The Nuclear Club
How America and the World Policed the Atom from Hiroshima to Vietnam
Jonathan R. Hunt



The Most Exclusive Club on Earth

It is most important, of course, that the [Nuclear Nonproliferation] Treaty is signed by those who are capable of making a bomb. I think that we will not be successful at avoiding small wars in the future, but allowing a large war with the use of nuclear weapons would be insane.

—U.S. senator George Aiken speaking to Pravda reporter Yuri G. A. Zhukov on Capitol Hill, January 23, 1969.1

THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE VIETNAM WAR and nuclear weapons was on Walt Rostow’s mind as he addressed the National War College’s Class of 1968 beneath a cloudless sky in Washington, D.C. While across the National Mall, President Lyndon Johnson’s White House digested the headlines on the morning of May 8—Robert Kennedy’s victory in Indiana’s Democratic primary and National Liberation Front mortar attacks on Saigon—Rostow surveyed the horizon beyond the Anacostia River from Fort Lesley J. McNair.

How long, he asked the graduating officers in their dress uniforms, until “Germany, Japan, Italy, India, and others” built the atom bomb? The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) that the United Nations (UN) was debating in New York would ask for higher sacrifices than the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) or the Alliance for Progress in Latin America, for which the United States had merely assumed a “due share in a communal effort.” To the average American voter or to foreign leaders fearful of second- or third-class status, the U.S. State Department had billed the agreement as a natural successor to the 1963 Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapon Tests in the Atmosphere, in Outer Space, and Under Water—“that is, an exercise in U.S.-Soviet détente, a good deed in a naughty world.” In truth, U.S. leaders and their Soviet counterparts shared a compelling interest in halting “the potential diffusion of power at its most important point.” This new world order would require, above all, a steady appetite for overseas adventures to enforce on the world’s unruly masses a common law for the nuclear age. The treaty negotiations thus marked a subtle but momentous shift in how the world governed itself with the help of far-flung U.S. legionnaires, as Rostow and Johnson prepared to lock the country “into responsibility in the world—right around the periphery of Communist China and the Soviet Union, on the toughest of all issues.”2

As Rostow linked victory in Vietnam to an endless crusade against the runaway atom, the UN First Committee was meeting in Manhattan’s tony midtown neighborhood of Turtle Bay. Over the first eight plenary sessions clear divisions had revealed themselves in the sprawling complex, where representatives from developing countries faced off against those with commanding leads in world nuclear markets. On 16 May, Mexican deputy foreign minister Alfonso García Robles made the case for surgical revisions to the NPT that would help atomic newcomers catch up to more industrialized countries. To drive his points home, he compared the new accord with the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America, known as the Treaty of Tlatelolco after the Aztec square in Mexico City where it had been finalized the previous year, whose lack of discriminatory features made it “far superior to the draft before us.”3 For the NPT to earn a commanding majority in the UN General Assembly (UNGA), where Latin American and African delegations had enjoyed numerical dominance since 1965, García Robles challenged his audience to revise its preamble and articles so that they looked more like those in the Treaty of Tlatelolco.

After the Second World War, a cosmopolitan community of politicians, activists, bureaucrats, scientists, and diplomats constructed a near-universal regime to manage the most powerful technology ever devised—the power to split or fuse atomic nuclei to release wondrous new isotopes for medical cures and energy production or unprecedented explosive force for mass destruction and death. After numerous false starts, their campaign bore fruit in the 1960s, when multiplying regional crises and an emerging world market in fission reactors led an international society in the throes of decolonization to draw up a Magna Carta for the subatomic realm.

In combination with the Limited Test Ban Treaty (LTBT), referred to at the time as the Moscow Treaty, and the Treaty of Tlatelolco, the NPT enforced five rules for the nuclear realm.4 First, nuclear experiments that states conduct cannot spread radioactive fallout beyond their borders or those of trustee territories, effectively sealing them underground. Second, in the event they agreed among themselves, regional blocs can banish atomic means of destruction from their neighborhoods. Third, the official nuclear club would close to new entrants on New Year’s Day 1967, with the United States, the United Kingdom, France, the Soviet Union, and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) prestigiously included as legacy members. Fourth, the international community recognized an inalienable right to peaceful science and technology. Finally, in exchange for legitimation under international law, the five legacy members, now authorized as nuclear-weapon states, would make concerted efforts to reduce and ultimately eliminate the world-threatening arsenals that distinguished them from the atomic unarmed.

