There are more countries now that are looking to start arming in nuclear weapons than in any time in history. And if history serves as a guide, there will be new challenges for now only the United States but for China, Turkey, Japan, North Korea and a host of other countries in 2020 and beyond.
In 1961 President John Kennedy was just getting into the seat of US politics and he suggested that studies done in the US intelligence agencies projected that there would be 25 countries with nuclear arms by 1980. However, the nuclear arms race was limited to China, the US, the Soviet Union/Russia, France, the UK and several other countries.
Only one country could design and manufacture all the components to produce nuclear weapons but decided to give it up – that was South Africa. In 1989, South Africa possessed 6 nuclear weapons and dismantled them.
North Korea was a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, but announced on January 10, 2003 that it would withdraw from this exclusive members club. But as we see North Korea on the list of nuclear armed nations, what happens when Japan, South Korean and others feel the need to defend themselves?
Those who study geopolitics know that Iran is now in a rivalry with Saudi Arabia for power and influence in the Middle East. Iran is building a nuclear weapons industry while the US is working with Saudi Arabia to build advanced weapons in one of its desert cities – the Saudis will need a nuclear weapon on day one, the day after Iran announces it has become a member of the nuclear world.
Currently the US has economic sanctions placed on Iran while the President of Iran, President Hassan Rouhani warned that if sanctions are not lifted in 60 days, Iran will resume its enrichment of uranium to a liver higher than Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action – JCPOA. This is the name of the plan that was implemented in 2015 to slow down the Iranian development of weapons grade plutonium and related nuclear components. Iran wants weapons, and Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Israel are not at all happy about such a future.
So the fear is North Korea triggering a nuclear arms race in the Far East while Iran is doing exactly the same in the Middle East. What if John F. Kennedy was right, but just off on timing. One day, the number of countries that posses nuclear weapons could be 25 as he predicted.