Nuclear Realities

Given the worrying over nuclear Iran, it is timely to review the rules of nuclear proliferation.

NUCLEAR CRED
Otherwise insignificant nations and failed states gain credibility by shorting their own people to divert billions of dollars to acquiring a bomb. Take away that fact from Pakistan, and the United States would probably have reduced aid to such a de facto belligerent long ago. Without the ongoing appearance of possessing nukes, North Korea would probably earn about as much foreign aid as Chad or Niger. What makes France a world player, in a way that the much larger and richer Germany is not, is not just the burdens of German guilt, but also the fact of a nuclear France. The bomb sometimes achieves what even GDP, population, strategic location, or natural resources cannot.

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