Today the global nonproliferation regime that the NPT constituted is a centerpiece of world politics. The United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union moved all their nuclear testing underground after August 1963. France followed suit in 1974, and the PRC six years after that. More than fifty years later, the Treaty of Tlatelolco remains a template for existing and prospective zones free of nuclear weapons in the South Pacific, Southeast Asia, Africa, central Asia, and the Middle East. Since 1968, on net the unofficial nuclear club has grown by only four members. Four countries—South Africa, Kazakhstan, Belarus, and Ukraine—gave up their arsenals during that time, as the United States, at times authorized by the UN Security Council (UNSC) and at others abetted by willing partners, has intervened repeatedly to inhibit nuclear spread by means of financial sanctions, cyberattacks, cruise missiles, covert assassinations, and foreign expeditions. So far the global nuclear nonproliferation regime has for the most part achieved its headline goal—to ensure that the peaceful atom would not be diverted to violent ends. It has done so by perpetuating hierarchy among nations at the cost of displacing violence from the developed to the developing worlds—a marriage of convenience between humanitarian ideals and U.S. military supremacy.

The Nuclear Club recounts how what began as an attempt to build world government under law became a warrant for defying the UN Charter. If there is a central myth of the nuclear age, it is that nuclear arms rendered great-power war obsolete.5 While scholars have taken pains to identify the exact conditions that ushered in this “Long Peace”—or disputed its scope or the necessity of nuclear weapons to it—most agree that the nuclear revolution has been a major determinant of patterns of war and peace since 1945.6 What these narratives omit is the correlation between the stability that nuclear deterrence has enforced—the non-occurrence of shooting wars between nuclear-club members—and the frequency of civil wars, proxy conflicts, and territorial disputes for those outside its ranks.7 The Long Peace has been real but far from universal. World War III has not happened (yet), but the scourge of war continues to afflict those denied membership in the world’s most exclusive club.

The NPT’s founding purpose was not peace but rather to nip the revolutionary potential of atomic physics in the bud. The global nuclear nonproliferation regime established more than a set of laws, rules, and norms to regulate atomic power worldwide—it sanctified UNSC permanent members’ nuclear arsenals and also their right to intervene abroad to save humanity from the Promethean handiwork they themselves had wrought. Many features distinguished the geographic core in North America and western Eurasia, where the Long Peace prevailed, from what Paul Chamberlin styles the Cold War’s “killing fields” in Asia and the Middle East.8 Among them was a distinction between the members of the nuclear club—foremost among them the world’s chief hegemon, the United States—and those whom they promised to protect from themselves, a dividing line that has outlived the Cold War. Weeks before Rostow’s commencement speech on the banks of the Washington Channel, French foreign ministry lawyers had noticed that the UNSC resolution that would accompany the NPT hierarchized forms of aggression by elevating nuclear above non-nuclear forms of state violence while introducing into public international law an “ambiguous concept of ‘menace.’” Theirs was a premonition of how nuclear nonproliferation would join humanitarian intervention as the chief caveats to the UN Charter’s general ban on wars of aggression.9 Thirty-three years after the NPT entered into force, their prophecy would be realized in the ruins of Iraq and the decades of upheaval that Operation Enduring Freedom would unleash in and around the Middle East.


