U.S. Security Policy and Nuclear Proliferation
The atomic bomb that marked the end of World War II marked the beginning for the need of more weapons of mass destruction to safeguard the security of different states within the international platform. The resulting cold war between United Sates and the Soviet Union can also be perceived as major contributor to nuclear proliferation on the international platform. The desire to end the increase of nuclear weapons between rival cold war countries and their allies led to the development of agreements by the US and the USSR including their allies to develop mechanisms that could minimize the nuclear threat that was in itself a danger to the existence of nation states and their citizens. Foreign policies of the US on matters related to the production of nuclear weapons have over the years been defined by banning arm sales to countries in Latin America whose governance was defined by brutal dictators. This decision was based on the understanding that dictators in such countries were a threat to the global security die to their ability to act with impunity to the existing law. The danger of nuclear weapons does not only involve the possibility of nuclear wars but also the possibilities of technical malfunctions which in most cases may be necessitated by human failure, unauthorized actions and the misinterpretation of information may lead to the possibility of a nuclear disaster. There are countries such as the US which have continued to attend and oppose the deliberation of the nuclear forums. Despite the resolution by the delegates who called upon the nuclear weapon countries to abolish the complete use of weapons of mass destruction on the global platform.
Keywords: Nuclear weapons, United States, Russia, China, Iran, United Nations, Cod war, Second World War
U.S. Security Policy and Nuclear Proliferation
Security concerns are unevenly distributed in the contemporary society. This makes the international security platform unpredictable, complicated and dangerous. The United States in the process of developing its security policy on among other factors has the responsibility of confronting the underlying issues such as states concern which requires different countries to develop weapons of mass destruction as a means of securing themselves from perceived international threat. In addition, the development of security policies and tithe concept of nuclear proliferation must be based on the understanding that the rise of non-state organizations such as violent extremist and other non-state actors threaten the existence of international peace.
These groups are often motivated by values that are in disagreement with commonly held values. This makes the groups resorts to extreme violence and brutality as a means of replacing their objectives. An additional concern that is perceived to be a definitive measure in the security policies and matters related to nuclear proliferation by the United States must focus on existing nuclear states, which exists outside the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). This is because countries such as China, Iran, North Korea and Russia have been modernizing their nuclear capabilities and this makes the future of the political directions of these countries relatively unclear.
The expansion of the conflict situation in Ukraine and Syria provides the United States with an opportunity of advancing an all-inclusive policy to deliberate on the strategies of nuclear disarmament. This is one way through which the country can ensure that it provides a platform for negotiations on global security.
History of nuclear weapons in U.S. foreign/ security policy
The atomic bomb that marked the end of World War II marked the beginning for the need of more weapons of mass destruction to safeguard the security of different states within the international platform. The resulting cold war between United Sates and the Soviet Union can also be perceived as major contributor to nuclear proliferation on the international platform (Rhodes, 2010). During the cold war operiods about 9 countires were in possession of nucleaer weapons and the se included the unietd States, the Sovierrt Union, Britain, Israel, Pakistan, South Africa and France (Caldicott, 2004). According to the Federal government of the United States the decision to include nuclear weapons as part of its security policy was based on the understanding that such weapons were the only way through which the US and its allies could be protected from the threats of the communist Soviet Union (Rhodes, 2010).
The desire to end the production of nuclear weapons between rival cold war countries and their allies led to the development of agreements by the US and the USSR including their allies to develop mechanisms that could minimize the nuclear threat that was in itself a danger to the existence of nation states and their citizens (Caldicott, 2004). This explains why in 1986, during a summit between the Soviet Union and the US, the two countries were able to work through separate terms, to ensure limit the increase of nuclear weapons. This based on the understanding that different states despite their impeccable differences had the responsibility of maintaining high level security through cooperation on security matters. This led to the negotiation of the Nonproliferation Treaty, which has initially been introduced in 1968 (Rhodes, 2010).
