Wednesday, May 27, 2009

How many nuclear-armed countries are too many?

It is alarming to think about North Korea armed with nuclear weapons. Or Pakistan or Israel or Russia.
But I read The Atomic Bazaar on the weekend. William Langewiesche makes the argument that it's inevitable that many countries will get nuclear weapons. The technology isn't all that challenging. The fuel can be found. There are people and companies willing to sell the components.
And there's great pride in a country like Pakistan or North Korea over building a nuclear bomb.
There is also a legitimate grievance. The five original nuclear powers - the U.S., Russia, China, Britain and France - aren't giving up their nuclear weapons. But they don't want other countries to have the same capabilities.
Langewiesche says proliferation is inevitable. The emphasis should be, he argues, on slowing it and - more importantly - on keeping the weapons out of the hands of terror groups. People willing to sacrifice everything for a cause are immune to all the deterrent of mutually assured destruction. If they can steal or buy a bomb or two, everything could change. Consider the changes since 9/11. Consider the changes after a nuclear blast in Mumbai or New York or Tokyo, with 50,000 dead.
It's sad though. I grew up with nuclear war as a real threat. Calculated whether Clarkson was worth a Soviet bomb - there was an oil refinery nearby. And what if they aimed at Buffalo and missed? Froze when the sirens went. Had a nightmare about being separated from my family when the night sky turned into day as the bomb fell.
It was a great thing when those fears faded. It would be a great step backward if a new generation, perhaps far away, had to live with them again.


DPL said...

Sure there are some countries with "the bomb" that we don't think should have access to bombs. But lets remind ourselves of the nucleur accidents throughout the world by the big boys in the nuke club. The big guys srewed up and even one in inventory anywhere in the world is one too many. Canada made money selling reactors to a couple of countries that managed to develop bombs. Scares one's socks off just knowing about those accidents. We even had a "Cocked Pistol" on northern BC when a B36 lost some engines and a bomb was dropped instead of the crew heading out to sea to dump it. american ships show up in BC ports with reactors driving them. Folks go out to see if they can get invited on board.The tourist industry jumps up and down with excitment as they see money coming ashore. None of us have clean hands in this dangerous business

Anonymous said...


Have you heard about the north korean nuclear test and China in a tight spot about that. Please stop this..imagine those countr fight each other.

my site nothing to do with nuclear

evaberlinerin said...

I think the problem is that a nuclear accident could happen in every moment. Some countries have nuclear weapons, but (in theory) it's only a threat to show their power and importance to other countries. The point is that all the countries should give up nuclear power. If only one or two countries give it up, it's "not fair" for them. They are going to be weaker (in the other countries' eyes).
I think it'a a really complicated neverending worldwide issue...

Eva from Hauptstadtreisen

Anonymous said...

Imagine those country accidentally launch nuclear missile or their system have been hacked or what so ever. Imagine small country like my country. You don’t have to send one missile…you can just send quarter of the missile and whole of my descendant vanished from earth.


pom said...

Nuclear is important but some people are selfish. Why this happen? Because they want show the world they are strong.Poor, they don't know, they will die too in the future. Nuclear weapon stop us to get holidays destination

indepth said...

Vote Nuclear for Energy