The nuclear security discourse : proliferation vs disarmament concernsThe nuclear security discourse : proliferation vs disarmament concerns
Faculty of Social Sciences. Political Sciences
South African journal of international affairs
21(2014):3, p. 321-334
University of Antwerp
The phrase proliferation concern tags its subject circumstances, a government, a policy, a capability as a threat to the nuclear non-proliferation regime. It is applied as a discursive tool in the increasingly powerful nuclear security discourse, reinforced by successive US presidents to frame an understanding of nuclear relations in the language of US interests and national security. This article investigates the evolution of this discourse and what the phrase proliferation concern means in nuclear arms control parlance and practice from the point of view of non-nuclear weapon states, especially the emerging powers. Emerging powers (like Brazil, Turkey and South Africa) struggle with the hype around nuclear security that is used to restrict rights to civilian nuclear technology while endlessly postponing nuclear disarmament. For these states, the discourse brings about disarmament concerns. The article uses the South African case study to illustrate the problematic nature of this discourse.