Nuclear Weapons: American As Apple Pie?

January 15, 2009

Nuclear proliferation and testing of nuclear weapons should be coming to a more rapid end. Testing is too dangerously unpredictable, and the nuclear system of conduct the world has in place right now (explicitly and tacitly) set up under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is blatantly unfair to most of the world not in the nuclear club. The NPT needs to be ratified immediately.

The NPT was proposed by Ireland in 1968 and Finland was the first to sign. It is intended to limit the spread of nuclear weapons. The NPT is a great thing but it needs an immediate ratification including stricter rules on having and testing nuclear weapons.

There are 189 countries that are participants in the NPT, but of those 189 only 5 countries have nuclear weapons and are nuclear weapons states, NWS. Those are the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, and China. Four states are not parties to the treat but possess nuclear bombs, those are India, Israel, Pakistan, and North Korea.

In the first pillar of the NPT a rule states that one of the five NWS may use their nuclear weapons if attacked by another states with nuclear or conventional weapons. Therefore the non NWS who are attacked with nuclear or conventional weapons can only use their conventional weapons to retaliate or protect themselves. How this this fair? If the National Security Council owned all nuclear warheads then they could be used to defend non NWS states though not deployed from their state.

The second pillar of the NPT states that another purpose is to eventually end productions of nuclear weapons. However, the only plan for this to happen is by good faith action on the part of the NWS. This is ludicrous! I would not think any NWS would willingly give up its nuclear warheads. The should be made to surrender ownership of these and the NPT should be ratified to include active procedures to ensure that NWS terminate their advancements in nuclear proliferation.

Nuclear capability should be seen as a world responsibility and ownership. The world most notably has seen the capability of nuclear weapons as used by the US on Japan in World War II, the only instances of nuclear deployment in war in the history of the world. No doubt, nuclear capability has grown exponentially since the 1940s. There have been thousands of nuclear tests since then, and over a 1,000 of them have been demonstrated by the United States. Little Man and Fat Boy did amazing damage in the 1940s and because of this, it is clear that we don’t actually need the capability to do any more damage. We have sufficient nuclear knowledge by now.

Testing is too dangerous. More than once nuclear testing has caused deaths. In the 1954 US Castle Bravo test alone there was radioactive fallout, the explosion was 2 times what the scientists expected, the test changed the weather pattern, nearby island inhabitants suffered from radiation burns, cancer, and birth defects. Also, as a result of the Castle Bravo test a nearby fishing boatman died of radiation sickness, and the boat’s fish were contaminated and may have effected its consumers.

The NWS should no longer be seen as owners of nuclear weapons but only as storage sites for nuclear weapons. Any state’s head executive (president, prime minister, queen, dictator etc) who commissions tests or deploys nuclear weapons without the consent of the United Nations Security Council should be seen as a war criminal against the world, and therefore arrested. The United Nations Security Council should collectively have to decide if nuclear weapons can be tested or deployed.

Nuclear proliferation is a tale of the have and have nots. How can those who have no nuclear weapons feel anything but fear and the desire to have them when the haves only grow more menacing every day? It’s not a good situation if the world is tense on the subject of nuclear weapons. Also, citizens of NWS states often worry that they will be subject to attacks, such as the attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, because their country is seen as a world threat due to ownership of nuclear weapons.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

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