Proliferation of nuclear weapons of mass destruction

Topic: LawPolitics
Sample donated:
Last updated: April 7, 2019

“Conventional military power plays only a secondary role in countering the proliferation of nuclear weapons of mass destruction. Other instruments of national powers matter far more in devising a successful strategy.

Do you agree?Thesis StatementWhile conventional military power may have been used or can be used in the war against the proliferation of nuclear weapon of mass destruction (WMD), its impacts are not long-lasting: it is the use of other instruments of national powers such as diplomacy that can successfully lead to a lasting solution to the menace.Purpose/Intent of the EssayThe global development in social and economic fields is responsible to the proliferation of nuclear weapons of mass destruction. As the countries in the east and west alike become wealthier by the day, they advance their military might. Japan, china, North Korea, Iran, Russia, Libya, and many more other countries have been very adventurous in at least acquiring a nuclear weapon for their own satisfaction. Apparently, this issue of proliferation of nuclear weapons of mass destruction has not been received well by the industrialized nations such as the US who have all along been using any means at their disposal to counter it. The purpose of this paper will be to explore the best method that can be put into practice to suppress the proliferation of nuclear weapons of mass destruction.

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To this end I will seek to answer the thesis statement by analytically evaluating the impact that conventional military power has had or can have towards suppressing the proliferation of nuclear weapons of mass destruction, against the use of other instruments of national powers.Reasons for Going the Nuclear WayPerhaps, it will make great sense to tackle the issue of proliferation nuclear weapons of mass destruction by disclosing the reason why the weapons came into being in the first place. According to Sagan, nations indulge in the manufacture or purchase of nuclear weapons of mass destruction to defend themselves against the conventional military threats. Every time a nation procures or makes nuclear weapon of mass destruction it stimulates its neighbor or its rival into pursuing its own production or procurement of nuclear weapons, in turn, it also triggers another country that feels ‘insecure’ to look for ways of acquiring its own nuclear weapons.

“Proliferation begets proliferation.”  China in the first place, developed nuclear weapons of mass destruction because it was threatened by the USA in the Taiwan Straits. This was also the case with India after China developed its first nuclear bomb in 1964. [Sagan, (1996/1997; 58-59)]As a matter of fact, since the World War II the acquisition of nuclear weapons has been the weaponry option for compensating the lack of conventional military inferiority. During the Cold War the West symbolized by the United States and east symbolized by the Soviet Union were competing ideologically. If one built a particular weapon the other would follow suit, it was a case of “build up against build up.

” However, in the post-Cold War world the West started preventing the East from developing weapons of mass destruction; it was now a case of “buildup against hold-down.”  Many countries have viewed the West acts of preventing the east from developing weapons of mass destruction as signs of socio-political and economic hegemony, and therefore they must under whatever costs develop their weapons of mass destruction if they are to avert the West domination. [Huntington, pp. 187-190] As for others like Iraq, weapons of mass destruction meant power to extend its borders. [Betts 2006]Impacts of Abdul Qadeer Khan NetworkThe war against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction has shown that there is more to it than mere conventional military threats. The success of A. Q.

Khan Network in the 1980s and 1990s underscores this argument. With the help of his cronies, Khan managed to buy and sell nuclear weaponry and capabilities for over two decades in four continents. This network is responsible for a great deal of the weapons of mass destructions in North Korea, Iran, Iraq, Libya, and Pakistan, yet the US and its allies did virtually nothing to break it save for the seizure of the BBC China vessel that carrying nuclear equipments to Libya. The rampant corruption and the fear of exposing their crooked activities made Pakistan not to prosecute Khan. Though he was brought to book at the long run, his case did not help suppress the network since his lieutenants are spread in the whole world. The US and the international community have got no excuses to offer for failing to nab him or prevent his activities when there was still time. [Albright & Hinderstein 2005]Efforts Made to Combat the Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons of Mass DestructionThe use of conventional military power as a tool for breaking the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction has been a big fallacy.

Since the 1960s when China started showing signs of developing nuclear weapons, the US felt concerned. Efforts to convince Moscow to intervene bore no fruits as according to them a Chinese nuclear weapon at the time did not seem a threat to world save for the East Asian region. The US argued that, use of diplomatic talks were perceived in consequential given that Mao Zedong left no doubts about his ambition to propel china into the international arena of the world strong military countries in the time. The President Kennedy regime, acting on intelligence reports from the CIA was convinced that Chinese nuclear weaponry advancement meant the ruffling of the world security, as they were certain that China would sell technological and other information related to the development of the nuclear weapons to other crooked nations.

A military approach was therefore seen as the most appropriate option nip the Chinese nuclear capabilities in the bud – to destroy the facilities where the enrichment program was being carried in using bombs. However, the use of covert military action was not as easy as it sounded, there was the Soviet and international community to convince that a Chinese nuclear advancement meant more than a regional dominance in the Eastern Asia. As a result the US never succeeded in using the military option, and as a result China proceeded in her endeavors. [Burr & Richelson, 2000 – 2001]Back in 1981, Israel invaded Iraq claiming that the country posed a great security threat to the Middle East as result of developing nuclear weapons of mass destruction. The attack was largely a failure as they were only successful in destroying a small portion of Saddam nuclear plants. It turned out that intelligence reports misled Israel into believing their military attack was a final blow to Saddam Hussein Nuclear pursuits. [Betts, 2006] Recently, in 2003, the US invaded Iraq under the claims that, there was enough evidence showing that the country had vast amounts of weapons of mass destruction. [Betts (2006)] The military expedition showed no tangible success in seizing the alleged weapons, and as it is today, there is no assurance that when the US withdraws its troops that Iraq will not resort to acquiring her own nuclear power, to at least assert herself in the nuclear-invested gulf region.

