Controling the Spread of Nuclear Weapons

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Controlling both the horizontal and vertical spread of nuclear weapons has always been a subject of international concern since nuclear weapons began being developed in the early 20th century. There are three main types of weapons of mass destruction: chemical, biological, and nuclear. Although all three types may be proliferated and present a serious threat to international security, the focus is placed on nuclear weapons because of their enormous destructive capacity. In today’s modern international system, the concern is centered on the spread of nuclear weapons to international terrorist organizations and unpredictable rogue states. If actors such as these were to acquire nuclear weapons, the damage that they could potentially enact on the world would be detrimental. As a result, many efforts have been made by the countries that already possess nuclear capabilities to reduce and eliminate nuclear weapons elsewhere. Treaties such as the Non-Proliferation Treaty, the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaties I and II, and the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty were some of the first major building blocks of the arms control and disarmament regime, particularly concerning nuclear proliferation. This regime was initially put in place by the world’s major powers as an effort to maintain the status quo and have only 5 countries with nuclear weapons. This exclusionary attitude can still be seen in the actions of the “nuclear club” of countries that already possess nuclear weapons. This nuclear club, which currently consists of the U.S.A., Russia, China, the U.K., France, India, Pakistan, and Israel, is constantly trying to confront what is known as the “N+1” problem. The “N” represents the number of states that currently possess nuclear weapo... ... middle of paper ... ...onal cooperation. The states that do not have nuclear weapons agree to comply with negative security assurances because they realize that the power and influence that may be gained by possessing nuclear weapons are not worth the decreased international security that results from nuclear proliferation. This proposal is particularly effective in preventing horizontal proliferation, which is the main concern of contemporary, more imminent arms control issues, while tactics such as arms limitations are more effective in preventing vertical proliferation, which was more of a concern in the beginning of the arms control regime. I believe that a legally binding international instrument should be made that would outlaw both the use and the threat of use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear countries in order to eradicate any fear of vulnerability by non-nuclear countries.

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