During Tuesday’s Veep Debate, Her Imperial Majesty’s sidekick Tim Kaine accused The Donald of advocating for nuclear proliferation. That was a staggering misstatement, but there’s a point that Trump sidekick Pence missed in reply:
Is nuclear proliferation always a bad thing? Maybe not. Excerpt:
Nonproliferation zealots are making sure nuclear weapons now proliferate only to totalitarian states. Despite much rhetoric and sincere, well-intentioned efforts, the United States sat by as North Korea developed its nuclear weapons. It is not too late to disabuse China and North Korea of the idea that nuclear proliferation pays. Japan ought to begin a sincere program to build deliverable nuclear weapons to show China that China’s support to North Korea is counterproductive and strategically naive. The Republic of Korea ought to begin a nuclear-weapons development program.
Since China would greatly oppose Japan becoming a nuclear-weapons state, should Japan declare its intention to start a nuclear-weapons program in response to these repeated, unjustified and deeply threatening provocations by the Pyongyang regime, China might finally realize that it is in its interest to facilitate the collapse of the totalitarian regime in Pyongyang and allow the Seoul government to absorb the North. The United States could reassure China that U.S. forces are in Korea only to defend the South Koreans. And Japan could assure China that its program is entirely defensive and would likely be suspended, should the North Korean regime collapse and the peninsula become completely denuclearized. A Japanese nuclear-weapons program would be entirely within Japan’s constitutional rights, given the North Korean nuclear-weapons program.
There’s a truism among Second Amendment advocates that states “the only defense against a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” Can we extrapolate that to “the only defense against a bad country with a nuke is a good country with a nuke?” If rogue nations like Iran and North Korea are armed with nukes, should we encourage allies like Japan, South Korea and (supposedly) to arm themselves with the only deterrent to nuclear arms – that is, their own nuclear arms?
In the case of North Korea, that may be effective. Even the stunted little gargoyle with bad hair from a long line of stunted little gargoyles with bad hair that rules North Korea would be hesitant to vanish in a puff of nuclear flame, and is probably savvy enough to know that would be the likely outcome of a nuclear strike on their part. But the Iranians? The theocracy in charge of Iran adhere to an apocalyptic death cult; they may well welcome a nuclear exchange. And our primary “ally” in the region, the Saudis, are not ideologically aligned with the West; they are allies of convenience, not commitment, like the Soviet Union in World War 2.
It’s been said that diplomacy is “the art of saying ‘nice doggy, nice doggy’ while looking for a rock.” That’s pretty much the state of diplomacy, such as it is, in the Middle East.
The article concludes: The Chinese government must conclude that North Korea is far more of a strategic danger to China than a unified and strategically neutral Korea under the governance of Seoul. A Japanese and South Korean nuclear-weapons program would bring a geostrategic situation clearly less favorable to China. At present, politicians in the West are too timid to recommend such a step, and cling to shallow arguments that the world should be rid of nuclear weapons—so that only rogue states will have them.
And it’s important to note that those rogue states will develop nukes no matter what the United States does, no matter what our allies do; in the case of the Norks, nukes in the hands of the Japanese and the South Koreans may well give them pause. I doubt that would work on the Iranians.
It’s a thorny topic, and where nukes are concerned, there really aren’t any good answers.