The Spread of Nuclear Weapons- a Debate Essay, Research Paper

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This book is structured as a debate between the authors on the subject of nuclear proliferation. Waltz “argues that because nuclear weapons ‘will never the less spread,’ the end result will be stabilizing. His main point is that ‘nuclear weapons make wars hard to start’ and that even radical states will act like rational ones because of the mutually deterrent effort of nuclear weapons. Sagan . . . fears the worst because of ‘inherent limits in organizational reliability. He contends that the parochial interests of professional military leaders in emerging nuclear states, who will tend to see war as ‘inevitable’ and skeptically view any nonmilitary alternatives, will lead to deterrence failures or accidental war. In addition, Sagan argues these states will probably lack ‘positive mechanisms of civilian control’ to restrain militant tendencies.”

Because nuclear weapons are so much more powerful than any armaments previously known, their introduction at the end of World War II required a rethinking of strategic principles. State A seeks to prevent state B from attacking, by threatening to respond forcefully to attack and inflicting retribution on B. If B takes the threat seriously and refrains from attacking, A’s deterrence policy has succeeded. Nuclear weapons lend themselves particularly well to deterrence because they can impose tremendous damage on an enemy. Deterrence thus became the principal–indeed, they have argued, the purpose that nuclear weapons serve. In my opinion, Sagan is right. We should worry about the spread of nuclear weapons.

Both the United States and the USSR achieved an assured destruction capacity by the 1960s. As a result, Waltz believed that all the countries should have nuclear weapons. No matter who start the war, the world will be destroyed. Why not add more members to join the club? She said that ??spread?? rather than ??proliferation??. Someday the world will be populated by fifteen or eighteen nuclear-weapon states. What the further spread of nuclear weapons will do the world is therefore a compelling question.

According to the Times Newspaper, The United States secretly deployed thousands of nuclear weapons in 27 countries at the height of the Cold War, in some cases without even the knowledge of the governments involved.1 This issue remained me that Waltz??s point: It is better to have more countries that own the nuclear weapons than just few powerful countries. However, Waltz??s point of view is not a major thought of the issue of nuclear weapon. Almost the entire southern hemisphere is now covered by nuclear-weapon-free zones. The ones in Latin America and the South Pacific were established during the Cold War, those in Southeast Asia and Africa after its ending. Zones have also been proposed, so far without success, for the Middle East, South Asia and Northeast Asia.2 In fact, the nuclear power is extremely diseqilibrium in the world, and I believe it is almost impossible for most of the countries to have nuclear power.

In a large-scale nuclear war, each side would suffer such catastrophic destruction that neither could regard the outcome as a victory. To provide any chance for meaningful victory, a nuclear war would therefore have to be severely limited. But the prospects for controlling a nuclear war are at best uncertain. “Despite a steep draw down in U.S. and Russian nuclear forces in the years after 1991, both the United States and Russia continue to maintain large arsenals of strategic nuclear weapons poised for immediate launch. Under the most optimistic projections, these arsenals will remain large and launch-ready for decades.3 This is the point that Sagan talked about. More nuclear weapons will only product more damage. It is very difficult to control those destructive weapons.

As a practical matter the task of defense against large-scale nuclear attack is difficult, perhaps impossible, when each side has thousands of weapons that can be launched from different...
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