Nuclear Proliferation Essay, Research Paper
The Unites States and the rest of the nuclear club are facing a problem, a problem that determines the safety of the world, nuclear proliferation. Nuclear proliferation is the spread of nuclear weapons to other nations. It is a very critical issue because of the damage nuclear weapons can have on the world. Currently there are five declared nuclear nations including the US, Russia, The United Kingdom, France, China, India, and Pakistan. So, what is the best way to address the question of nuclear proliferation in the coming century? In this paper, I will state my views on the inevitability of nuclear proliferation and the views of others, and I will address what will become of the rising proliferation of nuclear technology. I believe that allowing nuclear weapons to spread will only endanger the world in the long run and that unless we act now, we will not be able to see another two thousand years of the human race.
During the Second World War, the United States created the atomic bomb. The U.S. spent over $2 billion dollars in 1945 on the Manhattan project in fear that the Germans might succeed in creating a similar weapon. However, the German’s did not seriously pursue the development of the nuclear weapons during World War II. Four years after, the United States exploded the first atomic bomb in 1945 over Hiroshima, the Soviet Union tested their own, thus starting the Cold War. For about 50 years, the United States and Soviet Union lived on the verge of a third world war. However, that day never came, but the end of the Cold War brought a new threat, nuclear proliferation. This threat is serious and the world should look at eliminating nuclear weapons altogether.
The dangers that can arise from mismanaged proliferation are profound and numerous. There is the danger that the proliferation process itself could give one of the existing nuclear powers a strong incentive to stop a non-nuclear neighbor from joining the nuclear club. For example, Israel (an undeclared Nuclear Power) used force to stop Iraq from acquiring a nuclear capability. There is also the danger that an unstable nuclear competition could emerge among some of the new nuclear states like India and Pakistan. India and Pakistan are in a dire position because both sides have the means to blow one another up and do it without the world interfering (Blanco 32). They might lack the resources to make their nuclear forces invulnerable, which could create first-strike incentives. Also, there is the danger that proliferation would increase the risk that nuclear weapons could be fired by accident, captured by terrorists, or change possession because of shaky governments.
In addition to random mistakes governments could make, the threat of nuclear proliferation and the United States reluctance to heed the problem has only given the world more reason to argue over the problem. Article VI of the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty links nonproliferation and disarmament by committing the parties to pursue negotiations “in good faith” to end the nuclear-arms race and to achieve “nuclear disarmament.” Top U.S. officials (and British, French, and Russian officials) acknowledge in private that they view Article VI as an inconvenience to which they must pay occasional lip service. They argue that their nuclear weapons do not threaten countries such as India, Pakistan, or Iran. Consequently, any attempt to tie nonproliferation to nuclear disarmament is merely a political pretext to cover regional and domestic motivations for seeking nuclear weapons. This argument has merit, but not so much as defenders of the nuclear status quo think. The high military value that the nuclear-weapon states put on their arsenals throughout the Cold War, and their unwillingness to devalue them significantly since 1991, has undoubtedly influenced other states. Nations can readily claim a chain of security threats that lead back to the five declared nuclear-weapons states: For instance, Pakistan’s nuclear ambitions stem from India’s, which stem from China’s, which stem from those of Russia and the United States. Meanwhile, Iran says it is threatened by American and Israeli nuclear weapons. The nuclear powers can and should marshal strong arguments that in fact India (and by extension Pakistan), Iran, and Iraq would derive less security from building adequate nuclear forces to counter their putative threats than from pursuing bilateral, regional, and international diplomacy to reduce tensions. Easing tensions will only come from a commitment of the destruction of all nuclear weapons.
Also, the US should recognize that it has the duty to lead the way for the destruction of all nuclear weapons because it is the wealthiest and most technically advanced in the world. But if the United States does not lead the way to the destruction of all nuclear weapons it will face an enemy that is advancing every day. For example, in the Fall of 1999, North Korea tested a Taepodong missile over Japan. The United States was stunned because they were not aware that North Korea had that kind of capability at that time. Another example of the United States being caught off guard by a growing enemy are the recent Pakistani nuclear tests. In 1999, Pakistan exploded a stronger nuclear bomb underground. Pakistan did tests even after the United States posed economic sanctions. If the United States does not act quickly to put an end to all nuclear weapons, it will one day find an enemy testing a missile over Hawaii.
Finally, I disagree that the world should keep a stockpile for nuclear weapons but others disagree with me. Many advocates of the bomb believe that by maintaining a nuclear weapons stockpile, the chances of war are decreased. Meaning, if side A has the bomb and attacks side B, they risk being attacked by side B who also has the bomb. In the end, both sides are left in ruins and without any kind of victory. Well, this point does have some validity but does not mention the tensions it creates amongst both sides. For example, better missiles could be built to better the outcome of an all out nuclear war. In other words, an arms race is created. An arms race does not just cripple and economy but also creates potential death. If the Soviet government did not spend as much it had on a arms race, a Soviet Republic would still have had chance (Bonnier 90). Humans have a conscience and therefore have the ability to think things out, so why use a nuclear weapon? (Feinstein). The use of a nuclear weapon seems very primitive because it is a way to blow each other up consciously. We are one race, the human race and we must realize that by keeping this weapon around it is going to do us more harm than good. For example, Murphy s law states, if something bad can be done, inevitably it will be done (Murphy 45). Fortunately, nobody has used nuclear weapons in 50 years. There are also those who believe that reducing a nuclear stockpile gradually is more practical than a speedy elimination. However, a gradual elimination is a long process in which many things can go wrong such as the bomb falling into the wrong hands. For example, Russia is crippled economically right now and by not committing to a total elimination, selling a nuclear weapon could be very attractive to someone who has access to nuclear weapons.
At the dawn of the 21st century, there are more than six thousand nuclear weapons. Six thousand nuclear weapons is more than enough to destroy the earth over five times. It is sad to think at a time of peace, we are still thinking of destroying someone, ourselves (Abraham 31.) In the last month the Russian government month approved the SALT II program. This program will see the reduction of half of all Russian and US nuclear weapons. This is a start, and if the human race wants to see another 2000 thousand years of its existence, we should not be hypocrites to life itself and we must rid ourselves of such ugly weapons now.
Feinstein, Barbara. Vanishing Wind. Dallas: Smiths, 1992.
Blanco, Scott. Modern Weapons: Nuclear Weapons. Castle Rock: Macmillan, 1992
Bonnier, Frank. Interview with General Chassis. 22 September 1989.
Abraham, Mark. Versus Us. New York: Lamount, 1987.
Murphy, Alexander. The Flaming Winds of War. Frederick: Johnson, 1994