When North Korea conducted a test of a nuclear device, the rest of the world shuddered. No sane person relishes the idea of nuclear proliferation. The natural question at this point–and at nearly all previous points–should be how to limit the expansion of the nuclear club.
So we were surprised that someone drew the conclusion that Japan ought to consider going nuclear:
>Japan is a true anomaly. All the other Great Powers went nuclear decades ago — even the once-and-no-longer great, such as France; the wannabe great, such as India; and the never-will-be great, such as North Korea. There are nukes in the hands of Pakistan, which overnight could turn into an al-Qaeda state, and North Korea, a country so cosmically deranged that it reports that the “Dear Leader” shot five holes-in-one in his first time playing golf and also wrote six operas. Yet we are plagued by doubts about Japan’s joining this club.
>Japan is not just a model international citizen — dynamic economy, stable democracy, self-effacing foreign policy — it is also the most important and reliable U.S. ally after only Britain. One of the quieter success stories of recent American foreign policy has been the intensification of the U.S.-Japanese alliance. Tokyo has joined with the United States in the development and deployment of missile defenses and aligned itself with the United States on the neuralgic issue of Taiwan, pledging solidarity should there ever be a confrontation.
Krauthammer–who else?–then runs through a serious of short-term reasons for this crazy idea. But the expansion of nuclear power of late hasn’t made anyone safer. And at this point nuclear brinksmanship seems like the very opposite conclusion to draw from recent events in North Korea, and previously India and Pakistan.
Besides, nuclear weapons are not like the keys to the car.