Two main theorists of international relations, Kenneth Waltz and Scott Sagan have been debating on the issue of nuclear weapons and the proliferation of nuclear weapons in the 21st century. In their book The Spread of Nuclear Weapons: An Enduring Debate, they both discuss their various theories, assumptions and beliefs on nuclear proliferation and nuclear weapons. To examine why states would want to attain/develop a nuclear weapon and if increasing nuclear states is a good or bad thing. In my paper, I will discuss both of their theories and use a case study to illustrate which theory I agree with and then come up with possible solutions of preventing a nuclear war from occurring.
Main articles: Nuclear weapons and the United States and United States and weapons of mass destruction
Nuclear weapons are one of, if not the most dangerous weapons in the world today and they are one of the biggest issues the world faces at this current moment. They have the capability of destroying entire cities and then some that could result in millions of deaths within seconds. Radiation from the blasts would kill even more people throughout years to come. They were first used in 1945 at the end of World War II, when the United States dropped Little Boy and Fat Man in Hiroshima and Nagasaki to ‘save’ the lives of American soldiers. Since then, a nuclear arms race was born and it’s becoming more of a concern as time moves forward. Albert Einstein, who was the creator of the nuclear bomb once said “I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.” Countries should not have access to nuclear weapons because it destroys the environment, there is a possibility of a nuclear war that will end in mass destruction of the world, and countries could save both revenue and resources.
The world has slowly been transforming into a hostile environment, especially with the growing threat of nuclear attacks. To create a foundation for the understanding of the global issue, one must comprehend that nuclear proliferation is the spreading of nuclear research, materials, and weapons to Non-Nuclear Weapons States. Many world leaders have come to the conclusion that nuclear weapons will lead to unavoidable tensions and conflicts. As a result, countries signed the non-nuclear proliferation treaty in 1968, which came into force in 1970 (“Nuclear Weapons Timeline”). One of the countries that luckily took charge in the movement, was the United States. From the signing of the treaty to present day, the U.S. has strongly opposed nuclear
The dropping of the atomic bomb was the first of many nuclear projects. The first project was called the Manhattan project. Three bombs were created, one was a test, and the two others were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, cities in Japan. These bombs created mass destruction for the two cities; buildings were obliterated, fires erupted, and radiation spread for miles. After foreign countries saw what the United States was capable of, countries all around the world started to develop their own nuclear weapons, creating a surplus of weapons of mass destruction. “Today, eight countries in the world have nuclear arsenals (weapon supplies). The United States and Russia (formerly part of the Soviet Union) have most of the world’s nuclear weapons. Other countries with nuclear arms include China, France, India, Israel, Pakistan, and the United Kingdom” (Kroenig). Following World War Two, the Soviet Union and the United States were leaders of nuclear weapons. This period was called the Cold War. Forty-five years of potential nuclear destruction loomed over the Soviets and Americans. It wasn’t until after the Cold War that diplomats created the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty. The Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty, or NPT for short, recognizes the United States, Russia, China, France, and the United Kingdom as nuclear weapon states. Nearly every country in the world is a member of the treaty, even if they do not possess nuclear weapons, by law they state that they are a nonnuclear
Since the invention of nuclear weapons, they have presented the world with a significant danger, one that was shown in reality during the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. However, nuclear weapons have not only served in combat, but they have also played a role in keeping the world peaceful by the concept of deterrence. The usage of nuclear weapons would lead to mutual destruction and during the Cold War, nuclear weapons were necessary to maintain international security, as a means of deterrence. However, by the end of the Cold War, reliance on nuclear weapons for maintaining peace became increasingly difficult and less effective (Shultz, et. al, 2007). The development of technology has also provided increasing opportunities for states
Whatever danger proliferators pose today would be far greater in a disarmed world, even though the previously nuclear states would eventually be able to rebuild nuclear weapons, they would be unwilling to accept a period during which a proliferator enjoyed a nuclear monopoly.”
The development and use of nuclear weapons in 1945 changed not only warfare, but how countries approach warfare as a whole. As Andrew Heywood notes in his book, Global Politics, says that there’s a tendency “for any weapons to proliferate” or spread. With that knowledge it should be assumed that many nations would want to obtain nuclear weapons after seeing what the power that they hold. A state being in possession of a nuclear weapon can deter potential enemies and make them a power on the global scale. The Cold War era and post- Cold War era both saw an in increase in the spread of nuclear weapons. During the Cold War, after the US first used a nuclear weapon in 1945, states that gained nuclear capabilities were the France, the UK, China and the Soviet Union. Post – Cold War era India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea all gained nuclear weapons and shows the problem with proliferation of them. India and Pakistan are neighboring states and rivals which can lead to the possibility that they could be used at any moment. North Korea is a dangerous militaristic state that constantly threatens other states. This illustrates that the spread of nuclear weapons is a global problem because nuclear proliferation can possibly put WMDS, weapons of mass destruction, in the hands of rival states or extremely dangerous nations. There’s also the possibility of them falling into the hands of non state actors such as terrorists groups. Nuclear proliferation and nuclear disarmament/arms
The tensions during the cold war would have only escalated if there was no restriction on what could be used during a state of war. Despite the growing hostility toward the situation, the Allied powers came up with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which eventually received signatures from 191 nations since it was introduced in 1968 by the United Nations. The preamble highlights the ideology behind the treaty and its attempt to destabilize tensions during and after the 20th century, but may have failed or succeed by allowing loopholes to exist. It is a possibility that the attention was to allow nations to take advantage of nuclear weapons, in that case, this treaty has succeeded. If that is not the case, the treaty has failed its objective. The first error seen in the preamble is the statement that " affirming the principle that the benefits of a peaceful application of nuclear technology by-products which may be derived by nuclear-weapon states from the development of nuclear explosive devices, should be available for peaceful purposes to all parties to the treaty whether nuclear-weapon or non-nuclear weapon states"(Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty). In essence, nuclear reactors use the same materials found in nuclear weapons but the material is nowhere nearly as powerful. Giving away the means needed to make the weapon stronger is dangerous.
