A World Free of Nuclear Weapons
By George P. Shultz, William J. Perry, Henry A. Kissinger and Sam Nunn.
The Wall Street Journal
January 4, 2007; Page A15
Nuclear weapons today present tremendous dangers, but also an historic opportunity.
U.S. leadership will be required to take the world to the next stage -- to a solid consensus
for reversing reliance on nuclear weapons globally as a vital contribution to preventing
their proliferation into potentially dangerous hands, and ultimately ending them as a
threat to the world.
Nuclear weapons were essential to maintaining international security during the Cold
War because they were a means of deterrence. The end of the Cold War made the
doctrine of mutual Soviet-American deterrence obsolete. Deterrence continues to be a
relevant consideration for many states with regard to threats from other states. But
reliance on nuclear weapons for this purpose is becoming increasingly hazardous and
North Korea's recent nuclear test and Iran's refusal to stop its program to enrich uranium -
- potentially to weapons grade -- highlight the fact that the world is now on the precipice
of a new and dangerous nuclear era. Most alarmingly, the likelihood that non-state
terrorists will get their hands on nuclear weaponry is increasing. In today's war waged on
world order by terrorists, nuclear weapons are the ultimate means of mass devastation.
And non-state terrorist groups with nuclear weapons are conceptually outside the bounds
of a deterrent strategy and present difficult new security challenges.
Apart from the terrorist threat, unless urgent new actions are taken, the U.S. soon will be
compelled to enter a new nuclear era that will be more precarious, psychologically
disorienting, and economically even more costly than was Cold War deterrence. It is far
from certain that we can successfully replicate the old Soviet-American "mutually
assured destruction" with an increasing number of potential nuclear enemies world-wide