Nuclear proliferation in a fragmenting world

Where does the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) stand in 2022?

Members event, Panel
13 September 2022 — 1:00PM TO 2:00PM

With the war in Ukraine and China–US tensions rising, the threat of a nuclear arms race has never been as high since the Cold War.

Global efforts to control the appropriation and use of nuclear weapons are strained with the war in Ukraine, US–Russia and US–China tension, Iran on the nuclear threshold, instability in Pakistan and the ongoing threat from North Korea.

The Review Conference of the NPT that took place in New York this August sought to deal with the multiple nuclear threats, but new missile technology such as hypersonic glide vehicles and torpedoes are not covered by a treaty.

Russia and the US are in a development phase for a host of new technologies and delivery systems, especially after both withdrew from various arms-control treaties in the 2000s and 2010s. Now the nuclear stockpile is growing again and major superpowers are adopting confrontational geostrategic positions.

As the world’s established orders and system fragment, there is a possibility the nine countries with confirmed nuclear weapons could grow. Events in Ukraine highlight the need for a new, modern agreement on nuclear weapons control, needed today more than ever.

The panel of experts discuss key questions including:

  • What did ‘RevCon’ in New York tell us about the adoption or update to the NPT?

  • Will the war in Ukraine deter or prevent any agreement between nations or does nuclear weapons control represent an area of potential multilateral harmony?

  • Are we likely to see a new arms race akin to the Cold War? Where does China fit into this race?

  • How has technology changed the arms control landscape?

 As with all Chatham House member events, questions from members drive the conversation.

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