Why does proliferation happen?
Why do governments develop nuclear weapons?

So far, in fact, always for respectable reasons. In 1945, President Truman went back on President Roosevelt’s agreements about continuing atomic weapons collaboration post war with Britain – the Quebec and Hyde Park agreements. Prime Minister Attlee decided to set up the British Atomic Energy Authority at Harwell, later explaining:”We had to hold up our positions vis-a-vis the Americans. We couldn’t allow ourselves to be wholly in their hands, and their position wasn’t awfully clear always”.

Russia knew about the Manhattan project and, by 1945, had already started nuclear weapon research and development. China couldn’t stand by. Nor, eventually, could India and Pakistan.

As for Israel – ?

Last summer (2009), US Stratcom held its first annual Deterrence Symposium and General Chilton [head of Stratcom] gave Senators an interesting thought to ponder:”Throughout the 65-year history of nuclear weapons, no nuclear power has been conquered or even put at risk of conquest, nor has the world witnessed the globe-consuming conflicts of earlier history.”

It’s a thought others in government ought to ponder as they watch Iran and North Korea seek to develop nuclear capability and fear Al Qaeda and the Taliban are looking for weapon materials.

All these – do they really want nuclear weapons to attack us with?
Why not, like all the others, for deterrence – to deter us from doing our nuclear – or other – worst against them?

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