Shopping for Bombs: Nuclear Proliferation, Global Insecurity, and the Rise and Fall of the A.Q. Khan Network

Shopping for Bombs: Nuclear Proliferation, Global Insecurity, and the Rise and Fall of the A.Q. Khan Network

Shopping for Bombs: Nuclear Proliferation, Global Insecurity, and the Rise and Fall of the A.Q. Khan Network

Shopping for Bombs: Nuclear Proliferation, Global Insecurity, and the Rise and Fall of the A.Q. Khan Network

Excerpt

Although it had been months in Preparation, President Eisenhower was still rewriting his speech on the morning of December 8, 1953. His plane circled for half an hour before landing at LaGuardia airfield in New York. From there, he traveled to the United Nations where an audience of three and a half thousand was waiting for an address that would come to define the world's approach to nuclear technology for the coming decades.

In the few, but eventful, years since Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the United States was already losing its monopoly on nuclear weapons. More and more states were seeking the bomb as part of the relentless quest for security, power, and prestige in the international arena. Intense scientific research, atomic espionage, and an occasional helping hand from others were in turn delivering this deadly capability to the doorsteps of more and more states. The arms race between the United States and the USSR and the spread of nuclear weapons would be the defining national security challenge of the coming years. Eisenhower's speech was designed to inaugurate a public debate on how this proliferation challenge should be met. In his diary, he wrote of his "clear conviction that the world was racing toward catastrophe."

The president began his UN address with the stark message that the U.S. stockpile already exceeded by many times the explosive power of all the bombs, munitions, and shells dropped in every theatre of World War II. "But the dread secret, and the fearful engines of atomic might, are not . . .

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