United States policy and nuclear non-proliferation: a preliminary comparison of the Bush and Obama administrations' approaches

Nel, Coligny (2010-03)

Thesis (MA (Political Science))--University of Stellenbosch, 2010.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The United States of America (USA) has a new president in the White House - a president whose rhetoric appears to distance himself from the policies of the previous administration. This also appears to hold true for his approach with regard to nuclear nonproliferation. The overarching research aim of this study is to explore whether the Obama administration’s policy with regard to nuclear non-proliferation will differ significantly from that of the Bush administration. The broader subject of nuclear non-proliferation will be subdivided into three themes, namely: disarmament, proliferation by non-nuclear states and nuclear terrorism. In order to sketch the international context within which the USA’s policy must be viewed, an overview of the nuclear non-proliferation regime is provided. This will be followed by an exploration of disarmament, proliferation by nonnuclear states (with Iran and North Korea as case studies) and nuclear terrorism. In each case, a comparison between the Bush administration and the Obama administration’s policies will be done. Finally, an analysis will be done of the main similarities and differences between the two administrations’ approaches, with a focus on the use of hard, soft and smart power. The study concludes that the primary difference between the Bush and Obama administration’s approaches is that Bush pursued only one policy option (hard power) at a time, while Obama intends to use many different policy options (smart power) at the same time, with a focus on increasing the use of soft power. This sort of pragmatism may just be what the USA needs right now in order to address the problem of nuclear proliferation.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die Verenigte State van Amerika (VSA) het ‘n nuwe president in die Withuis – ‘n president wie se uitsprake hom van die beleide van die vorige administrasie blyk te distansieer. Dit wil ook voorkom asof dit van toepassing is op sy benadering tot kernwapen versperring. Die oorhoofse navorsingsdoelwit van hierdie studie is om te ondersoek of die Obama administrasie se beleid ten opsigte van kernwapen versperring aansienlik van die van die Bush administrasie gaan verskil. Die breër onderwerp van kernwapen versperring kan in drie temas opgedeel word, naamlik: ontwapening, proliferasie deur nie-kernwapenstate, en kernwapen terrorisme. Ten einde die internasionale konteks te skets waarin die VSA se beleid moet geskied, begin die studie met ‘n oorsig van die kernwapen versperring regime. Dit word gevolg deur ‘n ondersoek van onderskeidelik ontwapening, proliferasie deur nie-kernwapenstate (met Iran en Noord-Korea as gevallestudies) en kernwapen terrorisme. By elkeen van die drie temas word ‘n vergelyking tussen die Bush administrasie en die Obama adminstrasie se beleide getref. Laastens word ‘n analise van die hoof verskille en ooreenkomste tussen die twee administrasies se benaderings onderneem, met die klem op die gebruik van harde, sagte en slim mag. Die bevinding van die studie is dat die hoof verskille tussen die Bush en Obama administrasies se benaderings behels dat Bush slegs een beleidsopsie (harde mag) op ‘n slag nagevolg het, terwyl Obama beoog om terselfdertyd van verskillende beleidsopsies (slim mag) gebruik te maak, met veral ‘n fokus op ‘n toename in die gebruik van sagte mag. Die soort pragmatisme mag dalk net wees wat die VSA tans nodig het om die probleem van kernwapen proliferasie aan te spreek.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/4129
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