Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

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NPT Simulation

This course is devoted to a simulation of the first NPT Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) meeting following the 2015 NPT Review Conference. This PrepCom is likely to be held in New York in spring 2017, and will constitute the first two-week session of the 2020 NPT review process cycle. It will involve multilateral negotiations on the implementation of the NPT, with special reference to issues of nuclear disarmament, nonproliferation, and peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Based on the outcomes of the most recent NPT Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) meetings, but in advance of the 2015 NPT Review Conference, one would expect major debates at the 2017 PrepCom on the subjects of the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons, further reductions in all types of nuclear weapons, creation of additional nuclear-weapon-free zones (especially in the Middle East), negative security assurances, nonproliferation compliance, international safeguards, nuclear terrorism, peaceful nuclear uses, and provisions for withdrawal from the Treaty. It remains to be seen if there will be an on-going crisis in Ukraine at the time of the PrepCom, but if there is, it also is apt to impact on deliberations at the NPT negotiations.

Students will assume the roles of delegates to the Rev Con from ten or more states, possibly including Canada, Chile, China, Egypt, France, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, and the United States. In most instances, delegations will consist of two students. The precise number of states will depend on the size of the class.

The base point for the simulation is the “real world.” Dr. William Potter will be the principal instructor. He will be assisted in the course by other CNS experts, a number of whom also have participated in actual NPT meetings.

(1) The simulation places a premium on interpersonal skills and oral communication.

(2) Emphasis will be placed on developing analytical and political skills relevant to operation in a foreign ministry and other national and international organization bureaucracies. The written component of the course will entail preparation of concise policy papers and drafting of international legal texts.

(3) Students will be required to immerse themselves in the historical record of prior NPT negotiations, especially those related to the 2015 NPT Review Conference.

(4) Students will become familiar with the process of multilateral negotiations, which places a premium on coordinating positions across and gaining consensus from a large number of states with diverse national interests and objectives.

(5) Students will be expected to develop an understanding of the multiple expectations of the NPT regime by various states parties and regional groups, as well as to generate constructive ideas to meet the political challenges facing the NPT today.

Course Requirements: By the end of the first three weeks students should be familiar with the evolution of the nuclear nonproliferation regime and the basic domestic political and international security challenges it confronts. Students also are expected to be knowledgeable by the end of the third week about the principal concerns of the countries they represent with respect to the NPT review process. At a minimum, all class members should have read the following materials prior to the formal initiation of the simulation in the fourth week:

Darryl Howlett and John Simpson, eds., Nuclear Non-Proliferation: A Reference Handbook (1992), pp. 15-28, 51-56.

George Bunn, Arms Control by Committee: Managing Negotiations with the Russians (1992), pp. 59-83.

Tariq Rauf and Rebecca Johnson, “After the NPT’s Indefinite Extension: The Future of the Global Nonproliferation Regime,” Nonproliferation Review (Fall 1995), pp. 28-42 at http://cns.miis.edu/pubs/npr/vol03/31/raufjo31.pdf.

John Simpson, “The 2000 NPT Review Conference,” SIPRI Yearbook 2001, Appendix 6B, pp. 1-16.

William C. Potter, “The NPT Review Conference: 188 States in Search of Consensus,” The International Spectator, Vol. 3 (2005). (An assessment of the 2005 NPT Rev Con.)

William C. Potter, “The NPT & the Sources of Nuclear Restraint,” Daedalus (Winter 2010), pp. 68-81.

Jayantha Dhanapala, “The Management of NPT Diplomacy,” Daedalus (Winter 2010), pp. 57-67. )

Carlton Stoiber, “The Evolution of NPT Review Conference Final Documents, 1975-2000,” Nonproliferation Review (Fall-Winter 2003), pp. 126-147.

William C. Potter, Patricia Lewis, Gaukhar Mukhatzhanova, and Miles Pomper, “The 2010 NPT Review Conference: Deconstructing Consensus” at http://cns.miis.edu/treaty_npt/.

William C. Potter and Gaukhar Mukhatzhanova, Nuclear Politics and the Non-Aligned Movement (2012).

Thomas Markram, “The NPT’s Review Process and Some Options for Its Further Strengthening by 2015,” Unpublished manuscript, 2012.

Gaukhar Mukhatzhanova, 2014 Monitoring Report: Implementation of the Conclusions and Recommendations for Follow-on Actions Adopted at the 2010 NPT Review Conference at http://www.nonproliferation.org/2014-npt-action-plan-monitoring-report/. See also related reports by Reaching Critical Will available at http://www.reachingcriticalwill.org.

Gaukhar Mukhatzhanova, “Rough Seas Ahead: Issues for the 2015 NPT Review Conference,” Arms Control Today (April 2014).

Additional readings will be assigned following the conclusion of the 2015 NPT Review Conference.

In addition, students should all become very familiar with the NPT Briefing Book (2015 Edition) available at cns.miis.edu/treaty_npt/npt_briefing_book_2010/pdfs/npt_briefing_book_full-version.pdf.

Nonproliferatn&Terrorsm Stdies
Nonproliferatn&Terrorsm Stdies
Intl Policy & Management
Requirements Fulfilled:
Equivalent Courses:


Fall 2016 - MIIS

NPTG8516A-F16 Lecture (Potter)

Fall 2015 - MIIS

NPTG8516A-F15 Lecture (Potter)