A Proliferation Plateau May Offer Unique Opportunities


North Korean Nuclear Program Hearing in 2013. Source: WikiMedia Commons

Leonard S. Spector
April 14, 2016

The following is an excerpt from an article published April 2016 by Arms Control Association.

Has the spread of nuclear weapons to new countries reached a plateau? That is how things appear in early 2016 on the basis of publicly available information.

If North Korea is treated as a nuclear-weapon possessor state, for which the opportunity to prevent proliferation has passed and whose capabilities must be addressed through deterrence and containment, and if Iran’s nuclear potential has been capped for the coming decade at a point well short of nuclear weapons possession, then, using publicly available sources, it is not possible at this moment to identify additional states aspiring to acquire nuclear arms and taking concrete steps to achieve this goal.

This would be very good news, but if horizontal proliferation may be stabilizing, overall nuclear dangers are far from going on holiday, with arsenals growing in China, India, North Korea, Pakistan, and possibly Israel and tensions growing in a number of potential nuclear hot spots.

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