typewriterking (typewriterking ) wrote in conservatism ,

Reappraising Proliferation

 Back in May I discovered a blog post that I wanted to explore for a post here. For the last couple months, I've kept a browser tab for it, and now I'd like to finally explore what had me musing.

This center-right blogger decided to advocate the rather hawkish position that the USA should become pro-proliferation and dole out parts of the nuclear arsenal to allies around the world:
At least one non-Russian ex-Soviet state, Kazakhstan, has nukes that we know of, and we're fairly certain that Taiwan teamed up with Israel and South Africa to develop a small nuclear arsenal starting in the late 1970s. I can count four countries, Pakistan, India, Kazakhstan, and Russia, as nuclear countries sharing a border with China, and Taiwan is just a narrow strait away, so Beijing is already surrounded by nuclear powers. Further, North Korea may be on the cusp of having their own (and perhaps the fizzled test was just a ruse). 

Russia's strategic leverage over neighbors lies more in the natural gas firm Gazprom than their military. Their armed forces didn't appear to roll over Georgia in 2008. On the other hand, perhaps their strategic aims really were just limited to carving out South Ossetia.

Americans with a Cold War mindset will ask themselves a couple questions:
  1. Do analogies to the Cuban Missile Crisis apply?
  2. Is it again possible to form a wedge between China and Russia, as Nixon did?
I argue that the first question isn't applicable. Kennedy was in a position of strength because the buildup in Cuba was so slow. America has the logistical capability to arm an ally to the teeth far faster, I believe.

With the second question, I'm less optimistic. If our strategic aim is to defend small Westernized ("liberalized") societies, it is impossible to become good friends with either Russia or China at this time.

A more timeless question to ask one's self is what countries can we be sure won't experience coups or revolutions after we arm them. There's no forgetting that the Shah fell after being armed with systems such as the F-14. I'll suggest that Putin's assets are just too skilled at cloak-and-dagger things to assume that any government targeted by Russia can be deemed truly stable. I do, however, think three governments around China's sphere; Singapore, South Korea, and one wildcard-Mongolia, are reasonably safe from China-sponsored coups. Perhaps, despite the operations of Islamic terror groups inside the country, the Philippines are stable enough.

Japan I'll omit over their debt and demographics issues (on paper, Singapore looks similar, but I have more confidence in them overcoming the same issues). So I trust four countries right now in the Proliferation Club, and Japan should they fix their debt/GDP ratio. Yes, we can box in China militarily with nuclear arms.
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