Even after the Iran nuclear agreement, nuclear dangers are growing on four fronts – North Korea; U.S.-Russian relations; India-Pakistan, with China mixed in; and the potential for offshore frictions between the United States and China. Sure, there were more intense periods of nuclear danger during the Cold War, but only two parties were involved. Nowadays, we’re dealing with nuclear dangers along four commingled axes. Conditions are not now in place to reduce nuclear dangers on any of these fronts.
The global nuclear order is wobbly. Support structures for downsizing vertical proliferation and reinforcing nonproliferation are corroding. Imagine how much worse this situation would be if the Obama Administration had not been able to orchestrate an agreement to strictly limit Iran’s capabilities to produce and weaponize fissile material. This, too, could unravel, if diehard critics of the deal in the United States succeed in choking off financial transactions that are an integral part of the deal, or if hard cases in Iran decide they don’t like nuclear constraints.
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