Cover of Networked Nonproliferation by Michal Onderco
Networked Nonproliferation
Making the NPT Permanent
Michal Onderco


October 2021
224 pages.

Hardcover ISBN: 9781503628922
Ebook ISBN: 9781503629646

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The Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) had many opponents when, in 1995, it came up for extension. The majority of parties opposed extension, and experts expected a limited extension as countries sought alternative means to manage nuclear weapons. But against all predictions, the treaty was extended indefinitely, and without a vote.

Networked Nonproliferation offers a social network theory explanation of how the NPT was extended, giving new insight into why international treaties succeed or fail. The United States was the NPT's main proponent, but even a global superpower cannot get its way through coercion or persuasion alone. Michal Onderco draws on unique in-depth interviews and newly declassified documents to analyze the networked power at play. Onderco not only gives the richest account yet of the conference, looking at key actors like South Africa, Egypt, and the EU, but also challenges us to reconsider how we think about American power in international relations.

With Networked Nonproliferation, Onderco provides new insight into multilateral diplomacy in general and nuclear nonproliferation in particular, with consequences for understanding a changing global system as the US, the chief advocate of nonproliferation and a central node in the diplomatic networks around it, declines in material power.

About the author

Michal Onderco is Associate Professor of International Relations at Erasmus University Rotterdam.

"With Networked Nonproliferation, Michal Onderco has written the best existing study of a crucial event in arms control history: the 1995 indefinite extension of the NPT. He also makes important theoretical contributions identifying sources of success in international treaty management. Scholars and practitioners alike will benefit from his insights."

—Scott D. Sagan, Stanford University

"Michal Onderco breaks new ground in his masterful analysis of the negotiation of the NPT's indefinite extension, Networked Nonproliferation. Drawing on an impressive array of interviews with actual participants in the negotiation, previously untapped archival information, and the large body of scholarship on the subject, he has produced by far the most detailed account of events leading to the historic 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference outcome. If, as is often asserted, conference president Jayantha Dhanapala was the magician who produced the unexpected product, Onderco has revealed many of the secrets behind the magic."

—William Potter, Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

"With Networked Nonproliferation, Michal Onderco provides a fresh and compelling account of how the NPT was made permanent in 1995. Through engaging writing and rigorous analysis of new evidence, this original study provides important insights into a decision with implications for the contentious politics of the nuclear nonproliferation regime today."

—Nina Tannenwald, Brown University