The NPT concluded on 19 June 1968, where it had begun: in the UN General Assembly Hall, a cavernous, 1,898-seat circular room dominated by an Arctic map wreathed in olive branches—the emblem of the UN. It had been nearly ten years since the day in September 1958 when Irish foreign minister Frank Aiken brought home his motion at the thirteenth UNGA for a nuclear restriction with a plea to “preserve a Pax Atomica while we build a Pax Mundi.”10

In the intervening years hundreds of plenary sessions convened in the Ten-Nation Committee on Disarmament (TNDC), the Eighteen Nation Committee on Disarmament (ENDC), the UN Disarmament Commission (UNDC), and the UN General Assembly, which passed eight resolutions on prevention of wider dissemination or on nonproliferation of nuclear weapons, and another twenty-three that addressed nuclear testing, weapon-free zones, or wholesale prohibitions.11 Together the North Atlantic Council (NAC), the Warsaw Pact Political Consultative Committee, the International Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties, the Conference of Non-Aligned Countries, the Afro-Asian People’s Solidarity Organization (AAPSO), the European Economic Community (EEC), the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) devoted hundreds of hours to the subject. From March 1965 to February 1967, the Preparatory Commission for the Denuclearization of Latin America (COPREDAL) held fifty meetings to discuss the terms of regional denuclearization. From April to June 1968, the First Committee of the UN General Assembly met twenty-seven times to deliberate over a final draft nonproliferation treaty. A full accounting of all bilateral contacts in these years about these three agreements is beyond the grasp of any one scholar, while in recent years their direct descendants—the 1972 Strategic Arms Limitation (SALT) Treaty and Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty and the 1975 Helsinki Final Act—have themselves received book-length treatments.12

The NPT consummated a transition from basic anarchy to imperfect order in world nuclear affairs. Today its preamble and eleven articles enjoy more popularity than consensus. Interpretations diverged from the beginning. When the UN First Committee read the consensus text drafted by the ENDC on 26 April 1968, U.S. ambassador Arthur Goldberg credited “all nations, large and small,” for inscribing into the accord three major purposes—to halt nuclear spread, to foster peaceful uses of atomic energy, and to spur disarmament, above all that of nuclear armaments. It was an early presentation of a grand bargain resting atop three pillars: nuclear nonproliferation, development, and disarmament. Later that afternoon, Soviet deputy foreign minister Vasily Kuznetsov told a different tale from the same dais, insisting that the compact had originated with a predominant motive—to close “all channels, both direct and indirect, leading to the possession of mass destruction weapons.”13

These two readings—grand bargain and nonproliferation first—have set the terms of debates ever since. This dispute over original intent has unfolded in a world where nuclear threats remain a fact of life. For the lead U.S. negotiator in the 1960s, U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA) director William Foster, the treaty internationalized nuclear security through a combination of security assurances, regulated markets, and voice opportunities.14 Soviet officials, by contrast, embraced a superpower condominium to restrain their historic assailant, the German nation, and marginalize their fraternal rival, the PRC.15 The nuclear nonproliferation regime has consequently upheld two contradictory goals: to reduce the role that weaponized fission and fusion play in world politics and to confirm the importance of nuclear-backed security guarantees, above all between the United States and its Western European and East Asian allies. This paradox was visible as soon as the treaty opened for signature on 1 July 1968, when Johnson graciously announced that he and Soviet premier Alexei Kosygin would launch SALT and ABM talks “in the nearest future.”16 That summer, his administration reaffirmed standing commitments to respond with the full weight of U.S. armed might in the event that NATO members or Japan were to receive atomic threats while also underscoring the cast-iron link between allies’ atomic forbearance and the presence of nuclear umbrellas over their heads.

This constitutional tension between disarmament and deterrence led many to conclude that the NPT resegregated international society in the 1960s by petrifying most states in positions of atomic inferiority. After all, the UNSC resolution that passed alongside the NPT obligated nuclear-armed, permanent members of the UNSC (whose veto rights embodied the original sin against sovereign equality in the UN Charter) to act immediately in response to acts or threats of nuclear violence.17 The atomic triumvirate of the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union issued identical vows. By the time the resolution passed on 19 June 1968, however, even such a stalwart of the nonaligned movement as the Republic of India had lost faith in collective security. The Times of India’s Washington correspondent, H. R. Vohra, observed how the NPT would cleave the world in three: the nuclear club, their sheltering allies, and those with “neither a treaty guarantee nor a promise of the security offered by the tripartite declaration and the tripartite resolution in the Security Council.”18

