Date of Award

Summer 2010

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


International Studies

Committee Director

Regina Karp

Committee Member

Kurt Taylor Gaubatz

Committee Member

Peter Schulman


Today's international environment characterized in nuclear threat terms as having increasing concerns about the potential for terrorist or non-state use of nuclear devices and a decline in the likelihood of the original nuclear weapon states engaging each other in a nuclear war remains in search of a path away from the fear of nuclear attack some twenty years after the end of the Cold War. This research dissertation will seek to answer the question of how best to reestablish a nuclear arms control regime. This dissertation argues that the international environment has fundamentally changed since the end of the Cold War requiring a shift in emphasis on multilateral efforts to solve issues like nuclear proliferation with the United States as the leader of such work. Specifically, this research will test the hypothesis that the United States must reassert a position of leadership through bilateral and multilateral cooperation to develop appropriate nuclear arms policies that effectively reestablish worldwide controls, continue reduction of nuclear arms toward the Non Proliferation Treaty goal of nuclear disarmament. By reviewing the U.S. relationship to three specific nuclear arms control agreements, this research explores how U.S. leadership in these efforts impacts the risk of further nuclear proliferation and the potential for nuclear attacks by both states and non-state actors. Once the relationship of the United States to the nuclear arms control regime is characterized, a suggested policy framework will be provided as a means to analyze the strength of the dissertation hypothesis.

This dissertation concludes that U.S. leadership is essential to the reinforcement of the NPT, conclusion of additional bilateral and multilateral arms control agreements and fostering a persistent and supporting multilateral relationship with all states to achieve the goals of the NPT, halting nuclear proliferation, eventually achieving total disarmament. While the United States has begun to refocus international efforts to address nuclear issues, an expanded set of policy recommendations is discussed as well as a renewed research agenda in international relations as a follow on to this dissertation is suggested.