Author (Your Name)

Jacob Berg, Colby College

Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis (Open Access)


Colby College. Government Dept.


Kenneth A. Rodman


Since the end of the Cold War, the international community has been concerned about three states crossing the nuclear threshold: Iraq, Ukraine, and the Democratic Peoples' Republic of Korea (DPRK or North Korea). In the Iraqi case, the United States used tactics of punishment and coercion. After the Persian Gulf War of 1991, United Nations and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) special inspectors went into Iraq to search for not only signs of nuclear weapons production, but also weapons themselves. Foiled by Baghdad, the U.S. launched airstrikes on three separate occasions, hoping to force Iraq to comply with UN Security Council Resolution 687, which states that "Iraq shall unconditionally agree not to acquire or develop nuclear weapons or nuclear-weapons-usable material or any subsystems or components or any research, development, support or manufacturing facilities.111 These measures have thus far not reassured the international community that Iraq's nuclear weapons program has been eliminated. By contrast, the U.S. tried to persuade Ukraine and North Korea to surrender their weapons through a strategy of reassurance and compensation. The strategy succeeded with Ukraine, which inherited its nuclear weapons from the former Soviet Union. "Born nuclear," the country decided to relinquish its weapons in exchange for an array of incentives from the U.S., Russia, and Great Britain. As of 1998, few nuclear weapons remain on Ukrainian territory. While the strategy has yet to be fully implemented with North Korea, events there point to failure. Diplomacy that began in 1991 culminated in the Agreed Framework of 1994. The Framework offered the DPRK incentives along the lines of those presented to Ukraine. Because all parties involved have been slow to implement the accord, however, there has been some backsliding, resulting in a reopening of negotiations. As one can see, there are different strategies of targeting would-be proliferators, resulting in varying degrees of success. These strategies of nonproliferation can be separated into two categories: one that restricts the supply of nuclear-related technology and/or imposes penalties through sanctions and the use of force and another that offers incentives to denuclearize. These measures are called, respectively, supply-side and demand-side nonproliferation. Can demand-side measures succeed where supply-side nonproliferation cannot, as in the case of Ukraine or will demand side strategies work only if certain conditions are met? By comparing the cases of Ukraine and the DPRK, one can determine whether compensation is a viable diplomatic option for the United States in its efforts to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. When will it work? When will it fail? Why was the Ukrainian example a success and why do the ongoing events in North Korea point towards failure? What are the implications of compensation, whether successful or unsuccessful, for the non-proliferation regime?


Nuclear nonproliferation, Nuclear arms control -- Former Soviet republics, Nuclear arms control -- Korea, World politics -- 1989-