The indefinite extension of the NPT was unexpected because it was not the preferred course of action for most of the countries. The introduction presents the puzzle of extension in light of the contemporary literature. It surveys the existing explanations for indefinite extension. The realist explanation focuses on raw power of the US to coerce recalcitrant parties, but ignores that the US would never be able to coerce all opponents. The institutionalist explanation can explain why the NPT did not end, but it is unrevealing about the length of the extension. The constructivist explanation can provide an explanation about a minimally just solution but cannot explain why other, arguably more just solutions were not adopted. The introduction also offers the plan for the book.
The first chapter provides a gentle introduction to the history of the NPT's indefinite extension, by asking "why indefinite extension?" This chapter discusses the origins of the provisions for limited duration in the NPT – how these provisions made their way into the treaty, and how the parties originally thought about these provisions. It also offers a brief history of the NPT from 1970 till 1995, including the gradual expansion and the successes (and failures) of the review conferences, with particular emphasis on the topics that emerged as key in the NPT discussions between 1970 and 1995. The chapter provides a historical and legal sketch of the possible extension options, including their meanings and justifications. Lastly, chapter 1 provides an overview of the US position, with an emphasis on decision-making within the US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency and at the State Department, and the involvement of the White House.
The second chapter introduces the reader to the theoretical argument. This chapter discusses in depth the theory based on social network theory, tying it to the diplomatic position of the US in global networks. This theory posits that the US was able to push for indefinite extension of the NPT because of its unique connections to other well-connected members of the nonproliferation regime – Europe, South Africa, and Egypt. This theory differs from other explanations for states' influence in international organizations. Chapter 2 also provides evidence for the argument that the US did indeed possess a unique position in the diplomatic, commercial, and military networks in the mid-1990s, unparalleled by any other country.
Chapter 3 focuses on the cooperation between the US and the European countries. While US cooperation with the European countries happened primarily within the framework of the Western Europe and Others Group (WEOG) of the UN General Assembly, this cooperation allowed the US to leverage the EU's economic power in its neighborhood to the advancement of its own goal of furthering nuclear nonproliferation. Because the EU supported indefinite extension on its own, teaming up with the EU allowed the US to advance its interests more efficiently. On the one hand, the chapter focuses on the negotiations between the US and the European countries (sometimes joined by Russia), especially within the framework of the WEOG. On the other hand, it looks at the activities of the European countries, primarily concerning the démarches, threats, and inducements toward the third countries.
Chapter 4 discusses the cooperation between the US and South Africa. While US efforts to "co-opt" South Africa can be traced back to late 1994, the cooperation really started only after a meeting between then vice president of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki, and US vice president Al Gore in late February 1995. Mbeki was instrumental in reversing the position of South Africa, which until then favored a green-light rolling extension. Mbeki also overruled his own party, which favored a one-off, short-term extension. By breaking from both his diplomats and his party, Mbeki created a situation that helped to break the anti-extension block within the Non-Aligned Movement and pave the position toward extension. In this chapter, I scrutinize the domestic process within South Africa in late 1994 and early 1995 as well as the cooperation with the US and the interactions between Mbeki and Gore.
This chapter studies the cooperation with Egypt, which allowed the US to co-opt Arab countries and diminish opposition to the extension among the nonaligned countries. The chapter will focus on Egypt's diplomacy related to Israel's nuclear program prior to the 1995 NPT Review Conference, the discussions within Egypt held between the Council presidency and the Egyptian foreign ministry (who held opposite preferences, driven by different motivations), and then, ultimately, the negotiations in New York leading to the adoption of the Resolution on the Middle East, one of the key documents that emerged from the conference. For procedural reasons, the US had to enter into negotiations with Egypt on the latter's acquiescence to the extension of the NPT without a vote. The price Egypt exacted for this was a resolution on the Middle East, negotiated bilaterally between Egypt and the US.
The final chapter looks at the postextension politics of the NPT. In particular, this chapter looks at the interpretation and reinterpretation of the commitments undertaken in 1995. It provides a brief history of the post-1995 policy innovations within the NPT regime, with a focus on the additional commitments adopted in 2000 and 2010. It also looks at how these commitments adopted in 1995 have held up twenty-five years after the passing of the indefinite extension. Chapter 6 closes by looking at the US networked power in 2020, analyzing the degree to which US alliances can (and do) provide support for US nuclear policy today.