Proliferation is a serious problem but there is no

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Proliferation is aserious problem, but there is no cause for panic.Prolif is slowing globally—technical progress has stalled and the norm has become entrenchedHymans 13(Jacques EC - associate professor of international relations at the University of Southern California, “The Threat of Nuclear Proliferation: Perception and Reality,” p. 282-284, Ethics & International Affairs, 27, no. 3, DOI: 10.1017/S089267941300021X)This assumption is highly questionable. There have been many supposedly destabilizing shocks to the global nonproliferation norm over the years.These include the Indian nuclear test of 1974, the revelation of Israel’s secret nuclear arsenal in 1986, the Indian and Pakistani nuclear tests of 1998, and the North Korean nuclear tests of 2006, 2009, and 2013, to mention just a few. Yet, despite these provocations, today fewer states are engaged in suspicious nuclear activities than ever before.The nonproliferation norm is much more solidly entrenched than most observers believe.The historical resilience of the nonproliferation norm becomes much less surprising when we realize that abstention from nuclear weapons is not a bizarre departure from states’ normal pursuit of national security and international standing.The effects of nuclear weapons are huge, indiscriminate, and long-lasting. Most thinkers have focused on the offense these monstrous characteristics give to the human conscience. But it is equally important to notethat these same characteristics also render the bomb useless for almost all military purposes.Therefore, states that try to build new nuclear weapons arsenals have increasingly been seen not as prudent and pragmatic, but instead as paranoid and power-mad. This essentially limits the bomb’s appeal to those few state leaders who really are paranoid and power-mad.The second—and even more fundamental—assumption undergirding the anticipation of rampant proliferation is that more than forty states now have the latent capacity to build the bomb within just afew years, if they wished to do so. Former CIA Director George Tenet offers an even darker assessment: “In the current marketplace, if you have a hundred million dollars, you can be your own nuclear power.” In other words, getting the bomb today is merely a matter of money—and not even all that much money. If Tenet is right, then a mere trickle of new nuclear weapon states could rapidly turn into an unmanageable cascade. This assumption of ubiquitous latent nuclear capacity, however, is just as questionable as the assumption of ubiquitous latent nuclear intentions.It is true that some of the obstacles to building the bomb are lower than they used to be. For instance, most of the scientific secrets of the
original nuclear weapons projects have long since been revealed, and many highly sensitive technologies are now available on the international black market. But the actual experiences of recent nuclear weapons projects contradict the conventional

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