Why do states pursue nuclear weapons? The choice to mobilize
tremendous political, economic, technological, and human resources
is no small one that is rarely entered into lightly. It is a choice
of tremendous risk of high costs for only potential benefits and
the possibility of more costs incurred. In 1984, Stephen Meyer set
out to sort through the various incentives and disincentives
identified in the vast literature on nuclear proliferation. We feel
that while mostly complete, Meyer's framework does not capture all
motives for establishing and pursuing nuclear weapon programs.
Using case studies of North Korea, Iran, Pakistan, Libya, and
Ukraine, we examine the proliferation motivations and determine
what, if any, gaps exist or motivations are no longer applicable.
This work has the potential to impact assessments of future
potential and proliferating states and non-state entities, as well
as policies promoting proliferation resistance.