Should Canada ratify the NPT?

Essay by southernimportsUniversity, Bachelor'sA, March 2006

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Despite recent criticism and calls for the termination of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Canada has a domestic and international responsibility to support efforts towards a strengthening of the NPT. The main difficulty in arguing otherwise, is that one is then left with the formidable task of suggesting a more effective alternative. It cannot be denied that the NPT is flawed. The regime is not as effective as it needs to be, and it is inherently unfair. It is this second weakness that appears to cause the most tension among non-nuclear weapons states (NNWS) and nuclear weapons states (NWS). If a NWS is entitled to possession, why not any state? This is an especially strong argument when NWS fail to uphold their end of the agreement that entitled them to possession in the first place. However, as flawed as the NPT might be, a viable alternative has yet to be suggested to the international community.

Some critics, such as Michael Wesley, claim that an acceptance of "managed limited proliferation" is the necessary road to travel. The immediate problem with this ideology is that it is impossible to guarantee limited proliferation. If such a thing could exist, what would the limits be, and who would enforce them? Certainly it would appear logical that the more NWS that exist, the greater the chances of proliferation beyond such limits, resulting in the increased likelihood of nuclear activity. Marianne Hanson's suggestion of an NPT with necessary adjustments, has more merit than Wesley's suggestion of the formation of a whole new regime. Non-proliferation must be pursued above "managed proliferation", and an international system of trust must be the goal if the threat of nuclear disaster is to be quelled.

Critics hold a valid assertion that the NPT is flawed. It...