U.S. has successfully negotiated nuclear agreements with rogue regimes before
Critics of the Iran nuclear deal claim that the U.S. should never enter into agreements that reward an oppressive sponsor of terrorism like Iran but this ignores the United States' long history of striking arms control agreements with regimes like China and Soviet Union that were once thought to be an even greater ideological enemy.
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Although the United States currently opposes direct negotiations with Iran, the odious nature of a "rogue" regime did not stop Washington from negotiating an agreement with Tripoli to disarm its nu clear and chemical. The Libyan model of disarmament can be described as "tyranny without weapons of mass destruction," with Libyan leader Colonel Moammar Gaddafi remaining in power. Similarly, the United States has embraced the six-party talks with North Korea to work toward a Korean Peninsula free of nuclear weapons. In the September 2005 round of talks, "the United States affirmed that it…has no intention to attack or invade [ North Korea] with nuclear or conventional weapons."
"Making the Right Call: How the World can Limit Iran's Nuclear Program
." Arms Control Today
. (March 2006): 6-12. [ More (4 quotes) ]
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Throughout the post–World War II period, analysts worried that proliferation among small or unstable countries could increase the “likelihood of nu- clear war.”31 Such “deterministic” assessments rested on the assumption that these countries “would act less maturely with nuclear weapons under their belt, thus inevitably leading to regional, and in turn global, instability.”32 Yet no nuclear crisis involving a small country has remotely approached the dan- ger and risk levels seen during confrontations between the superpowers dur- ing the Cold War.
More important, contemporary analysts often forget that two of the United States’ communist adversaries whose “rogue” status, by current deanitions, was unparalleled in the atomic age, pursued nuclear weapons: the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The United States dreaded the Soviet Union’s acquisition of the bomb. Joseph Stalin’s Russia was both a murderous and secretive regime; it violated international norms and pursued aggressive foreign policies even before it tested an atomic bomb. The Soviet Union’s behavior after its August 1949 atomic test seemed to realize the worst fears of President Harry Truman’s administration when Moscow’s client, North Korea, attacked South Korea without any apparent concern over the U.S. response. During the winter of 1950–51, the United States was convinced that nuclear weapons had so emboldened the Soviet Union that a third world war might be unavoidable.33 In 1953, however, aghting on the Korean Peninsula ended and tensions with the Soviets eased. Although the Soviet Union’s nuclearization would remain a serious threat, in time, the United States developed policies to cope with this challenge.
"Same As It Ever Was: Nuclear Alarmism, Proliferation, and the Cold War
." International Security
. Vol. 34, No. 3 (Winter 2009/10): 7-37. [ More (6 quotes) ]
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Claims that the US cannot reach agreements to constrain nuclear arms in ways that advance our interests in dealing with states that are actively engaged in terrorism against us or our allies, or even actively killing Americans in on-going military conflict, have a ring of plausibility—but on the historical record are incorrect.
- During the Vietnam War, Soviet-manned surface-to-air missiles shot down American pilots over Vietnam, and Americans bombed Soviet air defense units. Despite these realities, President Nixon negotiated and concluded SALT I, imposing quantitative limits on the US-Soviet missile buildup, and creating, as Henry Kissinger described it, “a platform of coexistence.”
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Claims that the US cannot reach advantageous agreements to constrain nuclear arms with governments that cannot be trusted, that inherently lie and cheat, and who will undoubtedly seek to deceive the US and violate the agreement sound right—but are wrong.
. No regime was more inherently devious than the Soviet Union. According to Lenin’s operational codes, it was the Soviet leader’s duty to deceive capitalists and out-maneuver them. True to character, the Soviet Union cheated, for example, in placing radars in locations excluded by the ABM Treaty. But reviewing the history, it is hard to escape the conclusion that the cheating was marginal rather than material. The US discovered the cheating, called the Soviets out for it, and engaged in a process that produced compliance good enough to achieve our objectives.
. To minimize cheating, agreements focused on parameters that could be verified by US intelligence. Thus SALT and START limited not nuclear warheads, which we could not monitor, but launchers, which we could. While other nations’ intelligence committees and international organizations like the IAEA have been important supplements, the US has wisely not subcontracted verification to others.
Negotiating with international adversaries is more controversial in the United States than in most advanced democracies. Whereas in other countries bargaining is often seen as the norm, Americans frequently view face-to-face talks as a prize that the opponent has to earn through good behavior.
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