AMERICAN HEGEMONY AND THE POLITICS OF THE NUCLEAR NONPROLIFERATION REGIME
Gibbons, Rebecca Davis
Lieber, Keir A
Though nearly all states in the international system are signatories of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the same cannot be said of the more recent nonproliferation agreements designed to advance the goals of the NPT. Together these treaties and agreements make up the nuclear nonproliferation regime. The project asks: what explains variation in NPT members’ commitment to the nuclear nonproliferation regime? Contrary to recent research that largely points to domestic political variables, such as regime type, to explain institutional commitment, the project theorizes that nuclear nonproliferation regime is best conceptualized as a hegemonic order in which variation in states’ favorability toward U.S. global leadership explains variation in commitment to the nuclear nonproliferation regime. This research employs quantitative analysis drawn from an original dataset of nuclear nonproliferation commitment indicators as well as detailed case studies of nonproliferation decision-making in Japan, Egypt, and Indonesia drawn from over 35 elite interviews and archival research. Empirical findings indicate support for the proposed theory. The findings suggest this particular regime may be unsustainable without a hegemonic backer, leading to questions about the future of nuclear proliferation amidst the projected relative decline of U.S. economic power.
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