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Bush's Nuclear Revolution: A Regime Change in Nonproliferation

Courtesy Reuters

The Bush administration's new "National Strategy to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)," announced in December, is wise in some places, in need of small fixes in other places, and dangerously radical in still others. Most important, the strategy's approach to nuclear issues seems destined to reduce international cooperation in enforcing nonproliferation commitments rather than enhance it. America's willingness to use force against emergent WMD threats, as in Iraq, can stir the limbs of the international body politic to action. But a truly effective strategy to reduce nuclear dangers over the long term must bring along hearts and minds as well.

The WMD proliferation problem involves biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons, but the third raises the most telling issues. Chemical and biological weapons are legally prohibited by treaty, and so the challenge they pose is basically one of enforcement. Nuclear weapons, on the other hand, are temporarily legal in five

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