NUCLEAR WEAPONS ARE NOT ONLY A GREAT PERIL BUT ALSO A GREAT HOPE
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- By Saqib S
- Posted Nov 1, 2017
Nuclear weapons as a danger
Economic and Social fallouts due to nuclear arms
Concept of Nuclear deterrence and MAD
Hope in the context of
Pakistan – India,
U.S – U.S.S.R and
India – China Relations.
The fear of Nuclear Weapons and consequent counter measures like defense treaties, arms control, establishment of SAARC.
Peaceful usage of Nuclear weapons.
There are no two views that nuclear weapons possess the capability of massive destruction but it is also a reality that nuclear weapons do not only mean annihilation; there are numerous positives affiliated to nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons, paradoxically, have made wars elusive and brought above peace and tranquility between hostile relationships, while also ensuring national security, sovereignty of states that possess them. Nuclear weapons are said to be dangerous as it can annihilate entire countries within no time. The human cost of utilization of nuclear weapons is unimaginable and fearsome. Also, nuclear weapon acquisition bleeds the economy of a country once it enters into nuclear arms race. Ultimately, the standard of living of the common people becomes apathetic and social problems become inevitable. Apart from being hazardous, nuclear weapons have lead to the normalization and thaw in relations between countries. Nuclear weapons are also guardians of national security and sovereignty of nations. Countries which are weak in conventional military capability against their adversary see a great hope in nuclear weapons to maintain a balance of power and protect their national security. Thus, nuclear weapons though pose danger yet there are many positives attached to this danger that emanates from these weapons.
Nuclear weapons are the most destructive weapons ever created capable of eliminating all life on earth .Of all the weapons that man has designed and developed lately, nuclear weapons are the most powerful. Once these weapons hit the target, the target is bound to be destroyed completely. The blast energy, thermal energy and nuclear energy after a nuclear attack causes massive destruction and kills everything that comes into its range. These weapons truly have the capacity to kill entire humanity, destroy the biggest of structure, slay every animal being, and wipe out the forestry. These are the weapons of Mass Destruction.
Nuclear weapons have only been used twice since they were developed and this case best illustrates the dangerous nature of these weapons. After testing its nuclear device in July 1945, U.S.A dropped two nuclear bombs namely littleboy and fatman on Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6th and 9th of August, 1945. The temperature at the spot of these explosion rose to several thousand degree centigrade that could melt even the hardest of metals. In Hiroshima approximately one hundred thousand people were killed and in Nagasaki Sixty to eighty thousand people lost their lives. Many of them died immediately by effects of burns, radiation and falling debris. Even many years after the nuclear weapon attack number of people fall victim to the continuous radiation effects of the nuclear blast. The nuclear bombing of Japan is indeed a classical example of the peril of these nuclear weapons.
Nuclear weapons are not only dangerous when they are utilized but even without their utilization, the nuclear weapons acquirement and the nuclear arms race is also a great danger. The nuclear arms race or enormous stockpiling of nuclear weaponry substantially weakens the economy of a country. The country in acquiring nuclear weaponry ignores the poor lot of the people. Economic, social political problems are then the result at the end of the day when a nation gets obsessed with maintaining a sound nuclear arsenal.
South Asia is perhaps the best example to indicate the serious danger of nuclear weaponisation. Danger here implies the apathetic standard of living of the people of the two biggest countries of South Asia owing to the race of nuclear weapons. Literacy rate readings of both the countries are very depressing yet the two nations spend overwhelmingly on nuclear arms neglecting the education sector. About sixty million people are very poor in Pakistan living below the poverty line. Figures for India are even more grim. There are believed to e some 25% of 1.2 billion people living below the poverty line in India. Every year thousands die out of starvation and diseases. All this is accredited to nuclear weaponry race between the two countries which has coerced both countries to enhance their nuclear arsenals resulting in deficit of budget, shortage of money for overcoming health related issues, depletion of resources and funds to empower poor masses of the two countries by providing them education, employment and job opportunities. Thus, nuclear weapons are also danger as its race bankrupts the economy of a country and has deep effects on the people of the country.
The nuclear weaponisation and the nuclear arms race between former U.S.S.R and U.S.A are another example of the danger of nuclear weapons. The stock-piling of nuclear weapons ultimately lead to the disintegration of Soviet Union. There are, however, other factors involved in its disintegration but the economic cost of acquiring numerous nuclear weapons was a potent factor. The defeat in Afghanistan was a culmination of the crises. There were protests and demonstrations taking place with great intensity in U.S.S.R before the Afghan withdrawal because of the poor conditions of the people owing to nuclear weaponisation of U.S.S.R. The United States of America also bore the brunt of intense nuclear armament as the economy of U.S.A collapsed significantly. Number of people lost their jobs and the Government of the day saw political turmoil. In short, nuclear weaponisation can also disintegrate a country and deplete economy and resources as mentioned above.