Since the 9/11 attack in the United States the country’s foreign policy against states has been characterized by the need to reduce the potential threat of nuclear weapons in any situation of war. This explains why in 2003, the United States decided to invade Iraq, under the leadership of Saddam Hussein top eliminate weapons of mass destruction that were assumed to be Iraq (Caldicott, 2004). The US, under President Bush launched a procedure that could raise the country’s nuclear alert codes to defcon 2 from dfefcon 6. Defcon 2 is considerd as the highest state of alert code that exists in the world of nuclear weapons before a nuclear attack is launched (Rhodes, 2010). The use of such high threats in country’s security policy has been perceived as a technique through which the country uses to threaten perceived enemy states from any form of attack on American Soil. September 11 attacks not only exacerbated the nuclear threat situation on the global platform, it also served as a platform on which the powerful countries with large nuclear arsenal could raise the risk of a nuclear holocaust. the decision by the US to raise its nuclear alert codes to defcon 2 led to an almost equal response by Russia who poised its nuclear weapons to half trigger alerts ready to be launched (Rhodes, 2010).
September 11 attacks have always been used by US in the development of policies aimed at pursuing missile defense shield despite the limited role of such field in combating terrorist attacks such as suicide bombing. In addition, through the 9/11 attacks, the foreign policy and the security strategies of the US have been used to facilitate the abandonment of weapons control treaties and an increase of massive expenditure on matters related to defense (Caldicott, 2004). The United States defense policies are currently defined buy aggressive militarization in pretext of defense against perceived terrorist threats to provoke a chain of reactions among nuclear nations such as Iran, Russia, China and North Korea (Rhodes, 2010).
The decision by the US to attack Afghanistan and Iraq in early 21st century was aimed at establishing the hegemonic power of the US in the Middle East. This was to safeguard the interests of the US within the region while also demonstrating the ability of the country to use limited nuclear power in wadding away the threat that the militant groups has in these countries (Caldicott, 2004). It was also a technique that the US was using to demonstrate its military might to perceived nuclear countries in Middle East, Asia and Europe such as China, Russia, Iran and North Korea (Rhodes, 2010).
Foreign policies of the US on matters related to the production of nuclear weapons have over the years been defined by banning arm sales to countries in Latin America whose governance was defined by brutal dictators. This decision was based on the understanding that dictators in such countries were a threat to the global security die to their ability to act with impunity to the existing law. Their possession of such weapons would not only threaten peace and stability in different countries but it would also be a threat to the existing (Rhodes, 2010).
The mainstream position of the US government
The September 11 attack has been used by the United States government as a platform for advocating for the development of nuclear weapons that are ready to be fired in minutes. This is an indication that inasmuch as the United States considered the dangers that nuclear weapons pose to global security an d the wellbeing of its citizens (Barnett, 2005). The country perceives this approach to security polices as the best to curb the rising and dynamic terrorist threats. There are countries such as Iran and South Korea that have attempted to develop these weapons. However, the United Stets through numerous resolutions developed by the United Nations has been a major advocate against such nations possessing the weapons. This according to the US Department of Defense and the Department of State is attributable to the presence of dictators in these countries who are a threat to peace and stability on the international platform (New York Times, 2015).
The United States, under President Bush administration developed numerous nuclease plants within the United States as a way of developing weapons to threaten their perceived enemies. This is because despite the presence of these weapons in the United States, the country is yet to deploy many of them into war (Barnett, 2005). Questions have been raised on the safety of the United Stets to preempt the use of these weapons and as it overwhelming command of military capacity. These threats are related to the understanding that some nations such as Iraq and North Korea may have considerd the development of weapons of mass destruction as the only strategy against the military capacity of the United States.
However, the threat of pre-emption has been considered as irrelevant due to the presence of laws that define the circumstances under which such preemption can be operationalized (Barnett, 2005). For instance, the US might consider using these weapons in situations where the lives of numerous Americans are threatened or in situations where a rogue government operates nuclear weapons and has some link to terrosism. This was the reason used to justify the involvement of the US in the war against Iraq in 2003 (Barnett, 2005). The slow response by the United States against North Korea and its nuclear proliferation strategies may also be used in arguing that the United States does not consider the country as a major threat top the international community despite the presence of a dictatorial leadership in the country. In addition, it is possible to argue that the threat by North Korea may be perceived as a form of deterrence against the American government (Conca, 2014).
