19.2.07

STRATEGIES OF CONFLICT. A. Michael Spence, an Economics Nobelist for 2001, interviews his advisor Thomas Schelling, who won the prize in 2005.

Condoleezza Rice went to East Asia to organize a punitive response to the North Koreans. In [Professor Schelling's] view that should have been the second priority.

"The first mission should have been to encourage the three countries most threatened, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan--all of whom have the capacity to develop nuclear weapons--to reaffirm their commitment to the NPT and non-nuclear status with support from the U.S. and the leading nuclear powers, signaling that they had no intention of using North Korea as an excuse to start building weapons. I view this as a significant missed opportunity on the part of the international community and the U.S. to reaffirm the deep importance of the non-proliferation regime."

Tom Schelling expects Iran to get nuclear weapons. "Once a country becomes the owner of nuclear weapons, it is imperative that they learn to deal with them responsibly." He pointed out that it took the U.S. 15 years after World War II to learn to think seriously about the security of its weapons. Before that, weapons did not have combination locks, let alone complex electronic security codes. Now, most weapons will not detonate even if given the codes unless they are at their designated targets.

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