Nuclear diffusion: A rethinking of why nation-states "go nuclear"

Chris Kofinis, University of Nevada, Las Vegas


Nuclear Diffusion: A Rethinking of Horizontal Nuclear Weapons Proliferation examines the spread of nuclear weapons throughout the nuclear age. What is pondered are the specific reasons why a state would pursue a nuclear weapons deterrent. For example, are there identifiable reasons or conditions that explain horizontal nuclear weapons proliferation? While numerous arguments have been made for why countries proliferate, this piece posits a simple assumption; A non-nuclear state is inclined to proliferate because of the dramatic nature of the nuclear threat. The imperiled non-nuclear state prefers to proliferate as only the nuclear deterrent ensures relative security in an anarchic nuclear-armed world. Whereas peace may prevail in the absence of nuclear weapons, relative security demands the imperilled state to question whether it needs nuclear weapons. Should a state desire to remove vulnerability, it is the unfortunate reality of the nuclear age that nuclear peace must begin and end with the nuclear weapon.