Joining the Nuclear Family

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Joining the Nuclear Family Part I: A Summary of the Nuclear Arms Issue With the dropping of two atomic warheads on Japan at the end of World War II, the United States heralded the beginning of the Atomic Age. During subsequent years, four other nations acquired nuclear arsenals, and late 1960's saw the implementation of a series of treaties and pacts aimed at stopping the availability of nuclear material and knowledge, limiting deployment and testing. The most well known of these, the 1970 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), recognized five nuclear powers which were permitted to have nuclear arms contingent upon reduction of their arsenals. The nations specified included the United States, Britain, France, China & Russia. In March 1993, a panel testifying before the U.S. Foreign Affairs Committee concluded that India and Pakistan were now nuclear powers, and that the spread of nuclear weapons to developing nations was the single biggest threat to national security. What this spelled out in terms of anti-proliferation protocols, such as the NPT and Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM) of 1972, was that the danger of further nuclear proliferation was very real, and that nuclear capability was no longer a case of the "Haves" versus the "Have-nots. Rather, the recent trend has been that the "Have-nots" are quickly becoming the "Haves." In an attempt to gain power and influence on the world stage, these nations have been or are presently aspiring to develop their own nuclear arms programs despite Non-Proliferation treaty terms. In addition to these rogue nations that are known to have nuclear capabilities, there are suspect nations such as Israel, Iran, Libya and North Korea that are known to have nuclear weapons capabi... ... middle of paper ... ...he Bomb"? Moreover, will it assure our mutual destruction and environmental devastation? Clearly, the spread of nuclear arms must be managed at the source, in which case, diplomacy will play a vital role in the coming years. Negotiations between Pakistan and India must lead to a signing of the CTBT, which will hopefully insure some stability in the world order. Perhaps managing the inventory of Russia's nuclear arsenal through independent means is one of the answers. It appears as though the issue of nuclear arms proliferation among less responsible or hostile nations will stay with us for quite some time, and will play a major role in world affairs for some time to come. But citizens of the world must not just leave it to the policy-makers and statesmen to make a difference. We must take a personal role in world peace and possibly the survival or our species.
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