Tensions in areas outside Central and Eastern Europe, the region traditionally of greatest Western concern, are being exacerbated by the spread of weapons of mass destruction and high-performance weapons. This trend adds to the need for a close reexamination and restructuring of existing nonproliferation regimes.
During the past 15 years, technologies useful in the construction of nuclear weapons, chemical/biological weapons, and missile delivery systems have been diffused to a number of additional nations. There is substantial evidence that India, Iraq, Israel, Pakistan, and South Africa may now or soon possess nuclear weapons capabilities. And the Iran-Iraq war provided graphic evidence of the use of missiles and chemical warfare on both sides. These capabilities in the hands of so many nations pose a direct threat to the security of the United States.
There has been a steady diffusion of scientific knowledge, technical and engineering talent, and manufacturing ability in all areas of proliferation, and a concentrated group of nations have acquired the new capabilities. In fact, the most disturbing development has been the potential for expanded negative impacts created when countries acquire both the means of mass destruction and long-range delivery vehicles, such as ballistic or cruise missiles. Especially to the extent that this trend overlaps with increased concerns about regional instability, proliferation poses new threats to national and global security.
Efforts to control the spread of nuclear weapons to additional states have probably been the most successful of efforts in the three major areas of proliferation. Indeed, President Kennedy's expectation in 1962 that over 20 nations would develop nuclear weapons by the late 1970s did not come to pass. But trends toward development or expansion of nuclear capability in a number of countries require continuing efforts to strengthen the nuclear nonproliferation regime.
While much of the information about nations attempting to move forward with efforts to develop nuclear weapons is classified, a number of published reports detail the nuclear activities of the "problem" countries.22 As noted, Pakistan is on the threshold of a nuclear weapons capability. South Africa reportedly is also close to or already possesses a nuclear weapons capability. It has been estimated that Israel has between 60 and 100 nuclear devices. Brazil and Argentina continue to operate unsafeguarded nuclear facilities. More recently, North Korean activities at its Yongbong nuclear facility have