White Elephants : Why South Africa Gave Up the Bomb and the Implications for Nuclear Nonproliferation Policy

This article examines why the South African government chose to dismantle its indigenous nuclear arsenal in 1993. It considers three competing explanations for South African nuclear disarmament the realist argument, which suggest that the country responded to a reduction in the perceived threat to i...

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Bibliographic Details
Main Author: Babbage, Maria.
Format: Book
Subjects:
Online Access:http://www.princeton.edu/~jpia/pdf2004/Chapter%2011.pdf
Description
Summary:This article examines why the South African government chose to dismantle its indigenous nuclear arsenal in 1993. It considers three competing explanations for South African nuclear disarmament the realist argument, which suggest that the country responded to a reduction in the perceived threat to its security, the idealist argument, which sees the move as a signal to Western liberal democratic states that SouthAfrica wished to join their ranks, and a more pragnatic argument - that the apartheid government scrapped the program out of fear that its nuclear weapons would be missed by a black-majority government. The article argues that the third explanation offers that most plausiblerationale for South Africa's decision to denuclearize. Indeed, it contends that the aparthied South African government destroyed its indicenous nuclear arsenal and acceded ti the Nuclear Non-ProliferatuonTreaty to tie the hand of the future ANC government, thereby preventing any potential misuse of the technology, whether through its proliferation or use against a traget.