The Global Politics of Nuclear Treaties

Updated: Nov 5, 2021

Nuclear in use as warfare is, undoubtedly, a most detrimental threat to Human security. Not just its repercussion after use is sought, but also after the testing phase is evident. The most threatening effects its testing exerts are on climate followed by the Humans themselves. Many studies suggest that after being test, it destroys the ecosystem and environment where it has been tested.

No field has left where the nuclear bomb has not been tested. Underground, in the sea, on Ground, in Air, and even in space, almost all where its tests have been conducted. However, the only time, it was used for war, was in 1945 when the US dropped the two deadliest bombs of the time “Little boy” and “Fat man” on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, respectively. The doomsday event shocked the world that the human has made their destruction by themselves. The threat to human security was further exacerbated during the era of the Cold War (1945-1991). This was the peak time when both superpowers were increasing their nuclear arsenal exponentially.

However, by acknowledging its fact, both powers realized that building so many nuclear muscles is not only threatening to rivalries but also for themselves. Thus, reconciliations and joint efforts had been made to limit its usage as a purpose of war. For example, Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1968 was among those efforts which undermines the increase of Nuclear arms and also initiates the process of disarmament.

Despite the world’s two most captivating nuclear power countries US and Russia have joined the NPT, there are some countries such as India, Pakistan, and North Korea are not the signatories of it which means that the threat exists in the form of nuclear enhancement as a purpose of war or balance of power. Undoubtedly, nuclear is creates strong deterrence to prevent the enemies from growing strategic power. According to the neo-realist perspective, due to the anarchic system of the global nature, a state would always remain in power maximization. Thus, it would do anything to maintain balance which is in favor of National Security. Owing to this concept, it is evident that neither India would turn down because of the neighbor China’s nuclear nor Pakistan because of India’s Nuclear in foreseeable future.

But the question about testing is still obscured to some. There are some treaties existed such as limited Test Ban Treaty (LTBT), which limits the test of nuclear in all field except underground, and Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) for restricting all form of testing including underground. However, these treaties are still ineffective because France and North Korea are not the signatories of (LTBT), and on the other hand, Pakistan, India, and North Korea did not ever ratify (CTBT). However, France is excluded given the fact that if it is in (CTBT) then there is no need to be in (LTBT).

Why Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) couldn’t come into force.

Owing to this reason if countries like India, Pakistan, and North Korea, ratify it, they would be able to test their nuclear weapon. To finding the answer, what are the reason behind the countries are not becoming signatories, we must have to further dissect the logic of deterrence. Deterrence acts in two ways: first, it prevents the other state to take advantage, and secondly, it satisfies the state with its capability to counter psychological inferiority. This is why, states use to test their new nuclear technology to give signals, so the other states' aggression could be encountered. In this way, if these states will ratify the CTBT, they will not able to practice testing and giving signals to rivalries about their capability, so the point of deterrence could be drawn, or, maybe, due to the lack of knowledge of states’ muscle, the war could erupt.