The following is a guest post by my colleague Adam Mount, a Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.
Though the atomic bomb was first developed in 1945, it was not until 1957 that the U.S. intelligence community conducted its first forecast of how nuclear weapons might spread around the world. That first estimate concluded that some ten countries had the capability to build the bomb in the next decade. Six years later, President John F. Kennedy warned that the 1970s could see a world in which twenty-five countries possessed nuclear weapons. This counterfactual—what would the world look like without the nonproliferation regime?—is one of the most important and vexing questions in international politics. Read more »