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Q: Nuclear Weapons ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   7 Comments )
Subject: Nuclear Weapons
Category: Relationships and Society > Politics
Asked by: mongolia-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 18 Aug 2004 13:10 PDT
Expires: 17 Sep 2004 13:10 PDT
Question ID: 389605
Currently many Western Countries are in something of a Standoff with Iran and
North Korea over their possible development of Nuclear Weapons. Some countries
(including the countries which  are in dispute with Iran and North Korea) have 
themselves developed nuclear weapons over the years and have to the best of my 
knowledge no intention of giving them up.
These countries include 
 - USA
 - UK
 - France
 - Russia
 - China
 If these countries are not prepared to give up completely their Nuclear
 weapon program , Why should they expect other countries to do likewise?
 Or is there a fatal flaw somewhere in my arguement?
 I would also point out that some other countries with Nuclear Weapon
programs are not exactly democracies (e.g. China and Pakistan)
 Kind Regards


Clarification of Question by mongolia-ga on 19 Aug 2004 06:21 PDT
I am indeed flattered that so many people took time to comment on my
humble question. I would also be delighted to have an answer from a
Google Researcher.

By way of comment I will simply make two further points:

First Point
One of the comments refers to the fact that Iraq may indeed have got rid of
its nuclear weapons because the USA threated to invade it. So lets follow
through the logic:

 - Small country has or is developing Nuclear Arsenal
 - Large Country or Superpower threatens samll country to dismantle
   nuclear program.
 - Small country dismantles nuclear program.
 - Large Country invades small country anyway.
 hardly a good example to persuade any small country to give up its 
 nuclear Arsenal !!!!  
  Second Point
 What is so wrong with working towards Mikail Gorbachev's dream of
 a nuclear (weapon) free world? 

 Kind Regards
Subject: Re: Nuclear Weapons
Answered By: adiloren-ga on 23 Aug 2004 17:15 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
This is an interesting question and there are several schools of
thought on the matter.

There are those who argue, like kriswrite below, that nuclear weapons
are necessary as a deterent, but only "responsible" nations should
possess them as other "rogue nations" are a threat to peace.

Others argue that all nations should have nuclear weapons, as they
deter aggresion and prevent conflicts. This view has grown more
controversial now, but at one point the nuclear weapon was praised as
a "weapon of peace", an oxymoron if I've ever heard one.

Later, as the dangers of nucler war heightened many recognized the
potential destruction of a world based on these weapons. In 1985 The
Nobel Peace Prize went to International Physicians for the Prevention
of Nuclear War.

Another school of thought is that the only way to minimize the nuclear
threat is through total disarment. Proponants of this view argue that
it is in the best interest of all countries to disarm and that such
action lends large "developed" countries leverage to convince smaller
nations to disarm while they are doing so themselves.

The Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) was an important step in the
reduction of nuclear weapons. Proponants of the treaty argued that the
best way for the U.S. and others to convince other nations to abide by
the treaty and reduce their nuclear weapons was to abide by the treaty
themselves and serve as a model for the world.

The U.S. has pulled out of the near 30 year old treaty as of 2001. The
justification of this was that the U.S. must be able to develop and
maintain nuclear weapons programs to protect against "rogue nations"
and terrorist attacks:

ABM Treaty

The Charter of the Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace (CNDP)

It is difficult for a country like the United States to demand a
country like Iran to disarm while they themselves are maintaining a
large nuclear arsenal. Afterall, countries like Iran have regional
nuclear threats like Israel to worry about and view a nuclear program
as a deterent as well.

Finally, some argue that the right to maintain a nuclear aresenal for
self defense is legitimate, but that countries that have exhibited
aggression beyond self defense must be disarmed. This is the view that
the United States publically espouses, but doesn't always follow.

Consistent with this view, Article 51 of the U.N. Charter allows for
the "right of individual or collective self-defense" against "armed
attack...until the Security Council has taken the measures necessary
to maintain international peace and security." Apart from this,
nations "shall refrain in their international relations from the
threat or use of force."

In order for this view to hold water, one must be able to draw a clear
distinction between the actions of "responsible nations" like the U.S.
and "rogue nations" like Iraq, Iran and North Korea. Since the United
States is the only country to use nuclear weapons in any capacity, the
agression must be judged on the actions of the state through
conventional means as well.

Noam Chomsky writes,

"There are legitimate ways to react to the many threats to world
peace. If Iraq?s neighbors feel threatened, they can approach the
Security Council to authorize appropriate measures to respond to the
threat. If the U.S. and Britain feel threatened, they can do the same.
But no state has the authority to make its own determinations on these
matters and to act as it chooses; the U.S. and UK would have no such
authority even if their own hands were clean, hardly the case."

The concept of preemptive aggression may violate the concept of
agression only in self defense, but it has been used as a
justification by the U.S.