In countries haunted by colonialism, the NPT resembled fetters set out to trap them before they ascended to international society’s summit. The discrimination that postcolonial elites feared was neither primarily military nor geopolitical, but related to economic development and international status. Governments in Brazil, Mexico, and India worried that the treaty would perpetuate their dependence on wealthy, industrial nations. As New Delhi’s delegate to the ENDC in Geneva, V. C. Trivedi, declared in 1967, his government could “tolerate a nuclear weapons apartheid, but not an atomic apartheid in their economic and peaceful development.”19 Chinese Communist Party (CCP) authorities were blunter. Even as the Cultural Revolution decimated its diplomatic corps, PRC premier Zhou Enlai accused the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union of plotting to “turn non-nuclear countries into their protectorates and press forward with a new type of colonialism.”20

Yet the global nuclear nonproliferation regime did more than divide the world into those who had been quick to manufacture nuclear arms and those now damned to survive without them. It re-legitimated a still-emergent order of alliances, clubs, markets, norms, and laws that would manage globalization and its discontents as the advanced and developing worlds debated the meaning of sovereign equality enshrined in the UN Charter since 1945. The regime confirmed the United States as first among equals, guardian of the “free world” from communist advances and of humanity from thermonuclear extinction. Its preeminence in the fields of finance, oceanic shipping, high technology, mass consumption, and industrial production had made it an architect of world order since the First World War.21 Even before the achievements of the Manhattan Project were counted, no country held a candle to the North American colossus after the Second World War, when a U.S.-based power elite cemented their self-assigned roles as globalization’s helmsmen, wielding arms and money in service of what Rostow would later characterize as an ersatz common law for the Cold War. Like other elements of the U.S.-led international order, the nuclear nonproliferation regime both empowered and constrained the leading state, whose supply of public, club, and private goods represented the going rate for the right to define global rules. Relative to the nuclear club, the cardinal rule was straightforward: those from states that had demonstrated atomic power before 1967 and henceforth upheld the NPT would be treated as the planet’s nuclear guardians. Those who did so afterward would be branded volatile upstarts or dangerous rogues.22

For all its discriminatory thrust, the nonproliferation regime offered something to everybody. For the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, France, and even the PRC, the benefits were clear: a freeze in the nuclear club’s membership, which, after 1971 (when the PRC replaced the Republic of China in the UN) mirrored the UNSC’s veto-wielding permanent members. For superpower allies, the novel arrangement would enhance their voice opportunities, guarantee their market access, and reaffirm their security relationships (albeit in the form of a protection racket for Warsaw Pact members).23 Such aspirant regional powers as Israel, West Germany, South Africa, Brazil, Japan, and India could eye advanced nuclear infrastructures with few external restraints. If the NPT banned nuclear tests, it also implicitly authorized states to build world-class constellations (under safeguards) of breeder reactors accompanied by plutonium-reprocessing and uranium-enrichment facilities—closed fuel cycles that would mitigate or even forestall foreign dependence and strategically position them on the verge of the next great energy regime—or a latent nuclear-weapon capability.24

For lesser powers, the regime would keep a lid on regional arms races in which they had no business competing. India’s neighbors were cases in point. Iran belonged to the Central Treaty Organization (CENTO), of which Pakistan was a member in addition to the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO), both weak alliances designed to hold Moscow and Beijing—not New Delhi—at bay. Afghanistan, Nepal, Burma, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, and Indonesia lacked even those weak reeds. Small nonwhite nations dominated the UN General Assembly by the spring of 1968, by which time twenty-four Latin American and thirty-two African delegations sat alongside nine Middle Eastern and seventeen Asian counterparts. Altogether, Third World nations accounted for two-thirds of the member states. Most of the 124 countries represented in Turtle Bay had scant prospects of amassing large amounts of fissile material (enriched uranium or reprocessed plutonium), let alone the technical expertise to transmute it into explosives. They were receptive to arguments that only the superpowers, ideally moderated by the UN system, could keep their more formidable neighbors in check, and hopeful that peaceful atomic energy might one day turbocharge their economic development. Together they constituted a pivotal voting bloc on 12 June 1968, when the UN General Assembly roundly commended the NPT and requested that the depositary governments in Moscow, London, and Washington, D.C., open the accord for signature and ratification as soon as possible.

