Great Power Divisions Stymie Nonproliferation Debate

Virtually all nations agree that using a nuclear weapon would fail to provide security and ensure pariah status. That said, divisions run deep over how to achieve nuclear non-proliferation. Speeches before the UN General Assembly reveal “a wide gap among Russian, Chinese and US assessments of the causes, consequences and solutions regarding nuclear proliferation,” explains Richard Weitz, senior fellow and director of the Center for Political-Military Analysis at Hudson Institute. The United States calls for international cooperation, arguing that Russia and China could apply more pressure on North Korea. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson points to savings in terms of costs for weapons and safeguards in preventing mistakes, corruption and acquisition by terrorists or reckless parties. China and Russia insist that pressure on North Korea should avoid threats while emphasizing diplomacy and negotiations, adding that military force is not an option. “The challenge for international diplomacy is that the gulf separating the United States from Russia and China extends well beyond nonproliferation issues,” Weitz explains. US President Donald Trump warns the United States is prepared “to totally destroy North Korea” in self-defense against the regime’s “suicide mission.” Goading a nuclear power may be a suicide mission, too. – YaleGlobal