Non-proliferation: New UN resolution is very encouraging

Michael D. Gordin; 15/11/09

Attempts to control or reverse nuclear proliferation come in two flavors: Either one tries to control nuclear material (uranium, centrifuges, superfast switches) or one tries to control nuclear information (blueprints, schematics, scientific expertise). For most of the last half a century, the world has shunned the material approach in favor of controlling information. But information is extremely difficult to contain, as is made clear by the growing number of countries that have acquired nuclear weapons in the decades since the United States made the first atomic bomb, from the Soviet Union in 1949 to North Korea in 2006. The United Nations started out with a materials-centric approach. Almost exactly a year after the San Francisco Charter established the United Nations in June 1945, President Harry S. Truman sent a special envoy there with a proposal to stop the spread of nuclear weapons.