All told, fifty-five countries would sign one of the treaty copies on 1 July 1968. They did so for a variety of reasons. Most universal was a yearning for control over their atomic fates. When presented with a choice between nuclearizing local territorial disputes over Berlin, Palestine, Kashmir, Tibet, the Taiwan Strait, the Korean peninsula, or Cuba, or formalized superpower meddling in their backyards, a majority of states—if not necessarily of humanity—voted yes. The day before Rostow’s speech at the National War College, Iranian ambassador Mehdi Vakil had dubbed the NPT a small step for which the less-powerful nations would have to take the lead. He reckoned that it would not be “a bad role in which to be cast.”25


The Nuclear Club is a history of nuclear nonproliferation as an idea, a policy, and a regime. From 1945 to 1970 an increasingly postcolonial community of nation-states, as embodied in a cosmopolitan network of international diplomats, forged three multilateral accords (the Moscow Treaty, the Treaty of Tlatelolco, and the NPT), ushering in an era in which international rules and sanctions formally governed nuclear science, technology, and engineering, bringing a measure of law and order—if imperfect justice—to the atomic domain, with lasting consequences for international security and world politics.

This drama spanned the world’s stage, bringing together the communist East and the capitalist West, what would become known as the Industrial North and the Global South. While no one can look out from every vista on proceedings that at one point engaged the entire membership of the UN—to say nothing of those outside the halls of power—scholars have widened our vantage dramatically since 1991 by declassifying and disseminating reams of relevant documents, revealing the coercion, resistance, dependence, cooperation, and accommodation at play in the making of our global nuclear order.26 Our knowledge of nuclear war and peace has broadened thanks to this archival renaissance, paving the way for accounts of the creation and enforcement of nuclear law and order in which the parts are related to the whole, and the whole to grander patterns of change and continuity in global history.

This drama centered on Washington because it was the sole capital with sufficient reach. The United States had emerged from the Second World War in a position of spectacular privilege in every metric of national influence save brute land power: preeminence in industrial production, finance, and consumption, with dominant positions in manufacturing (above all the automobile, aeronautical, arms, and nuclear industries), oceanic shipping, capital investments, and gold reserves. It hosted the UN, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer (ENIAC), the first digital data processor. The Manhattan Project epitomized the country’s top billing, its military director, Army brigadier general Leslie Groves, having fused priceless global inputs—ranging from Hungarian mathematicians to Congolese ores—to North America’s natural wealth, industrial might, and surplus labor to construct the world’s first fission reactors and nuclear explosives.27 The international settlements struck after Germany and Japan’s surrenders institutionalized the dollar’s role as a global reserve currency while according a veto over legitimate military action to five “policemen”—the United States, the United Kingdom, France, the Republic of China, and the Soviet Union—though, for the moment, only one possessed the atom bomb.28

The Cold War divided the wartime alliance between the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union, as well as Europe’s political map, with a divided Germany at its broken heart. The product of unresolved tensions over popular sovereignty, social organization, spheres of influence, and postcolonial nationalism, the gradual and then precipitous deterioration of U.S.-Soviet relations set in motion geo-ideological competition across Europe and the Middle East, then East Asia, and ultimately throughout the world. Postwar U.S. grand strategy aimed at sustaining the country’s hegemonic authority, above all in Western Europe and East Asia.29 As the wealthy and dynamic linchpin of two transoceanic military-alliances-cum-trading-blocs linking North American consumers, farmers, producers, and bankers to recovering industrial powerhouses in Western Europe and Japan—and commodity producers elsewhere in the world—U.S. political elites enjoyed an unmatched ability to dictate the thrust and timing of international nuclear diplomacy throughout the Cold War.

