The Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons

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Introduction The emergence of nuclear weapons was brought about by distrust amongst states, following progress in nuclear research into uranium fission. Fearing that Germany would create a nuclear weapon first, the United States employed vast resources into nuclear research and developing the first nuclear weapon. The Soviet Union followed by testing its first atomic bomb in 1949, thereby beginning a nuclear arms race amongst countries that continues to the present day. The official nuclear countries, Russia, France, United States, United Kingdom and China have shown no plans of giving up their nuclear weapons, fueling proliferation by non-nuclear states. Although numerous non-nuclear countries have sought nuclear weapons, few are known to have succeeded. Those with nuclear weapons programs include India, Israel, North Korea, and Pakistan. There are fears that other countries such as Iran, South Korea, Taiwan, Syria, as well as Libya may be actively seeking nuclear weapons, or may decide to do so in the future. Reasons for seeking nuclear weapons vary from country to country, but the key reason remains national security. Other countries are driven by the need for prestige associated with owning nuclear weapons. In volatile regions such as the Middle East, countries seeking nuclear weapons are mainly driven by the need to balance power with neighboring countries, in order to avoid attacks. The search for nuclear weapons is often shrouded in secrecy, therefore making it difficult to know just how many countries are doing so. Some countries such as South Africa and Iraq have ended their nuclear programs, but even this was done in a veil of secrecy that makes it difficult to determine an inventory of nuclear weapons in the wor... ... middle of paper ... ...les for nuclear weapon development. Global Affairs. Issue 16, August 2009 David Krieger, Why Nations Go Nuclear, (2005) Article available from: Daniel A. Pinkston , North Korean Motivations for Developing Nuclear Weapons Ian Bellany, Coit D. Blacker, Joseph Gallacher, The Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty,(Routledge Publishers, 1985) Jonathan Dean, "The Final Stage of Nuclear Arms Control," The Washington Quarterly, Vol 17, No 4, pp. 31-52 Joseph Cirincione, Bomb Scare: The History and Future of Nuclear Weapons( New York: Columbia University Press, 2008) Samuel P. Huntington, "The Clash of Civilizations?" Foreign Affairs, Vol 72, No 3, Summer 1993, pp. 22-49 Scott D. Sagan, Why Do States Build Nuclear Weapons?: Three Models in Search of a Bomb International Security, Vol. 21, No. 3. (1996-1997), pp. 54-86.
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