The use of the atomic bomb in world war 2 is probably one of the most controversial and infamous act of war that humanity has committed in its history. The weapon is so deadly that it hasn't been used in any war since. The nuclear weapon has caused so many problems after its creation and use. It has caused a nuclear scare which reached its pinnacle in the cuban missile crisis. Although the sacre is still prevalent today with America's recent involvement in the Syrian crisis. Some countries have even got rid of their nukes and encourage other countries to get rid of theirs to get rid of the fear. Nuclear deterrence is sucha big deal that countries are afraid of nukes, but don't want to get rid of theirs. These nukes can have devastating effects
During the Cold War there was a great deal of tension between the United States and the USSR. Both sides competed in arms race that is, equipping their arsenal of nuclear weaponry. Both sides realized how big of a danger these weapons possess and what destruction they might cause. People on both sides lived in a constant fear of nuclear war. For example, North Korea has developed an unpredictable character by testing and launching nuclear weapons. The same fear which was common during the Cold War is present today but on a bigger. Thus, in 1963 the Kennedy administration was able to pass the Limited Test Ban Treaty “which stopped above-ground nuclear tests” (Sagan, p.23). The 1968 Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) that countries agree to disarmament and arms limitation (Sagan, p.23). Without implementing these treatiesthe number of nuclear weapons would be very
A treaty was signed that prohibited the creation of defenses for nuclear weapons due to an advantage they might have if a nuclear war was to start. “The ABM Treaty, signed in 1972, prohibits the use of defensive systems that might give an advantage to one side in a nuclear war”
Nuclear weapons are the most dangerous weapons on earth. One can demolish a whole city, potentially killing millions, and exposed the natural environment and lives of future generations through its long-term catastrophic effects. According to the UNODA- United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (2011), “Although nuclear weapons have only been used twice in warfare- in the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945-about 22,000 reportedly remains in our world today and there have been over 2,000 nuclear tests conducted to date.” Nuclear weapons have been viewed as a threat to peace by world leaders. There have been debates of whether to let Iran and North Korea acquire nuclear weapons, leaders all around the world along with Liberals believe that it is a threat to peace and should limit the spread whereas neo realist have another belief that nuclear weapon can make the world a peaceful place. Because states would fear to attack each other. For example the Cuban missile crisis in 1962 and cold war- there were only threats and war did not happen because of nuclear deterrence. The Cuban missile crisis has frequently been portrayed as the only time where the world stood in the point of nuclear war between the superpowers. This is an example of how nuclear weapons were used to threaten the rival. Another examples would be that of India and Pakistan before they acquire nuclear weapon , they fought three bloody wars after having their independence but since 1998, after acquiring
As previously stated, the reason two superpowers like Russia and the United States long for nuclear weaponry is down to the fact that frankly, they are paranoid. If you can stockpile most of the nuclear warheads in the world then surely nobody could ever harm your country. This is certainly not the case. By having so many dangerous weapons you are not only a bigger threat to terrorists but also a huge threat to your countries morality. If the leaders of a country say that it is ok to use nuclear weapons to threaten enemies then what’s to say that civilians do not do the same thing to a smaller scale? In the beginning atomic bombs were created to end the war and to save numerous amounts of lives. By this, I mean that multitudinous lives were saved due to the fact that when the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima the Japanese surrendered straight away. If they hadn’t surrendered then the war possibly would have gone on for a lot longer. In contrast to this, look at what has become of the nuclear weapons now. Instead of saving lives, atomic bombs are now kept with the intention of unnecessary mass murder. What makes the monsters that enforce the use of nuclear weaponry any different from Adolf Hitler, Pol Pot or Joseph Stalin? Even though the atomic bombs are not in use at this moment, anyone or any government in possession of these weapons have the intention to inflict large amounts of pain on vast
Disadvantages: Use of nuclear weapons is immoral. We should try to prevent their growth. More the number of nuclear weapons made, more are the risks it poses to human life. Maintaining a nuclear bomb is very expensive. It takes a large share of the country's defense budget. Countries are more likely to have a civil war in which they can use nuclear weapons against each other, which could prove disastrous to the entire globe. Possession of nuclear weapons is an outdated manly symbol. Countries like Germany, Spain and Australia don't have any nuclear weapons, but are still popular as the US and UK.