The importance of coupling: The limited test ban negotiations
Like many international negotiations, negotiations for a comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty have engaged a wide variety of non-state actors, including scientific experts and anti-nuclear advocacy groups, alongside those of the more traditional, state-based, or intergovernmental variety. Although the world’s nuclear powers have been at the center of these negotiations, so too have a growing number of middle-ranking powers acting as regime-builders, such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and Sweden, which have championed the idea of a comprehensive test ban treaty as a key step toward eventual comprehensive nuclear disarmament. Many countries in the developing world have also become engaged in this issue as the risk of nuclear proliferation in their own neighborhoods has grown (Ramaker, Mackby, Marshall, and Geil, 2003). In recent years, many scholars have come to stress the importance of “complexity” and multiple causation in contemporary international negotiation processes such that no single actor or institution has a monopoly on ideas, issues, agendas, or bargaining power (Zartman, 1994; Zartman and Crump, 2003; Hampson, 1995). In the modern world, political power and patterns of authority have become increasingly diffuse and fragmented, and the influence of actors outside the formal organizations of government has grown, leading to what some scholars have called a “crisis of governance” (Thakur, 2005). Such complexity presents a formidable barrier to understanding the real dynamics of contemporary negotiation processes, including those in pursuit of a comprehensive nuclear test ban. There is an obvious temptation among analysts to search for simplicity, either by privileging the importance of a single actor or group of actors, or highlighting the importance of a particular phase, or stage, of the negotiation process in determining bargaining outcomes. The complexity of contemporary international negotiation processes argues for a more sophisticated and nuanced theoretical understanding of the interaction of multiple variables in bargaining and decision-making, one that takes place within both an intergovernmental and a non-state advocacy context.
Hampson, F.O. (2012). The importance of coupling: The limited test ban negotiations. In Banning the Bang or the Bomb?: Negotiating the Nuclear Test Ban Regime (pp. 75–95). doi:10.1017/CBO9781107358348.006