Despite its advocacy against nuclear weapons proliferation, the United States has been accused of applying double standards on matters related to the minimization of the development and possible use of these weapons. During president Obama’s first term as US president, he announced of the committeemen of his government to cooperate with other readers of the world in ensuring the development of an international platform that was peaceful and highly secure without the involvement of military weapons (Conca, 2014). However, in 2014, the US was said to be allocating about one trillion dollars to revamp the development of its nuclear arms. This would include upgrading the country’s nuclear weapons in a period of 30 years (New York Times, 2015). In addition, through this strategy, the US, military leaders have also been accused of supporting the development of these weapons without using their military expertise and skills to question the efficiency of nuclear deterrence in ensuring global security and minimizing nuclear tension and arms race among different nation states (New York Times, 2015).
While supporting the intentions by the United States to modernize its nuclear weapons, the department of defense through the navy official has argued that such levels of modernization would guarantee the safety of the United States at present and in the future. this is because the current state of affairs in matters related to security are characterized by the presence of traditional adversaries such as Russia who are modernizing, the maturity of emerging adversaries and the rise of non-state actors such as terrorists who are generally elusive and dangerous to the security situation in the US (New York Times, 2015)..
According to the US government through the department of defense, the ballistic nuclear weapons and machinery that the country has been able to develop are considerd as necessary in the development of safe, secure and effective strategies of nuclear deterrence in the United States (New York Times, 2015)..
The US government through its European allies such as Germany, Netherlands, Italy and Turkey has demonstrated their support for ulcer proliferation in an attempt to ensure that they deter their actual and potential enemies from engaging in any form of attack (New York Times, 2015). The decision by the US and its associates to engage in a nuclear sharing agreement has led to the spread of US nuclear bombs across in different locations within Europe. This is not only considered as a technique through which the United States seeks to establish itself as a major player on the international platform and within Europe (Conca, 2014).
Nuclear Age Peace foundation
Nuclear weapons in the view of the United Nations are the most dangerous weapons in terms of their destruction to their ability to destroy or cause harm to the human population, natural environment, future lives, and property. The danger associated with the presence of nuclear weapons often arises for their existence on the surface of the wealth. (United Nations Office of Disarmament Affairs) Despite the danger associated with the use of these weapons, they have only been used in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 to mark the end World War II. However, the world is considerd to be under constant threat since different countries have been engaged in the production of nuclear arms and this explains the availability of more than 22,000 weapons (United Nations Office of Disarmament Affairs). These are potential threat in terms of the possibility of a nuclear war of a nuclear accident. The best strategy to reduce and to some extent eliminate this threat is for complete disarmament of such countries (United Nations Office of Disarmament Affairs).
Since the formation of the United nations in 1945 and the adoption of the first resolution by the UN General Assembly in 1946, the commissions ability to minimize the threat of nuclear energy has been affected by political tensions, such as the Cold war, and numerous conflicts between different states such as the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq in the late 20th. The UN has however been abler to establish numerous treaties with the aim of minimizing and to some extent preventing nuclear proliferation and testing on local and international platforms. The treaty of Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), Partial Test Ban Treaty (PTBT) and the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) are examples of treaties that the UN has been able to establish and different countries have been able to ratify (United Nations Office of Disarmament Affairs).
Despite the establishment of different approaches to seeking solutions to the problem of nuclear proliferation, political and power politics have been major contributors to the difficulties in realizing an ultimate end to the proliferation of nuclear weapons. In addition, the dynamic situation of the international community has necessitated the presence of non-state actors on the international political and economic platform (Ingram & Meirs, 2011). The involvement of the terrorist groups in international aaafirs coupled by their extremist ideologies have necessitate the development of the se weapons in countries such the US which considerd itself as a major target for terrorist attacks (Goodman & Gonzalez, 2014).
