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The fall of the Iron curtain in the 1990's brought a close to a chapter in history that brought the world to the brink of global nuclear-armed conflict.

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Introduction

The fall of the Iron curtain in the 1990's brought a close to a chapter in history that brought the world to the brink of global nuclear-armed conflict. However, at the dawn of the 21st century President George W. Bush's administration is poised to reopen that chapter by pursuing a unilateral defense posture that will only serve to modernize and expand current nuclear war fighting capabilities and break the taboo of nuclear non-use. This paper will argue that the failure of the United States to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) as well as the pursuit of a National Missile Defense (NMD) will lock the United States back into its Cold War security dilemma in which striving to increase security breeds more insecurity. CTBT Since the 1950s, opposition to nuclear testing has been spurred by concerns over its health and environmental effects and by testing being one of the more visible signs of the nuclear arms race. Most recently, in 1995-1996, massive worldwide criticism of French nuclear tests in the South Pacific, caused France to curtail its test program. Public opposition and the dangers of an arms race fueled by nuclear testing have lead governments to try to limit and stop nuclear testing for over 40 years. However, in 1999 the United States Senate refused to implement the CTBT, which would have put an end to nuclear weapons testing and development. The United States failure to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty guarantees a future end to the ten-year moratorium on testing. ...read more.

Middle

NMD in particular, as it is a space-based defense system, seems particularly vulnerable to the logic of the arms race. Indeed, today only one in eight active orbiting satellites belong to the US military.6 This proportion is set to decrease, as launching satellites into space continues to become more and more affordable to companies and smaller countries. Therefore, in the unilateralist logic, space-based weapons will also become increasingly available to possible enemies, presenting a new threat to US security that must be overcome by ever more expensive technological fixes. Furthermore, since "� la carte multilateralism" undermines the ABM Treaty, the arms race perspective becomes even more likely, as it "contains the most explicit protections of satellites on the books."7 The ABM Treaty effectively blocked the development of anti-missile defense systems,8 thus ensuring that any country launching a missile attack would be unable to defend itself from a retaliatory strike. Were this treaty to disappear, aggressive acts towards satellites, most probably by present or future rogue states, would only become more likely - a self-fulfilling prophecy. This logic serves only to reiterate the fact that "The basis of security is that it never works for just one. You have to have security for everyone or it fails."9 That entering the arms race logic is the result of paranoia rather than realism is shown by the fact that the widening access to satellites to both businesses and countries could equally be seen as reinforcing the US's dominant position. Indeed, because of the US's undoubted technological advantage, it has developed many of the technologies which have become commonplace. ...read more.

Conclusion

Only by pursuing confidence building, regime oriented measures can the United States help avert the next Cold War. Ratification of the CTBT and ending the pursuit of a National Missile Defense seem to be the first steps in the process toward paving the way into the 21st century. The United States can either sit back a not take on its role as a champion of the free world or it can take a proactive stance in stomping out the possibility of a renewed arms race and break out of its Cold War security dilemma. 1 Alexander, B. and Millar, A. (www.fourthfreedom.org/php/print.php?hinc=DefenseNewstnw.hinc) July 11, 2001 2 Kuchta, A. Dickinson Journal of International Law "A Closer Look: The US Senate's Failure to Ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty," 19 Dick. J. Int'l L. 333. 3 http://www.nuclearfiles.org/chron/80/1980s.html 4 http://www.msnbc.com/news/845497.asp?0cv=TB10 5 Blair, T., 'Doctrine of the International Community,' speech delivered in Chicago, 23 April, 1999, http://www.number-10.gov.uk/ 6 Hitt, J., 'The Next Battlefield May Be in Outer Space' 7 Hitt, J., 'The Next Battlefield May Be in Outer Space' 8 Millar, A., The Progressive, It's a Bomb! United States Military Policy," No. 8, Vol. 65 9 Smith, D., quoted in Hitt, J., 'The Next Battlefield May Be in Outer Space' 10 Hitt, J., 'The Next Battlefield May Be in Outer Space' 11 Fitchett, J., 'Cruise Missiles Enhance NATO's Scope' 12 ibid. 13 ibid. 14 ibid. 15 Kagan, R., 'The World and President Bush,' Survival 43 (2001), p. 14 16 ibid. 17 Der Derian, J., 'The (S)pace of International Relations: Simulation, Surveillance, and Speed,' p. 298 18 Washington Post, 25 July, 2001 19 Der Derian, J., 'The (S)pace of International Relations: Simulation, Surveillance, and Speed,' p. 298 2 ...read more.

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