The global spread of nuclear science and technology led U.S. officials to centralize the means of atomic destruction to the greatest extent possible and to do so in humanity’s name.30 Investments in nuclear nonproliferation under John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson happened as their administrations tragically escalated U.S. military involvement in Southeast Asia, transforming nuclear arms control from an exercise in bilateral stabilization to an instrument with which to absolve the sins of U.S. foreign policy, bolster U.S. hegemony, and empower the office of the president. Nuclear globalization prompted U.S. officials to reach out to their counterparts in Moscow, where Nikita Khrushchev, Alexei Kosygin, and Leonid Brezhnev also feared that events in the Third World were spiraling out of their control, as the forces of demography, self-determination, anti-imperialism, guerrilla warfare, and technology transfer threatened to loosen the superpowers’ grip over client regimes.

After all, even a hegemon needed partners. The capitalist titan’s head start had narrowed by the time the 1960s drew to a close, with Western Europe and Japan’s recoveries proceeding apace and the Vietnam War deepening federal budget deficits amid Johnson’s Great Society. Two other nuclear powers—one a close ally, the United Kingdom, another an archrival, the Soviet Union—made common cause in bringing order to the nuclear domain. With one eye on Europe’s economic integration and another on its depleted coffers, British leaders conditioned their nuclear security on U.S. arms sales as the price of a high seat at the table, culminating in their support for a definition of nuclear nonproliferation that reduced both nuclear risks and the likelihood of declining status in Europe and around the world.31 The Soviet Union embraced nuclear non-diffusion for more diverse reasons: to restrain West Germany, to marginalize revolutionary China, and to buoy socialist parties in Europe and Latin America. In time, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) proved such a reliable deputy that delegates to the ENDC, where the NPT was mostly drafted, voiced bewilderment at the extent of “Soviet-American collusion.”32 Moscow’s role was central, yet secondary, as superintendent of the Warsaw Pact. Talks to shutter the nuclear club proceeded at Moscow’s sufferance, but they relied on U.S. influence. The day after García Robles’s speech, Kuznetsov asked Goldberg to “make good use of [U.S.] bargaining power” among Latin American, sub-Saharan African, and Western European countries, not to mention Israel and South Africa.33 Save for the PRC, whose relationship with the Soviet Union was almost as stormy as its relationship with the United States, and which had gone nuclear in 1964, and India, whose leaders counted on both superpowers for help against communist China, the states most capable of building independent nuclear arsenals—West Germany, Italy, Israel, South Africa, Australia, Japan, and Brazil—were all U.S. allies or close partners.

Although efforts to internationalize the nuclear question had preceded the Kennedy and Johnson presidencies, their liberal instincts inclined them toward multilateral consensus, which in turn expanded the host of characters who would make significant contributions to the future global nuclear order.34 For these efforts to bear fruit in the UN, superpower cooperation was necessary but insufficient. A diverse cast of actors accordingly left their mark on settlements whose form and content were sculpted by a complex interplay of forces: decolonization, competitive development, managed globalization, transnational science, international institutions, alliance politics, and ideology, above all the centrality of a kind, fruitful environment in both capitalist and communist imaginations.35 Along the way, a community of diplomats hailing from the capitalist, communist, and nonaligned worlds met, deliberated, and socialized at intergovernmental venues in far-flung metropolises: Geneva, Mexico City, Vienna, Brussels, Cairo, Moscow, and New York.36


1. “Yuri Zhukov conversation with George Aiken of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee,” 23 January 1969, fond 5, opis 61, delo 557, listi 33–36, Российский государственный архив новейшей истории [RGANI]. Translated by Joseph Torigian.

2. Walt Rostow, “Remarks at the National War College: The United States and the Changing World: Problems and Opportunities Arising from the Diffusion of Power,” Washington, DC, 8 May 1968, box 7, Name file, National Security Files [NSF], Lyndon Baines Johnson Library [LBJL], 15–17. Emphasis in the original.

3. UN General Assembly (UNGA), 22nd Session, First Committee, Verbatim Record, 1569th Meeting, 16 May 1968, A/C.1/PV.1569, Official Record, 11, UN Audio-visual Library of International Law, ha/tnpt/tnpt.html.

