For decades, the world’s great powers have operated under the doctrine of mutually assured destruction, a grim social theory which states that by arming itself with powerful weapons, a nation can deter other countries from using similarly powerful instruments of death. In layman’s terms, throughout the forties, fifties, and sixties, the Soviet Union and The United States (as well as several other countries with troublesome neighbors) stockpiled an incredible amount of nuclear missiles under the dubious belief that more nukes meant more safety. For the most part, the nations that have nuclear weapons have learned that nuclear weapons — even one nuclear weapon — is bad news for everyone. That revelation hasn’t triggered a complete atomic withdrawal, but it has helped some nations move down a road toward disarmament. It’s slow progress. Nine countries currently have nuclear capabilities, and here they are, from fewest to most.
9. North Korea, Enough Nukes to Be Dangerous
The state of North Korea is shrouded in mystery. Ruled by a dictatorial dynasty, the things we know for sure are far outweighed by the information coming out of the country that has no concrete backing. Nuclear capability is a perfect example of that phenomenon. North Korea has conducted four nuclear tests, though no one is sure the extent of their nuclear stockpile. When it comes to nuclear weapons, however, just one is enough to ruin a lot of people’s day.