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Michael Walkusky August 25, 2010 Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction Ever since the advent of nuclear weapons,

there has been a raging debate concerning whether nations should be able to proliferate or work to keep nuclear weapons from being produced. When people saw the damage nuclear weapons imposed upon Japan, the majority of the world favored non-proliferation. From these horrors, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty was hatched and it aimed to curb the creation of new nuclear weapons. Although the idea of non-proliferation has become the ideal way to deal with nuclear weapons, the concept of proliferation seems to be more sound when framed within the theory of neorealism. Neorealism has an offshoot which is the rational deterrence theory. This theory draws from neorealism in that it believes that states are rational and unitary actors that believe in security first and foremost. Additionally, states are interested in relative gains and do not want to accrue losses that outweigh any gains. Therefore, if more nations begin to build up a supply of nuclear weapons, that will deter them from going to war and blowing each other off the face of the earth. North Korea has been vilified by the world for creating nuclear weapons, but they appear to just be creating them to deter any other country from attacking them which makes them an interesting case to study. Whereas other theories believe that domestic factors and international cooperation are key towards understanding the proliferation debate, neorealism makes the most sound arguments because the majority of nations act rationally and believe that making relative gains while keeping their borders safe and secure from foreign threats is the best way to prosper as a nation. On October 3rd, 2006, North Korea announced that it would test a nuclear missile in the near future. In a statement by the foreign ministry of North Korea, they stated that they will never use nuclear weapons first, but strictly prohibit any threat of nuclear weapons and nuclear transfer. Although some can view the ministry as lying, this statement confirms that North Korea is developing weapons as a deterrent to increase their security. Furthermore, the statement goes on to say that The U.S.' extreme threat of a nuclear war and (its) sanctions and pressure compel the DPRK to conduct a nuclear test. It is true that the United States had long been treating North Korea as a belligerent nation. George W. Bush even placed North Korea on his Axis of Evil in 2002. While North Korea is an authoritarian government, they have just as much right to buildup nuclear missiles as the United States did in the 1940s. North Korea is a rational actor that is trying to obtain security from any future attack against them. The DPRK should be one of many countries horizontally proliferating to protect themselves North Korea is a very interesting case to look at within the proliferation debate. While the country has a poor economy and is widely perceived as evil because they are extremely authoritarian, they also have possession of one of the most powerful weapons on earth: a nuclear missile. Recently, North Korea said that they would be willing to once again enter into the six-party talks. It will be intriguing to see how the six-party talks play out. Although North Korea would love to continue building nuclear missiles, it would also be fantastic if their government could receive goods from the six-party talks in exchange for shutting down their nuclear facilities again. Throughout this process, North

Korea has exhibited that they are a unitary actor that will continue to build nuclear missiles in an attempt to keep their country safe and deter any other nuclear state from launching an attack. If North Korea uses their nuclear missiles solely as a deterrent, their actions may pave the road for other countries to do the same in the future without repercussions. While weapons of mass destruction are clearly a danger, horizontal proliferation is the only way to ensure that no one is ever attacked by a missile. Hypothetically, the United States could withdraw from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty at any second and fire a nuclear warhead at any non-nuclear state and suffer very few consequences. If every state had nuclear weapons, it would be irrational for a state to use them considering the destructive consequences that would come their way if they did. Neorealism and the rational deterrence theory have the most logical assumptions when it comes to proliferation. Every state is always attempting to keep itself secure and free from foreign attacks.. A number of people may change their mind and take the side of proliferation and deterrence if North Korea is able to prove it possesses nuclear missiles just for deterrence. Even then, the proliferation debate will continue to go on for years until one of the sides gets their way.