The following sample essay on Nuclear Proliferation discusses it in detail, offering basic facts and pros and cons associated with it. To read the essay’s introduction, body and conclusion, scroll down.
Nuclear weapons have not always been considered a “problem” in the United States. During WWII, which was a very long battle of evenly matched forces. Europe lay utterly devastated from continuous bombing, and the death toll was staggering. Pearl Harbor shocked the United States and crippled the Pacific Fleet.
The success of the Manhattan Project and development of an atomic bomb was hardly seen as a problem. It was the answer to our prayers at the time, and brought a quick end to a world war. It catapulted the United States in a position of great power and out of a costly war; however, it also catapulted us into a Cold War.
This is where these new weapons of unbelievable destruction become an issue to be dealt with. Nuclear weapons are a necessary weapon to remain a super power in today’s international world.
However there are many moral and practical issues with actually using these weapons. Morally, a country’s leadership must be willing to kill many civilians of the enemy. The bombs are so powerful they would take out entire cities, and it is impossible to perfectly aim them. There is no need to aim them carefully because there is no escaping their destruction.
In addition, a decision to drop a bomb not only affects those alive now, but they punish that country for many years.
Radiation hangs around and causes cancer and death for decades. Another moral dilemma that comes up is that there is no defense against a nuclear weapon. It takes the honor out of war and is almost unfair. A country must be willing to raise war to that next step in weaponry and scale, which is a huge moral dilemma. Generally speaking, nuclear bombs should result in a victory for the side that uses them. However there are many practical issues with using such weaponry.
For one, the land you are using it on will be utterly worthless afterwards. It would be of no value to us, them, or anyone else. In addition, you must send your ground troops in to a secure an area where the air is poison. Once winning the war you must send more young men into radiation where they may day outside of combat. Also, using an atomic bomb may result in worse outcomes. It obviously means more death, but it may lead to other things. Other countries with nuclear weapons may get involved for instance. All these issues, practical and moral, must be considered before any decision about using a nuclear weapon is made.
Nuclear weapons are a problem now because of many worries. For one, if other countries achieve nuclear technology, the threat of nuclear war increases. In addition, rogue nations or dictators with nuclear weapons are a scary and powerful threat to the entire world. Feuds between countries in the Middle East would jump to a whole new level with nuclear weapons are involved. Then allies and other countries get involved for personal interests and the situation spirals downward. The problem is it is hard to convince countries without the bomb to not get one when other countries continue to keep theirs.
There are many different ideas on what United States policy should be with regards to nuclear proliferation. One theory is to negotiate with countries to have them not attain nuclear weapons. To some this is better than economic sanctions or using military force. This policy does allow for less chance of aggressive behavior between countries. A large benefit to negotiation is that it means less lives lost. However this policy has been shown in the past to not work. For example, under President Clinton’s administration they used a policy of negotiation with North Korea.
North Korea demanded food and oil among other things, and in return they would not try to attain nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, they lied and did nothing they promised. Aside from the fact that it simply didn’t work, negotiating with potential threats to America sets a very dangerous precedent. It tells the world that if you make demands of the United States they will agree to them to avoid war. It not only makes us a target for glorified pandering, but it also makes us look weak in the eyes of other countries. Another policy regarding nuclear proliferation is to keep as many as we can.
This school of thought comes out of the idea of mutually assured destruction. The belief is that if we have so many nuclear weapons, no one will ever dare attack us. For if they dropped a bomb on us, while we may be devastated, we would in return destroy their country the same if not worse. This policy relies on the fact that peace will be kept due to absolute fear. It also encourages countries to deal with smaller issues diplomatically for fear of destruction, and what may happen if a war goes nuclear. In addition, high amounts of nukes means less troops.
The sheer amount of our nuclear arsenal should be enough to scare anyone out of war; therefore, we would need less people to risk their lives in battle. Another benefit to having large numbers of nuclear weapons is that we can base them all over the country on land, in the sea, or in the air. This would prevent any enemies from being capable of destroying all our nuclear bombs. It allows the United States to have Second Strike Capability, which is an extremely important threat to have during a time of war. Enemies will not attack us do to fear of intense retaliation.
An example of this policy in action occurred throughout the Cold War with the United States and Russia. The “Bay of Pigs” ended peacefully only because both leaders of both countries feared nuclear retaliation and destruction from each other. Although it worked with Russia and Cuba, the downfall to this policy is that everyone has a whole bunch of nuclear weapons. Although fear of retaliation is what keeps us safe, it is hard to believe that a world with less nuclear weaponry would be worse. Another policy, which is somewhat popular, is one of anti-proliferation, but not a completely nuclear free world.
This is where the idea for the Non-Proliferation Treaty came from. The treaty stated that the big five countries would keep their nuclear weapons and eventually disarm. They would not be allowed to sell nuclear weapons to anyone. In addition, the treaty stated that the rest of the world would not be able to buy nuclear weapons, but they would be able to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. This is where the idea of UN weapons inspectors came from, so they could monitor that everything was being done for peaceful purposes. The benefit to having this treaty is that it stops the number of nukes in the world where it is.
While it doesn’t get rid of them, it finally puts a cap on them. Also, it was understood that the big five with nukes would protect the other, smaller countries from any threat of invasion if nuclear weapons were needed. The problem with this idea is that you must take everyone’s word that they wont make nuclear weapons. In addition, Israel, Pakistan, and India refused to sign the treaty. While this policy is a good idea, it relies too much on the good intentions of people. The ideas and theory sound great on paper, but realistically the treaty is in no way an answer to the problem of nuclear proliferation.