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Nuclear Nonproliferation And The New Global Reality Print Nuclear Nonproliferation And The New Global Reality

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Securing nuclear materials is one of the greatest security challenges of the 21st century for the United States and the global community. Although we have fortunately avoided a “nuclear 9/11” to this point, multiple trend lines are moving in a worrying direction toward chaos, opacity, and uncertainty. Without intensified, coordinated effort, it is far from certain that we will continue to be so lucky.


The dangers spring from a distressing variety of sources. Huge stockpiles of nuclear weapons and nuclear material in the United States and Russia—vestiges of the Cold War—remain in various states of security. Countries of concern, notably Pakistan and North Korea, possess nuclear weapons. And a growing number of countries are either in possession of or actively pursuing nuclear technologies that could be used for either energy production or to create the necessary material for nuclear weapons.

A common characteristic of these threats is their connectedness with the changing global order. If it were ever the case, it is certainly true today that the United States can no longer dictate the rules of the game regarding nuclear issues. Russia is resurgent and unwilling to blithely accede to US wishes. Nuclear weapons have been introduced into regional conflicts between significant players such as in Southeast Asia, a phenomenon that threatens to spread to other regional hotspots—notably, the Middle East. And the expansion of economies and national interests in a large number of states is driving widespread reconsideration of nuclear energy as a source of electricity and also, perhaps, as a latent capability to manufacture nuclear weapon-capable material.

Please send us your thoughts on the changing global order and the materials offered here. All comments may be reprinted on this Web site and in related materials.

This page is part of Rising Powers: The New Global Reality, a project from the Stanley Foundation.

The Stanley Foundation is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

The global order is changing. The 21st Century will be marked by many competing sources of global power. Across politics, economics, culture, military strength and more, a new group of countries have growing influence over the future of the world:



South Africa
European Union

South Korea


Other Countries

Big issues are also playing a cross-cutting role in this changing global order:


Nuclear Nonproliferation
Nonstate Actors

Global/Regional Systems

And this changing global order has implications for the United States.

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