4. Steven E. Miller, Nuclear Collisions: Discord, Reform and the Nuclear Nonproliferation Regime (Cambridge, MA: American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2012); William Walker, “Nuclear Enlightenment and Counter-Enlightenment,” International Affairs 83, no. 3 (May 2007): 431–453.

5. Keir A. Lieber and Daryl Grayson Press, The Myth of the Nuclear Revolution: Power Politics in the Atomic Age (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2020).

6. John Lewis Gaddis, “The Long Peace: Elements of Stability in the Postwar International System,” International Security 10, no. 4 (Spring 1986): 99–142.

7. Robert Jervis observed that the stability that nuclear deterrence affords may well yield instability at lower levels of violence, a phenomenon commonly referred to as “the stability-instability paradox.” The Illogic of American Nuclear Strategy (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1984), 31.

8. Paul Thomas Chamberlin, The Cold War’s Killing Fields: Rethinking the Long Peace (New York: Harper, 2018).

9. “Traité de Non-proliferation,” note, 18 March 1968, box 769, cote 517INVA, Centre des Archives Diplomatiques de La Courneuve [CADLC], 41–42, 7–8.

10. Frank Aiken, Ireland at the United Nations, 1958 (Dublin: Brún agus Ó Nualláin Teo, 1958), 15–18.

11. “Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons,” UN Audiovisual Library of International Law, ha/tnpt/tnpt.html (accessed 23 December 2019).

12. The most comprehensive history of the treaty negotiations remains Mohamed Ibrahim Shaker’s three-volume The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty: Origin and Implementation, 1959–1979 (London: Oceana, 1980); see also Edwin Brown Firmage, “The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons,” American Journal of International Law 63, no. 4 (October 1969): 711–746; James Cameron, The Double Game: The Demise of America’s First Missile Defense System and the Rise of Strategic Arms Limitation (New York: Oxford University Press, 2018); and Michael Cotey Morgan, The Final Act: The Helsinki Accords and the Transformation of the Cold War (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2018).

13. “Excerpts from Speeches by Goldberg and Kuznetsov on Nuclear Pact,” New York Times, 27 April 1968, 14.

14. William C. Foster, “New Directions in Arms Control and Disarmament,” Foreign Affairs 43, no. 4 (July 1965): 594–605.

15. Roland M. Timerbaev, Россия и ядерное нераспространение, 1945–1968 (Moscow: Nauka, 1999).

16. Lyndon Johnson, “Remarks on Signing the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty,” 1 July 1968, Miller Center of Public Affairs, University of Virginia, presidential-speeches/july-1–1968-remarks-signing-nuclear-nonproliferation-treaty (accessed 12 December 2018).

17. “Resolution on Security Assurances adopted by the United Nations Security Council,” 19 June 1968, quoted in Firmage, “Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons,” 741.

18. H. R. Vohra, “India and Nuclear Security: The West Perplexed,” Times of India, 12 July 1968, 8. ProQuest Historical Newspapers.

19. Final Verbatim Record of the 298th Meeting of the Conference of the Eighteen-Nation Committee on Disarmament (ENDC), 23 May 1967, Geneva, Switzerland, ENDC/PV.298, 10, quod.lib.umich. edu/e/endc/; pace Shane Maddock, Nuclear Apartheid: The Quest for American Atomic Supremacy from World War II to the Present (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2010), as Trivedi explicitly specified nonmilitary applications. For more on the roles that techno-politics and geopolitics played in India’s nuclear program and U.S.-India-PRC relations, read Jayita Sarkar, Ploughshares and Swords: India’s Nuclear Program in the Global Cold War (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2022), and Tanvi Madan, Fateful Triangle: How China Shaped U.S.-India Relations during the Cold War (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2020).

20. “Chou Flays U.S., Russia: ‘Nuclear Colonialism,’Times of India, 20 June 1968, 9. ProQuest Historical Newspapers.

21. Adam Tooze, The Deluge: The Great War, America and the Remaking of the Global Order, 1916–1931 (New York: Penguin, 2015); Victoria De Grazia, Irresistible Empire: America’s Advance Through Twentieth-Century Europe (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 2005); Stefan J. Link, Forging Global Fordism: Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, and the Contest over the Industrial Order (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2020).