The United States has continuously been considerd as the main reason why countries such as Iran, North Korea, China and Russia have continued to modernize and develop nuclear weapons. This is because the desire of the US to maintain its position as a political hegemon has been threatened by the rise of nation states such as China on the economic platform. This means that for the US to maintain its hegemonic power, there is need to establish itself on the military Front through the development of the most powerful and complicated military machinery (Ingram & Meirs, 2011). The culmination of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union marked a new beginning of independence to countries that were initially controlled by the Eastern and Western block of the war. This is an indication that countries currently have the ability to embrace the development of military weapons considering that the absence of any form of rivalry between two nations provides other countries with platforms of making decisions their security against potential threats (Union of Concerned Scientists, 2015).
The increase of nuclear weapons on the international platform is also attributable to numerous violations that the US has demonstrated against the NPT. This was especially characterized by the decision by president Obama’s administration to fund a 30 year nuclear arms modernization initiative. The US is expected to be a leader in the reduction of military proliferation (Union of Concerned Scientists, 2015). However, its open violations of UN resolutions on nuclear arms are an indication of the existence of anarchy on the international platform. This explains why North Korea has been able to develop nuclear weapons in open violation of NPT. This has also been used by Iran as reason for the development of nuclear weapons. The rude and open defiance by the United States, Russia, and North Korea can be related to their desire to establish themselves in global militarism (Union of Concerned Scientists, 2015).
The danger of nuclear weapons does not only involve the possibility of nuclear wars but also the possibilities of technical malfunctions which in most cases may be necessitated by human failure, unauthorized actions and the misinterpretation of information may lead to the possibility of a nuclear disaster (Dodge, 2015). The understanding that any form of unauthorized action may have not occurred is an indication that the safety measures that have been instituted are relative effective. The ability of different countries to embrace the development of nuclear weapons is an indication that there is a high possibility of a nuclear disaster (Collina, 2014). This is because an increase in the number of nuclear weapons increases the possibility of a nuclear disaster due to human error (Union of Concerned Scientists, 2015). It would be important for different countries to ensure that their nuclear missiles are off hair trigger and the reduction of the alert levels as this is a critical step in the reduction of the possibility of a nuclear risk (Dodge, 2015).
The civil society has been an instrumental player on the global platform matters related to the creation of public awareness on matters related to the production of nuclear weapons. The International Campaigns to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) for instance was a forum organized by non-governmental bodies, groups of parliamentarians and activist groups was aimed at boosting the morale and enthusiasm of their governments in fighting against the development of nuclear bombs (Laforge, 2014). Through these groups, information regarding humanitarian and environmental impacts using of nuclear weapons has been discussed and unanimous declaration developed against any form of nuclear proliferation (Ingram & Meirs, 2011).
There are states such as the US, which have continued to attend and oppose the deliberation of the nuclear forums. Despite the resolution by the delegates who called upon the US, Pakistan, Iran, North Korea, Russia and Israel among other countries to abolish the complete use of weapons of mass destruction (Lafarge, 2014). The US delegates criticized the forum while supporting the decision by the US to boost its nuclear weapons base. these assumptions were based on the understanding that the dynamic nature of the security situation could not be solved by pure negotiations due to the inability of different factions of the global community to adhere to exiting rules of war (Laforge, 2014).
The development and the popularity of nuclear weapons on the international platform can be traced to the end of Second World War and the dropping of an atomic bomb in the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Ever since its formation in 1945, the United Nations has been very instrumental in advocating for the development of policies, resolution, and strategies that can be used in the mitigation and the eradication of nuclear weapons on the global platform.
The Cold War was considered as a set back to the progress that the UN and other countries had made towards a nuclear free world. This is because the warring factions led by the US and the USSR were challenged developed and raised the alter levels of their nuclear weapons to deter enemy factions from the possibility of an attack. The collapse of the USSR which was a culmination of the Cold War in late 1980s led to the emergence of nuclear weapons countries, which were founded on the belief that the international community and the former powers in the cold war could not control any of their activities in relation to the development of nuclear weapons. These include China, Pakistan, Israel, Iran and North Korea who own nuclear weapons.
Despite its popularity and willingness to engage other countries in the signing and ratification of the NPT, the US has been in violation of this treaty ever since its development. This was as demonstrated by president Obama’s regime one trillion dollar budget, which was aimed at modernizing the country’s nuclear weapons. This necessitates the need to establish an all-inclusive approach towards solving the nuclear crisis in the world.
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