Chomsky continues:

<<When the U.S. bombed Libyan cities in 1986, the official
justification was "self defense against future attack." New York Times
 legal specialist Anthony Lewis praised the Administration for relying
"on a legal argument that violence [in this case] is justified as an
act of self-defense," under this creative interpretation of Article 51
of the Charter, which would have embarrassed a literate high school
student. The U.S. invasion of Panama was defended in the Security
Council by Ambassador Thomas Pickering by appeal to Article 51, which,
he declared, "provides for the use of armed force to defend a country,
to defend our interests and our people," and entitles the U.S. to
invade Panama to prevent its "territory from being used as a base for
smuggling drugs into the United States." Educated opinion nodded
sagely in assent.>>

A study of the Strategic Command reveals what may be the basic
philosophy of how the U.S, will use its nuclear aresnal in a post-cold
war climate.

Chomsky continues:

<<A secret 1995 study of the Strategic Command, which is responsible
for the strategic nuclear arsenal, outlines the basic thinking.
Released through the Freedom of Information act, the study, Essentials
of Post-Cold War Deterrence, "shows how the United States shifted its
deterrent strategy from the defunct Soviet Union to so-called rogue
states such as Iraq, Libya, Cuba and North Korea," AP reports. The
study advocates that the U.S. exploit its nuclear arsenal to portray
itself as "irrational and vindictive if its vital interests are
attacked." That "should be a part of the national persona we project
to all adversaries," particularly the "rogue states." "It hurts to
portray ourselves as too fully rational and cool-headed," let alone
committed to such silliness as international law and treaty
obligations. "The fact that some elements" of the U.S. government "may
appear to be potentially ?out of control? can be beneficial to
creating and reinforcing fears and doubts within the minds of an
adversary?s decision makers." The report resurrects Nixon?s "madman
theory": our enemies should recognize that we are crazed and
unpredictable, with extraordinary destructive force at our command, so
they will bend to our will in fear. The concept was apparently devised
in Israel in the 1950s by the governing Labor Party, whose leaders
"preached in favor of acts of madness," Prime Minister Moshe Sharett
records in his diary, warning that "we will go crazy" ("nishtagea") if
crossed, a "secret weapon" aimed in part against the U.S., not
considered sufficiently reliable at the time. In the hands of the
world?s sole superpower, which regards itself as an outlaw state and
is subject to few constraints from elites within, that stance poses no
small problem for the world.>>

The U.S. has imposed double standards- Israel as an example:

<<"The civilian toll of Israel?s U.S.-backed invasion of Lebanon in
1982 exceeded Saddam?s in Kuwait, and it remains in violation of a
1978 Security Council resolution ordering it to withdraw forthwith
from Lebanon, along with numerous others regarding Jerusalem, the
Golan Heights, and other matters; and there would be far more if the
U.S. did not regularly veto such resolutions. But the common charge
that Israel, particularly its current government, is violating UN 242
and the Oslo Accords, and that the U.S. exhibits a "double standard"
by tolerating those violations, is dubious at best, based on serious
misunderstanding of these agreements. From the outset, the Madrid-Oslo
process was designed and implemented by U.S.-Israeli power to impose a
Bantustan-style settlement.>>

The U.S. has noted that Iraq used weapons of mass destruction as a
reason why the country should be disarmed.

<<Returning to Iraq, it surely qualifies as a leading criminal state.
Defending the U.S. plan to attack Iraq at a televised public meeting
on February 18, Secretaries Albright and Cohen repeatedly invoked the
ultimate atrocity: Saddam was guilty of "using weapons of mass
destruction against his neighbors as well as his own people," his most
awesome crime. "It is very important for us to make clear that the
United States and the civilized world cannot deal with somebody who is
willing to use those weapons of mass destruction on his own people,
not to speak of his neighbors," Albright emphasized in an angry
response to a questioner who asked about U.S. support for Suharto.
Shortly after, Senator Lott condemned Kofi Annan for seeking to
cultivate a "human relationship with a mass murderer," and denounced
the Administration for trusting a person who would sink so low.>>

However, the use of WMD does not provide a clear distinction. Iraq had
used the weapons in the past with no response from the U.S. or U.N.

<<And Lott failed to note that his heroes Reagan and Bush forged
unusually warm relations with the "mass murderer." There were no
passionate calls for a military strike after Saddam?s gassing of Kurds
at Halabja in March 1988; on the contrary, the U.S. and UK extended
their strong support for the mass murderer, then also "our kind of
guy." When ABC TV correspondent Charles Glass revealed the site of one
of Saddam?s biological warfare programs ten months after Halabja, the
State Department denied the facts, and the story died; the Department
"now issues briefings on the same site," Glass observes.>>

My personal view:

It is difficult to argue that one set of countries should disarm
because of their agressive actions, but another set of countries is
allowed to maintain their arms despi?e similar acts. The dichotomy of
"rogue states" and "responsible states" is vague and dangerous in my