22. For a general survey of the literature on hegemonic orders and transitions, begin with G. John Ikenberry and Daniel H. Nexon, “Hegemony Studies 3.0: The Dynamics of Hegemonic Orders,” Security Studies 28, no. 3 (27 May 2019): 395–421. For a discussion of the importance of interpersonal and interorganizational relationships, read Daniel H. Nexon and Iver B. Neumann, “Hegemonic-Order Theory: A Field-Theoretic Account,” European Journal of International Relations 24, no. 3 (September 2018): 662–686. I am indebted to the distinction that A. G. Hopkins draws between empires and hegemons in American Empire: A Global History (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2018), 31–32.

23. Harlan Cleveland and William Foster, memorandum, “NATO’s Going to Want a Role in Arms Control Talks,” 14 July 1968, box 8, NPT, DOF, RG 383, NARA II, 1–2.

24. Ariel E. Levite, “Never Say Never Again: Nuclear Reversal Revisited,” International Security 27, no. 3 (January 2003): 59–88.

25. UNGA, 22nd Session, First Committee, Verbatim Record, 1562nd Meeting, 7 May 1968, A/C.1/PV.1562, Official Record, 7.

26. Roland Popp, Liviu Horovitz, and Andreas Wenger, eds., Negotiating the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty: Origins of the Nuclear Order (New York: Routledge, 2017).

27. Andrew Jon Rotter, Hiroshima: The World’s Bomb (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008); Målfrid Braut-Hegghammer, Unclear Physics: Why Iraq and Libya Failed to Build Nuclear Weapons (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2016).

28. Mark Mazower, No Enchanted Palace: The End of Empire and the Ideological Origins of the United Nations (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2009); Stephen Wertheim, “Instrumental Internationalism: The American Origins of the United Nations, 1940–3,” Journal of Contemporary History 54, no. 2 (April 2019): 265–283; Benn Steil, The Battle of Bretton Woods: John Maynard Keynes, Harry Dexter White, and the Making of a New World Order (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2014).

29. Melvyn P. Leffler, A Preponderance of Power: National Security, the Truman Administration, and the Cold War (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1992); G. John Ikenberry, Liberal Leviathan: The Origins, Crisis, and Transformation of the American World Order (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2011).

30. Francis J. Gavin, “Strategies of Inhibition: U.S. Grand Strategy, the Nuclear Revolution, and Nonproliferation,” International Security 40, no. 1 (July 2015): 9–46; Francis J. Gavin, Nuclear Weapons and American Grand Strategy (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2020).

31. Donette Murray, Kennedy, Macmillan and Nuclear Weapons (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2000); Matthew Jones, “Prelude to the Skybolt Crisis: The Kennedy Administration’s Approach to British and French Strategic Nuclear Policies in 1962,” Journal of Cold War Studies 21, no. 2 (May 2019): 58–109.

32. Bernard de Chalvron, telegram from Geneva to Paris, “Disarmament,” 29 February 1968, box 768, cote 517INVA, CADLC. For a history of the U.S.-Russian nonproliferation partnership, read William C. Potter and Sarah Bidgood, eds., Once and Future Partners: The United States, Russia, and Nuclear Non-Proliferation, Adelphi Series 464–465 (Abingdon, UK: Routledge, 2018).

33. Foreign Relations of the United States [FRUS], 1964–1968, vol. XI, document 239.

34. Robert B. Rakove, Kennedy, Johnson, and the Nonaligned World (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2013).

35. Odd Arne Westad, The Global Cold War: Third World Interventions and the Making of Our Times (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 8–72; James C. Scott, Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2008).

36. Akira Iriye, Global Community: The Role of International Organizations in the Making of the Contemporary World (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002); Jonathan Hunt, “The Birth of an International Community: Negotiating the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons,” in Robert L. Hutchings and Jeremi Suri, eds., Foreign Policy Breakthroughs: Cases in Successful Diplomacy (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015).