The American Interest

Pakistan’s Nuclear Proliferation

In a speech at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C., on February 11, President Bush warned against the spread of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons and suggested measures to dismantle a growing black market in nuclear fuel and technology.  He called the possibility of a sudden attack by weapons of mass destruction “the greatest threat before humanity today” and predicted that America and the rest of the world would have to face it for decades to come.

Mr. Bush said that the rules governing nuclear proliferation should be strengthened, including introducing a ban on the shipment of nuclear technology to countries that currently lack processing equipment.  The 1970 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons has allowed nonnuclear states to develop atomic power plants with the understanding that they would not be used as fronts for weapons-making, but Mr. Bush says that recently disclosed nuclear-weapons programs in Iran and North Korea prove that the treaty is no longer effective.  He called for new rules that would require nations to declare their nuclear facilities and capabilities and to open themselves to international inspections.  Nonsignatories would be prohibited from importing equipment for nuclear programs.

The President’s warnings reflect a real problem, even if his underlying political objective is to move the context of the ongoing debate about...

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