At the very least, all countries should be held to certain
international standards of conduct, like those prescribed by the U.N.
Charter and various internation arms treaties. It is unfair for the
powerful to decide the criteria by which to judge the weak and then
act in violation by that very criteria. It is also dangerous for the
powerful to designate entire nations as "rogue" or part of an "axis of
evil". This type of rhetoric may serve as a self fulfilling prophesy
and acts more as a provocation than a source of direction for smaller

Google Search

Nuclear disarmement
ABM treaty
"rogue nations"
mongolia-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $5.00
Dear adiloren

Thank you for both an informative and thoughtful answer to a question which
is rather subjective.
I was especially interested in the Noam Chomsky article and hope that
perhaps some of the people who took time to comment on my question
will also find time to read his article.
Very Kind Regards

Subject: Re: Nuclear Weapons
From: kriswrite-ga on 18 Aug 2004 13:29 PDT
I'm posting this as a comment, since there is no *real* answer to your
question, methinks.

While it's a nice thought that all nations should get rid of nuclear
weapons, it isn't realistic.

Let's say all the "responsible" nations get rid of their N.W. What
would happen? We know that not everybody would get rid of them, so
nations like the U.S.A., U.K., etc. would now be easy targets for

Can we trust everyone in the world to abstain from keeping and making
nuclear weapons? If we can't (and I don't think any reasonable person
would argue that we can), then a country has to defend itself. For
example, if we can't trust terrorists to abstain from nuclear weapons,
then we have to let it be known that if they strike, we can strike
back, obliterating everything they hold dear. This is a form of
self-defense. (We all hope and pray that just having the ability to
use the weapons is enough of a defense.)

In addition, there is no nation of any real power that can persuade a
group or nation to stop using nuclear weapons that does not have
weapons of their own. Why would a nation trying to obtain N.W. stop at
the pleas of a nation that has no power? The UN has attempted to take
on the role of ending N.W., but has failed. (The UN told both Iran and
North Korea, for example, to cease making nuclear weapons, but this
had no effect.)

So while there is something to your question, if you turn it around,
you can pretty quickly see that we don't have an alternative to the
current scheme of things.

Subject: Re: Nuclear Weapons
From: just4fun2-ga on 18 Aug 2004 16:01 PDT
The World is a hard place.  The World is not what you may think it is.
There are no police, no laws.  Power at the point of a gun is the
controling force.  So let us say that everyone gives up Nuclear
Weapons.  And Iran builds one..... See the problem?
Subject: Re: Nuclear Weapons
From: tutuzdad-ga on 18 Aug 2004 16:37 PDT
Or everyone gives up nukes, guns, bombs, grenades, etc. Then we'd once
again resort to horrific rake fights. If that happened the issue would
become: "All countries must dismantle all rakes with handles longer
than 4 feet and/or made from any material other than wood."

Historically speaking, the world has never reversed course when it
comes to technology. Therefore, logically, I submit that the nuclear
issue cannot be "undone" and will only become a non-issue when
something else more threatening and more destructive comes along to
replace it.

Subject: Re: Nuclear Weapons
From: neilzero-ga on 18 Aug 2004 18:09 PDT
There is some evidence that Sadam Husanain got rid of his nuclear
weapons when GW Bush gave him an ultimatum. North Korea and Iran might
do likewise, if GW Bush gave them a similar ultramatum, as they could
hardly assume that GW Bush is bluffing. History may determine that GW
Bush is a world hero is he succeeds in keeping these 3 countries out
of the nuclear club. With millions of lives (perhaps billions of
lives) at stake, being fair is almost irrelevent, IMHO = in my humble
opinion.   Neil
Subject: Re: Nuclear Weapons
From: pugwashjw-ga on 19 Aug 2004 02:35 PDT
Tutuz is so right. Nothing will happen till someone comes along and
sorts it out. Bigger and stronger than any national power we know of
today. Everyone knows about Armageddon mentioned in the Bible. When
will IT be?. In the book of Habbakkuk, 2;3, it says " For the vision
is yet for the appointed time, and it keeps panting on to the end, and
it will not tell a lie. Even if it should delay, keep in expectation
of it: for it will without fail come true. IT WILL NOT BE LATE!".
Considering this was written six hundred years before Jesus` day, it
is prophetic. What is the outcome for people when IT, Armageddon,
hits..Zephaniah 2;3..another prophecy written before Jesus..."seek
Jehovah [ God`s name] all you meek ones of the earth, who have
practised His own judicial decision. Seek righteousness, seek
meekness. PROBABLY YOU may be concealed in the day of Jehovahs anger".
Subject: Re: Nuclear Weapons
From: kriswrite-ga on 19 Aug 2004 07:59 PDT
Several Researchers have commented on your question :)  Their "names"
are the ones underlined and in blue.

Although it's possible that a large nation might threaten to invade
unless a small country gets ride of it's nukes, it's highly unlikely
the U.S.A. would do that. History must be the guide, here.

Subject: Re: Nuclear Weapons
From: ac67-ga on 19 Aug 2004 12:10 PDT
When did two become several?

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