Much has been said regarding the destructive capability of nuclear weapons; there are, however, great hope and expectations attached to these weapons if seen in the doctrine of Mutual Assured Destruction and Nuclear deterrence. Nuclear deterrence forces a country not to take an aggressive action against its adversary as the adversary itself can inflict severe damage to that country. It allows both the countries to pursuit restraint. For example, if country A and a country B are both nuclear states and country A desires to launch an offensive against country B, the principal of Mutual Assured Destruction will coerce the country A not to take an aggressive action against the other country for that country is also nuclear-armed and is capable of inflicting severe punishment on country A. So, these nuclear weapons create deterrence forcing the countries not to take offensive measures against each other since nuclear weapons usage might result in mass destruction of the countries involved in the conflict. Resultantly, because of the nuclear deterrence coming from nuclear weapons wars become unlikely leading to de-escalation of tension between countries.
These were nuclear weapons that prohibited both the U.S.A and former U.S.S.R to enter into an open confrontation. It is said to be “Cold War” because both the countries confronted each other indirectly. Both had massive conventional and nuclear capability but neither chose to attack being aware of the serious consequences nuclear weapons could bring. Nuclear weapons were solely the reason, paradoxically though, that the world did not see a destructive direct confrontation between two world powers, the cost of which would have been unimaginable.
Furthermore, the weapons of mass destruction allowed both countries to normalize their relations. In 1962, the former soviet Union surreptitiously deployed its nuclear weapons in Cuba. When U.S.A realized this serious threat it openly challenged U.S.S.R to uninstall its nuclear weapons from Cuba or bear the brunt of an open, direct war. Here again, both the countries understood and realized the capabilities of their nuclear weapons and followed the path of restraint which ultimately led to the detente between the two world powers and they began to solve their disputes in a less hostile environment.
There are many people who believe that nuclear weapons ended the Second World War. Though the casualties and brutal killings are regrettable and unacceptable, yet these weapons ended the rivalry between many countries of the world. People who assert this theory believe that the consequences, casualties of a persistent world war would have been far greater had the nuclear weapons not stopped the world war.
Talking of the positive side of nuclear weapons one cannot sideline the role of nuclear weapons in decreasing tensions between china and India. The two neighbors had contentious issues between them and they went to war in 1962 resulting in considerable casualties on both sides. But ever since china developed its nuclear weapon, India had to follow restraint knowing the severe punishment China could bring about using weapons of mass destruction. Similarly, when India exploded its device in 1974 both the countries realized the need to resume talks and abate tensions. The two countries are the world’s most populous countries, conflict between them loomed large posing a great threat to humanity but since nuclear weapons were developed both tried to ignore aggressive course and tread the path of amicable resolutions of their issues.
Nuclear weaponisation urged China and Russia too to resolve their differences and avoid war. Both the countries had deep-routed political, ideological conflicts but the fear-factor involved in the destructive weapons asked both the countries to refrain from offensives. But it is no denying the fact that, however, both countries went to war in 1969 although both nuclear-armed nations. The war however did not escalate to heightening proportions as both realized the nuclear capabilities of each other and ultimately resulted in the end of war before becoming a full-fledged armed conflict.
Nuclear weapons are also guardians of national security, integrity and sovereignty. For nations that are weak in conventional forces against their opponents, nuclear weapons are powerful protectors of sovereignty and security of these countries. For a better explanation of the point perhaps Pakistan’s case is the most suitable since nuclear weapons are a great hope for such a country which is continuously threatened by its giant, hostile neighbour. The two countries, India and Pakistan, fought three wars before both went nuclear in 1999. However, the world witnessed the kargil war but owing to nuclear weapon deterrence neither could afford to escalate the war. It were these weapons’ fear that ultimately led to the end of the war. The hostile neighbour, India, has never missed an opportunity to press Pakistan. It is conventionally quite stronger than Pakistan in armed forces. Its armed forces are thrice the number of Pakistani troops. But this nuclear weapon acquirement by Pakistan has worked brilliantly to maintain its national security and sovereignty and integrity. India can never think to mischief with Pakistan as it has now a credible nuclear deterrence. After the 26/11 incident, India aired its desires to violate Pakistan’s sovereignty and integrity by launching an offensive against the alleged planners of the Mumbai attack but these will remain mere desires as India is well informed of the consequences it can face by Pakistan’s retaliation against an Indian attack. So, these weapons have adequately safeguarded national security, integrity and sovereignty of Pakistan and are a great hope for this nation.
