New Approaches to Nuclear Proliferation Policy

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Science  29 May 1992:
Vol. 256, Issue 5061, pp. 1293-1297
DOI: 10.1126/science.256.5061.1293


Nuclear proliferation is not one but a complex of problems. One relates to the collapse of the Soviet Union and its effect on the spread of nuclear weapons and knowledge. Second, Iraq's violation of its Non-Proliferation Treaty obligation has exposed certain weaknesses in the traditional regime of multilateral nonproliferation institutions and treaties. Third, Pakistan's achievement of a nuclear weapons capability in the late 1980s brings the postproliferation question to the forefront in South Asia. There is no single solution to this complex set of problems, but the beginning of wisdom is to build upon the successes of the past, add new policy procedures, and, above all, increase the priority given to the issue. Otherwise, we may be faced with the ironic outcome that the widely welcomed end of the Cold War may increase the prospect of nuclear use.