Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


International Studies (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Bruce Bagley

Second Committee Member

Ambler Moss

Third Committee Member

Alberto Lozano


Despite the vast research by academics and their attempt to explain why states aspire nuclear power, why states transfer conventional arms, and the effect of nuclear proliferation on the probability of war and crisis behavior, little is known why states continue to provide sensitive nuclear assistance despite the catastrophic consequences it may bring. An additional problem to this paradigm is that according to the strategic theory of nuclear proliferation the spread of nuclear weapons threaten the United States and the international peace and security. To increase the understanding of the problem of nuclear development this study focuses on the question: Does United States Foreign Policy Achieve Meaningful Results To Stop Nuclear Advancement? To address this question, two case studies: Pakistan and Iran are examined through their regional history to understand their motivations for developing nuclear capability. Reference to International Relations theories of realism, neoliberalism, and constructivism are also used to serve as a critical basis to understanding the different aspects of foreign policy and what approach the United States pursues to halt nuclear advancement. The work concludes that US Foreign Policy can achieve meaningful results but it is not always successful at bringing nuclear advancement to a halt. The balance of diplomacy and the pressures of sanctions have been proven as an effective means of pressuring and persuading regimes to resolve conflicts and respect international norms. Utilized together these tactics can buy time and negotiating leverage to prevent states from continuing with their nuclear aspirations, acquiring nuclear weapons, prevent war, as well as show nuclear weapon states that their actions have serious conseuquences that include isolation and pressure of additional penalties upon them.


foreign policy; US foreign policy