• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Does the issue of nuclear proliferation still matter in world politics today?

Extracts from this document...


Essay Title: Does the issue of nuclear proliferation still matter in world politics today? Mutual nuclear tests by India and Pakistan in May 1998 jolted the world back into realizing that the long-standing problem of nuclear weapons proliferation had not gone away. In the immediate post-Cold War environment, there appeared to have been an actual reversal of nuclear weapons proliferation in some respects, with the denuclearization of all former Soviet republics except Russia; the dismantlement by South Africa of its small covert arsenal of nuclear weapons; an apparent end to the nuclear weapon ambitions of Brazil and Argentina; a freeze in the observable part of North Korea's nascent nuclear weapons program; and the eradication-at least for now-of Iraq's costly nuclear weapons infrastructure. Going further back, both Taiwan and South Korea had been persuaded to curtail efforts that were underway at one time to acquire nuclear weapons, while nations as diverse as Sweden, Switzerland, Romania, and Australia failed to pursue incipient programs. In general, the number of nuclear weapon states-whether declared or not-had not grown nearly as much as predicted by some observers back in the 1960s, when it was expected that two dozen or more countries would have acquired nuclear weapons by now. However, while the numbers have not changed in the near-term, several developments, including the embryonic nuclear arms race between India and Pakistan and the uncertain future of the North ...read more.


The chances that proliferation will reduce the likelihood of nuclear war are quite small. The risks therefore, are large, large enough to preclude much serious advocacy of widespread proliferation, large enough to make worthwhile efforts to understand the underlying dynamics of nuclear proliferation and to seek means to inhibit it, and, most important, large enough to justify attention and preventive action by individual states and the international community. (Ted Greenwood, Harold A. Feiveson and Theodore B. Taylor, P.28) The world now has about 20,000 nuclear weapons; there were once 65,000. It must be counted as a major miracle of the modern age that in the 60 years since Hiroshima and Nagasaki none of them has been used in anger. North Korea already claims to have nuclear weapons; estimates are from six to eight, though the claims and estimates could be wrong. Iranians deny pursuing nuclear weapons, but their denials are doubted by outside experts and undermined by Iran's incomplete compliance with nuclear inspections. There are now eight nuclear powers: the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France, India, Pakistan and Israel (suspected). The danger is not mainly increasing that number by two. It is that if North Korea and Iran have nuclear weapons, other countries would ultimately go nuclear. Then, every nuclear danger would rise dramatically: miscalculation, pre-emptive attacks, theft, a global market in weapons technology, and use by terrorist groups. ...read more.


As long as the possession of nuclear weapons offers special privileges to a nation, the tendency to join the nuclear weapon club will be irresistible. (Taylor & Francis Ltd, P.419) Nuclear weapons will remain widely spread in non-NPT states, if this problem being unsolved. In conclusion, the tide of nuclear weapons proliferation has actually been reversed in some cases in recent years, several developments-including the nuclear arms race between India and Pakistan and the uncertain future of the North Korean nuclear weapons program-could conceivably cause other states to initiate or accelerate their own such programs, as well as generally making the world-and in particular, South Asia-a more dangerous place. A few other states remain of concern as well. Iraq, with its demonstrated history of a large-scale program, appears determined to acquire a nuclear weapons capability at the earliest opportunity. So does Libya, albeit being considerably less advanced. Meanwhile, Israel shows no willingness to give up its substantial arsenal of nuclear weapons despite widespread criticism. In the short term, despite the South Asian testing, the number of states aspiring to have nuclear weapons is unlikely to grow. However, in the medium to longer-term, recent developments on the Subcontinent and on the Korean Peninsula, depending on how they play out in coming years, could have a serious impact on the international nuclear non-proliferation regime, in terms of both increasing the number of states contemplating the development of nuclear weapons, and increasing the risks of such weapons actually being used in combat. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level International History, 1945-1991 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level International History, 1945-1991 essays

  1. The role of partisan politics in the spread of McCarthyism

    How far then did partisan politics, specifically, encourage such widespread support? In order to answer this question, one must first analyze opinions on how other factors contributed to the issue. According to Harvard sociologists Seymour Martin Lipset and Earl Raab, it was the aquiescence of the American masses allowing McCarthy

  2. International Relations Assess the arguments for and against the proliferation of nuclear weapons

    As a choice we have repeatedly chosen to use more conventional weaponry than NWs. "War can be fought in the face of deterrent threats, but...the closer a country moves toward winning...the more surely that country invites retaliation and risks it's own destruction...If states can score only small gains, because large

  1. Do nuclear weapons have any use as instruments of deterrence or are they just ...

    no one should attack it out of fear of the consequences (Howlett.2001,p.422). This can be seen in Asia where a similar situation to the cold war has developed between India and Pakistan where's due to both obtaining a nuclear arsenal they remain in a stalemate of Mutually Assured destruction, where's

  2. American History.

    Democrat supporters were generally foreign-born Catholics, or non-evangelical Protestants. - When the Presidential Election of 1836 came about, however, the Whigs had not yet become a nat'l party, so they entered three sectional candidates [Webster, White, Harrison] against the Democrats' Martin Van Buren, who won easily.

  1. History of the United States

    For the majority of the population, New Deal legislation defined minimum standards of living: the Fair Labor Standards Act set MINIMUM WAGE and maximum hour limitations and included a prohibition on child labor in interstate commerce; the Social Security Act (see SOCIAL SECURITY)

  2. Timothy W., Luke 'Museum politics: Power plays at the exhibition'

    The Washington exhibition was staged - ironically Luke says - in the aftermath of the Bush administration's victory of the Gulf War over Iraq and just before the final collapse of the Soviet Union. ' At this unique historical conjuncture, one might have thought that an America flush with

  1. Do the recent events in Russia and America suggest that world peace and a ...

    Opposition was able to form as people started to criticize the way things worked and the way the country was run but Gorbachev allowed this. Khrushchev or Stalin would not have allowed this and they would have dealt with the matter severely.

  2. Does Realism as a statist Ideology exist today?

    This is strong evidence that realism exists to an extent now, as states seek to maximize their interests, for example the US allegedly did when they invaded Iraq, with the intention to capture Iraqi oil.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work