Nuclear Weapons Essay, Research Paper
Even though the United States and Russia have just concluded the most far-reaching nuclear arms reduction treaty in history, the danger that nuclear weapons will actually be used is growing rather than declining. George Bush and Boris Yeltsin’s START II accord does represent an important step in winding down the U.S.-Soviet nuclear arms race (Fromuth, 1993). Ironically, however, the end of the Cold War coincides with the emergence of a new set of nuclear risks, centered on international instability and the spread of dangerous technologies.
The threat of a superpower nuclear war–with Europe caught in the middle–has all but evaporated. But the stability that was a byproduct of the Cold War’s balance of terror is also disappearing. Nuclear know-how, technology and perhaps even arms are spreading into a world that is increasingly fragmented and chaotic. Fifty years after the United States dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, the struggle to keep the nuclear genie in its bottle remains a global game taxing the intelligence and diplomatic resources of the world’s greatest powers. There has not been a nuclear attack since Hiroshima and Nagasaki were destroyed a half-century ago. And yet, whether trying to contain the
nuclear ambitions of outcast states such as North Korea or Iran, dismantle the existing weapons of an unstable Russia or keep nuclear warheads and materials out of the hands of terrorists, the struggle against nuclear proliferation is a continuing, do-or-die effort for the United States and its allies (emphasis Tripodi, 1996).
According to Spear (1995), the danger of proliferation of these destructive capabilities, along with the danger of their unauthorized or accidental use, pose the No. 1 national security challenge facing the United States over the next 10 years and beyond. Since the end of the Cold War, the nuclear threat “has changed in form, but remains ominous in content” (Spear, 1995). U.S.-led efforts to contain
that threat scored a victory in just a year or so ago, when
a large majority of the signatories to the U.N.