellite imagery in inspections under the auspices of the United Nations Special Commission on Iraq.
Since its establishment, the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) has strived to increase convergence among EU member states. Yet, convergence remains elusive and scholars have started to explain the emergence of differentiated cooperation resulting from multiple internal EU crises. We posit that the convergence in the EU member states with respect to nuclear weapons has been fundamentally altered by the humanitarian turn to nuclear disarmament. This has led to a crystallization of differentiated subgroups among the member states, whose membership coincides with that of informal groupings active in the broader nuclear nonproliferation regime. Combining quantitative data on resolution sponsorship at the Non-Proliferation Treaty review process and voting at the UN General Assembly, we show that significant change in the international nuclear nonproliferation regime led to differentiated cooperation within the CFSP, resulting in two cohesive subgroups of member states.
Nuclear fusion is widely promoted as the ultimate environmentally friendly solution to the world's energy demands. However, the medium/long-term nuclear weapons proliferation risks from a hypothetical fusion economy are rarely considered. Using risk assessment tools, this paper undertakes a trial scoping of proliferation hazards arising from fusion energy technologies, focused on the implications of a global 'Mature Fusion Economy' (MFE). In the medium term, an MFE could (1) facilitate construction of large, efficient, and reliable nuclear arsenals by producing tritium and the fissile materials Plutonium-239 and Uranium-233; and (2) erode the barriers constraining nuclear weapons acquisition by facilitating the spread of nuclear knowledge, technologies, and materials. Given the potential scale of a global MFE, management via monitoring of proliferation and diplomacy could become unworkable. Therefore, policy development must include independent and comprehensive expert and informed community assessment of such fusion-enhanced risks, transparent oversight by the nuclear disarmament community, and systematic analysis of the issues raised in this paper and their implications for fusion into the very long-term future.
The article discuses the need to shift from pursuing complete denuclearisation of North Korea to a policy of deterrence and arms control. It argues that the U.S. and its East Asian allies need to accept the fact that North Korea possesses nuclear weapons and adjust their policies accordingly. It also highlights the importance of arms control measures to mitigate arms racing and reduce the potential risks and consequences of deterrence failure.