For India too, nuclear weapons have worked as a hope. After tasting a terrible defeat in 1962 against China, Indian followed the nuclear course in order to Maintain and ensure its safety and sovereignty. After proclaiming itself as a nuclear state, India took a sigh of relief as nuclear weapons become a deterrent against a Chinese attack.
Some people say that nuclear weapons function perfectly for North Korea’s Survival and security. It faces threats from the sole super power of the world and its ally, South Korea, but nuclear weapons have worked out for its security and survival. People deem that if North Korea did not possess nuclear weapons its adversaries would easily dominate it. The only thing that protects its security and forces South Korea and U.S.A to keep distance is weapon of Mass Destruction.
There are also those who believe that had Iraq acquired nuclear weapons it would have never been invaded. As mentioned that these weapons provide national security and integrity, so if Iraq possessed these weapons the invaders would think a hundred time bearing in mind the cost of the invasion they might have to face. Nuclear weapons, thus, might have safe-guarded Iraq’s Sovereignty too if it had acquired them.
Importantly, nuclear weapons provide political power and respect to a country which possesses these weapons. The country is feared and respected. No one tries to create differences with a state that is nuclear. The nuclear-weapon state becomes prestigious and has a greater say in world affairs, consider the five permanent members of the security council, the U.S.A, Russia China, France and Britain are all nuclear – armed having a great role in world affairs besides being respected and feared.
Besides making the scenario of war unlikely and providing power and security, nuclear weapons have brought contentious issues to the forefront to be solved amicably. When India and Pakistan were likely to go for a nuclear war after Kashmir, the urgency to solve this issue also surfaced. International community gave the issue more prominence and importance than ever before to solve this dispute. Former president of U.S.A, Bill Clinton, vowed that he would personally work out for resolution of the conflict. It were just these weapons that created an environment in which it seemed that the never-ending dispute of Kashmir might be resolved .Scholars of International relations consider Kashmir a nuclear flash – point and therefore exists the urgency and need to deal with the conflict.
Similarly, nuclear weapons have in it the potential to resolve other most crucial international disputes. Consider that if any of the Arab countries, Lebanon, Jordan , Egypt or Palestine possessed nuclear weapons would it be possible for Israel to continue with its settlement activities? Would it continue the perpetual ethnic cleansing of the Arabs if they had nuclear arms? The Scenario would have been different altogether. It would have forced Israel to limit its borders and activities. It might also have resulted in the solution of the Jerusalem question.
These weapons are not just destruction; instead they also indirectly bring peace and prosperity among countries as seen with the establishment of SAARC. Nuclear weapons contributed a lot for the establishment of SAARC. After India conducted its nuclear test in 1974, the smaller countries of South Asia thought of strengthening their security. Bangladesh was continuously pressurized by India and after the nuclear explosion of India, Bangladesh; being obsessed with its security expedited its desire to establish a regional co-operation that would defuse tensions among South Asian countries. The fruits and few milestones of SAARC have helped to bring prosperity and peace in South Asia, which was established out of the nuclear fear-factor of India. It is apparent, clear that how the so-called dangerous weapons contributed to be a major factor in establishment of SAARC and bring about peace and tranquility and empowerment of people.
And that nuclear weapons are not only for destructive purposes. There are peaceful uses of nuclear weapons that also generate hope, scientist estimate that after a few years an asteroid may strike the earth and absolutely annihilate this earth. In such a case, scientists believe that nuclear weapon might defend the earth from such asteroid. Nuclear weapons can also be used for stimulating natural gas production. These weapons can also be used for making big canals, holes in the earth, mining purposes or reservoir creation.
In short, though these weapons of Mass destruction forebode serious danger owing to their perilous capabilities yet we see in them great hope as they lead to peaceful resolutions of conflicts, safeguard the borders of a country, provide authority to a country. These weapons indirectly through nuclear deterrence sum up numerous positives and merits. These nuclear weapons are believed to be destructive weapons but somehow they can also be called as weapons that avoid mass destruction. Even with these weapons countries have survived, prospered and progressed without going to war; thereby indicating that these weapons do not just mean the end of the world.