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U.S. President Barack Obama chairs a U.N. Security Council meeting in New York on Sept. 24, 2009. The council unanimously adopted a U.S.-sponsored resolution seeking to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and promote nuclear disarmament.

AP Photo

Journal Article - Foreign Affairs

Nuclear Disorder: Surveying Atomic Threats

| January/February 2010

The current global nuclear order is extremely fragile, and the three most urgent challenges to it are North Korea, Iran, and Pakistan. If North Korea and Iran become established nuclear weapons states over the next several years, the nonproliferation regime will have been hollowed out. If Pakistan were to lose control of even one nuclear weapon that was ultimately used by terrorists, that would change the world. It would transform life in cities, shrink what are now regarded as essential civil liberties, and alter conceptions of a viable nuclear order.