"The DPRK North Korea is ready to react to any mode of war desired by the U.S." Coming in response to the U.S. deployment of a navy battle group to the Korean Peninsula, this chilling statement from the North Korean foreign ministry suggests that Donald Trump's muscle-flexing has only raised the stakes in what words come from Kim Jong-un's regime. And the regime's actions? Intelligence reports saying that Pyongyang could be less than two years away from being able to strike the U.S., and with a potential sixth nuclear weapon test this Saturday to mark the birth of late leader Kim Il-sung, the risk of an actual nuclear strike, though remote, is increasing.
But the nuclear question also looms beyond the Korean Peninsula. Yesterday in New Delhi, Prime Ministers Malcolm Turnbull and Narendra Modi signed a deal under which Australia, which has 40% of the world's uranium reserves, will supply uranium to India — one of the world's three declared nuclear powers that aren't parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. The other two are ... North Korea and Pakistan, India's direct neighbor with which it's still in a decades-long conflict.
More and more nations feel entitled to pursue their own nuclear capability, seen both as a matter of national sovereignty and an entry ticket to the big leagues.
There is also, perhaps most frightening of all, the threat of terrorist organizations the like of ISIS getting their hands on radioactive material to make dirty bombs, as TIME reports in a bloodcurdling piece.
It is perhaps a direct consequence of an increasingly multipolar world and of the shift in the balance of power from the West to the developing nations of the East: More and more nations feel entitled to pursue their own nuclear capability, seen both as a matter of national sovereignty and an entry ticket to the big leagues. While every passing day makes the dream of a denuclearized world look more distant, the regime in Pyongyang and more aggressive tone from Washington remind us that nothing guarantees that Hiroshima and Nagasaki won't have their sequel.