In Non-Proliferation, a Retreat and Rethinking

Some analysts have come to see nuclear proliferation as inevitable and are searching for new policies to address the problem, including a reliance on deterrence, which kept the peace during the Cold War.

There is still a strong argument in favor of non-proliferation, but it depends on the concerted action of the world's nuclear weapons powers, and that cooperation is uncertain.

During the Cold War, through a complex set of arms control treaties, with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty at the center, the effort to limit nuclear weapons largely succeeded.

It has been a different story over the past decade, and some in the Bush administration concluded that nuclear proliferation is inevitable. The impetus in this line of thinking is that the United States should focus on actions that contain nations after they acquire the bomb — rather than preventing them from acquiring it in the first place.

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