Can anyone imagine anything more likely to motivate states that don't pass our test--for reasons likely less about national security than national pride--to seek to defy our rules? Can anyone imagine anything more likely to lead to a cycle of perpetual proliferation? Can anyone imagine anything more likely to inspire an Egyptian or Indonesian or Saudi teenager to devote his life to getting an atomic bomb, becoming the world's first nuclear terrorist, and committing the greatest mass murder in history?
Nuclear arsenals, as Robert McNamara recently declared, are "militarily unnecessary, morally repugnant, and politically indefensible." Individual states may perceive individual threats, but humanity itself dwells under a collective threat--JFK's "nuclear sword of Damocles"--whose very existence puts the very future of the world at risk. If we don't get serious about moving toward a world of zero nuclear weapon states, we can resign ourselves to a world of many more nuclear weapon states--"status quo" and "unsavory" alike. But as Abraham Lincoln said about a nation half slave and half free, a world divided into a few nuclear good guys and a great many non-nuclear bad guys cannot forever endure.
Dr. Tad Daley, Peace and Disarmament Fellow
Physicians for Social Responsibility
Los Angeles, CA