The emergence of North Korea’s nuclear deterrent has been a grievous blow to international nonproliferation efforts and poses serious national security challenges for the United States and its Northeast Asian allies. It is by no means clear, however, that the precedent North Korea has set will significantly erode the nonproliferation regime or stimulate proliferation elsewhere.
This paper will identify a number of arenas where North Korea’s becoming a nuclear weapons possessor state might be expected to have significant negative consequences, and it will assess the damage likely to be done. As will be seen, the ripple effects of North Korea’s crossing the nuclear threshold may be more limited than they first appear.
Download the report, “The Future Impact of North Korea’s Emerging Nuclear Deterrent on Nuclear Nonproliferation” by Leonard S. Spector.
Find other papers in the North Korea’s Nuclear Futures Series.
*This report was modified on November 6, 2015 to clarify an ambiguity in the article.
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This publication results from research supported by the Naval Postgraduate School’s Project on Advanced Systems and Concepts for Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction (PASCC) via Assistance Grant/Agreement No. N00244-14-1-0024 awarded by the NAVSUP Fleet Logistics Center San Diego (NAVSUP FLC San Diego). The views expressed in written materials or publications, and/or made by speakers, moderators, and presenters, do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the Naval Postgraduate School nor does mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by the US Government.
This North Korea’s Nuclear Futures Series was also made possible by support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
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