It's worth remembering that in the 50s the future looked to be a nuclear one. Everyone believed that nuclear energy would provide "free" energy for all & would power our homes, cars, planes & ships. Nuclear technology at that time was seen as a Panacea - a silver bullet to keep you safe and warm.
What self respecting super power could have afforded to pass that one by?
Maybe the best way to decide on what we should do now, will be to accurately predict what will happen during the next 50 years.