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Competing theoretical frameworks to explain state behavior vis-à-vis the NPT : exploring the minimal role of the NPT in nuclear decision making Smith, Greta Marie

Abstract

The impact of the NPT on nuclear decision-making appears to be minimal at best. Competing dominant strands of international relations theory cannot explain the lack of influence the NPT has on the decision to remain nuclear or choosing a path of nuclear forbearance. Dominant strands of international theory including realism, constructivism, and regime theory when considered alone give only shallow explanations for nuclear decision-making. Further, these theories cannot account for the existence of the nuclear taboo and the role it plays in nuclear decision-making. By examining the nuclear choices of the United States, Israel, Iraq, Iran North Korea, India, Pakistan, Libya, South Africa, Argentina, Brazil and Ukraine through multiple strands of political theory it becomes clear that no single theory can account for all the divergent nuclear paths that countries choose.

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