[Tallmadge 2007]  The case of Libya is a prototype to the Iraq’s, though the US started coercing Libya to drop its ambition way back in during the Reagan regime it was during Bush regime that Libya agreed into dismantling its nuclear plants. The military strikes in sensitive places in Libya including the Gandalf’s compound in 1986 did little to deter Libya from following its own convictions of developing nuclear weapon of mass destruction. In fact if anything, the strikes made Gaddafi to solidify his stance in his military power pursuits.

Libya gave in to full weapon of mass destruction disarmament agreement in 2003 after direct negations were opened. [Jetleson & Whytock (2005/06)] Military threats to sovereign states only make the states to advance their rogue actions hiding under the claim that they are being invaded by other states.The case of Iraq is an example of such states. Saddam did not admit that Iraq was doing anything wrong, save for developing weapons that would protect it against enemies like the US.

Today, Iran and North Korea poses a similar problem, they are keen on accusing the west of threatening to invade them, for developing weapons for in their own security against enemies from the west. Should an Iraq situation be repeated in Iran, it will only make worse the situation the. Again, the chances of success of a conventional military assault on Iran are very minimal given the negativity of the Iraq war and the growing negative attitudes towards the US-led west. [Long & Rass (2007)] The diplomatic talks that the US, South Korea and Japan are going on with in respect to the North Korean Nuclear threat is just but a show that the World has embraced the power of dialogue as the only feasible ways to end the thereat of deadly weapons proliferation in middle East and in East Asia particularly the North Korea case. As a matter of facts talks have been held as to the possibility of North joining with the economically stable South for what many see as a final solution to the North Korea nuclear threat and stability in the far east. [Intelligence Report (Jan.

1998)] However, as Kissinger boldly pointed out the talks needs to address the key issues that will leave the North not in an awkward situation but a situation that will help it mature in terms of its national and international politics and relations. [Kissinger, Feb, 2009]Reasons for Combating the Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons of Mass DestructionToday, the proliferation of nuclear weapons of mass destruction has surpassed the limit that Sagan [1996/1997] had in mind when he reasoned that nations develop nuclear weapons to protect themselves. They are being used by international terror organizations as tools for the perpetuation of terrorist activities against the western powers, especially the United States and the United Kingdom. As such therefore, there is the need to combat their global spread, or rather falling in to the wrong hands. In the US for example, a majority of the population (59%) showed their support in the fight against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in 1990, while in 1994, 82% of the population and 90% of the policy leaders indicated their support for the same. [Huntington, p.190] The Iraq invasion into Kuwait and that of the shooting of the Pan Am airplane are some of the earliest incidents which triggered the fight against nuclear weapons of mass destruction.

The US, Russia and others alike have got all the reasons to step up the fight against the proliferation of these deadly weapons. [Jentleton & Whytock 2005/06] The post 9/11 has taught the world and the US in particular a hard lesson. However, convectional military attacks should not be given a room. Other peaceful and less costly means should be sought. The international community remains to be the best option to approach matters to do with sovereign nations, especially those which concerns national and international security.RebuttalThe war against the proliferation of nuclear weapons of mass destruction must be approached with open minds as Kissinger argues. So far, the experience we have is that conventional military power approach is not a better option, particularly when there is no imminent danger to the world.  Many at times, intelligence reports have misled nations into engaging into aggression which would have been avoided if diplomatic measures would been followed.

However, not in all cases and all the time does the diplomacy option achieves success, particularly when a nation has reached advanced stages of nuclear weapon development. For instance, diplomatic talks with North Korea has resulted into her agreement of letting go her nuclear programs, but on condition that she legitimately maintains what she has already made. Kissinger poses four questions for digest; how close is Iran to weapons-capability? At what pace is its development program moving at? What balance of rewards will move Iran into abandoning its plans? What do we do if, despite in our best efforts, diplomacy fails? [Kissinger, Feb. 2009] These are questions are in themselves double-edged: they exposes the weaknesses of both diplomacy and conventional military power options as solutions to the issue of nuclear weapons in general and North Korea and Iran in particular.

 Whereas at this age of civilization and globalization one cannot advocate the use of arsenal for resolving global issues, it also does not make sense to engage in fruitless diplomacy.ConclusionsNuclear weapons of mass destruction is not an issue that concerns the ‘big’ nations only (US and Russia), it is a global threat just as terrorism is to the world masses. Whereas the problem could have been nipped in its bud long before its rapid growth that is witnessed today, the big nations concentrated in developing their own nuclear weapons after which they tried to forcing other nations into dropping their nuclear armament programs.

The case of the US and China in the 1960s underscores this argument. Military interventions have only succeeded in halting nuclear weapons enrichment projects but not completely offering a solution. It is the power of dialogue that can discourage nations from carrying out nuclear armament programs: the case of Libya underscores this argument.

What should be done is step by step approach that will analyze each case independently with emphasis given to the stage of development and the magnitude of the nuclear program in question. As Kissinger asserts, “we should not attempt to climb a mountain that is shrouded with clouds. We cannot describe its top nor be certain that there ay not be unforeseen and perhaps insurmountable obstacles on the way.” [Kissinger, p. 3] The international community should enforce more stringent rules that will discourage the movement and manufacture of equipments meant for use in nuclear enrichment projects. The issues of double standards should not surface, no nation, not even the ‘big’ ones should be allowed to go on with nuclear weapon manufacture.

This will help to kill the hegemonic attitudes that some nations have used to suppress other nations. The international community should seek to extend an olive branch to hardliners in this war if any substantial achievements are to be arrived at: Iran and North Korea should be diplomatically brought to the table and given alternatives and not ultimatums.


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