ARMS CONTROL AND THE EXPANDING NUCLEAR CLUB
ONE OF the features of competition in armaments at the present time which appears most to undermine international security is the tendency of an increasing number of nations to acquire nuclear weapons.
The undermining of international security by the spread of nuclear weapons is expressed by the phrase, 'the Nth power problem'. This suggests that the problem of preventing the expansion of the nuclear club, or of making adjustments to it, is a single one faced by international society as a whole (The Problem), and that it is one raised by any addition to the club's membership (Nth power). It is argued here that there is in fact a problem of this kind. But it is also a fact that particular countries tend to be much less aware of this general problem, than of the particular one posed to themselves by the spread of nuclear weapons to particular other countries. Every nuclear power or potential nuclear power makes an exception in its own case: it is not widely held in the United States that America's possession of nuclear weapons is a threat to international security, in Britain that Britain's is, in France that France's is. Every nation fears the acquisition of nuclear weapons by its enemies, more than by its allies. Every government has its own, private, Nth power worry. What is called the Nth power problem is, as a matter of political fact, the private Nth power problem of countries who already belong to the nuclear club: the problem which, in the period of American monopoly, the McMahon Act attempted to solve in relation to the rest of the world, and which now causes' most concern in the United States, Russia and Britain.
It is sometimes argued that the indiscriminate spread of nuclear weapons does not endanger international security, or even that it positively increases it by imparting to other international conflicts the quality of stalemate that has moderated