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America’s Allies and Nuclear Arms: Assessing the Geopolitics of Nonproliferation in Asia

By: Robert Zarate

While U.S. policymakers and lawmakers sometimes deeply disagree on precisely how to stop hostile states from getting nuclear weapons, they generally agree on the overall goal of nuclear nonproliferation with regard to adversaries. But what about the goal of nonproliferation with regard to treaty allies? If Japan, South Korea, or other U.S. treaty allies in Asia who are threatened by China’s and North Korea’s growing nuclear and missile threats, were someday to insist on getting independent nuclear arsenals, should Washington welcome or oppose them?