Monday, October 11, 2010

Nuclear Proliferation in the Middle East and abroad: I can't think of a worse idea.

As we were going over the chart of the different views on nuclear proliferation, I couldn't help but wonder why anyone would encourage the spread of nuclear weapons. Though their reasoning is that if states had equal access to nuclear weapons, this would stem violence because states would each have MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) power. This reasoning is ideal.

Those who follow this view fail to incorporate is the human element.

States act unreasonably because humans are sometimes unreasonable. One may do something knowingly adverse to themselves because they want to. Now is there any logic in this? Nope. So giving states access to the most powerful weapons known to man is logical? Not even. Middle Eastern states have shown that they are prone to make illogical decisions. Also, there is much conflict in the region, so how would it be a good things to have each state blast the other up at any moment? There is already too much tension in the region.

In addition, states with low stability or experience internal conflicts pose the threat of having non-state actors use these weapons for their own goals. Since non-state actors do not have defined borders, it would be impossible to retaliate without destroying another country. Internal conflicts in states could turn global if one side possess a nuclear weapon.

Moreover, many nuclear bombs going off would be an environmental disater. If one thinks the bombs dropped on Japan caused radiation damage, nuclear warheads toady are much, much, much stronger. Many people would die, environments would be destroyed, and Earth as we know it may become uninhabitable. To those that think proliferation is a good thing (not that I think anyone in class does), is that the type of future you would want?

Though the spread of nuclear weapons may be somewhat inevitable (unless states completely destroy the ways and technologies to build them) it is imperative that nuclear weapons must be safeguarded. For the Middle East, the lack of nuclear weapons preserves regional power, and also serves as a balance of power between the different states. I really don't want a future with this in it:


  1. Many Arab states support a Middle East Nuclear Weapons-Free Zone, with Israel the obvious party that would have to give up an actual rather than potential arsenal. Do you agree with that idea?

  2. I do agree with that idea. Though it may putting Israel at a disadvantage, now with no secret leverage against possible Arab aggression, I think that the international community has to stop playing favorites. Though Israel did not sign the NPT, if the international community is committing to curbing nuclear proliferation, they have to start on certain states; including Israel. However, Israel is not willingly going to do this. What I think is fair is that Arab states sign some non-aggression or peace accord in exchange for Israel to turnover its nuclear arsenal; thus eliminating the need for Israel to keep one in the first place.

  3. Agreed on all counts!

    I also agree that a Middle East Nuclear Weapons-Free Zone would be a good idea, but given Israel's stance it's nuclear program, this will not be easy to achieve. Israel's security depends on the fact that unfriendly (to Israel) Arab states don't know whether or not it has a nuclear arsenal. This forces those states to assume the worst, but in assuming that Israel has nuclear capabilities, those states become wary of attacking Israel, for they fear its second-strike capability. Therefore, based on a lack of trust in states like Iran, I doubt that Israel will be quick to admit to having a nuclear program or not, for an outright admission of having weapons could lead to nuclear proliferation of other states (leveling the playing field), and a lack of nukes could lead to an attack from a rival.