Do nuclear weapons prevent regional wars?

Essay, 2015
8 Pages, Grade: A


On the 6th of August 1945, United States military aircrafts flew over the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki releasing two nuclear fission (atomic) bombs (Tonge, 2009). The atomic bomb is probably the deadliest weapon of mass destruction ever used in recorded history. This deadly weapon was created by the United States under the Manhattan Project with the collaboration of Canada and the United Kingdom during 1930-40 (Kelly, 2009). It was soon after this incident took place that the nations of the world concluded that it was one of the greatest mistakes ever made. Hence, the Disarmament and International Security Committee (United Nations’ First Committee) was established to make sure such an event does not take place in the future. The life loss was not what the leaders of that time were concerned about; it was the great after effects of such an uncontrolled weapon that troubled them. Therefore, it is very important to realize that a nuclear weapon unlike the other weapons of mass destruction is almost impossible to control and the causalities are way beyond the imagination of a layman.

After various international treaties it is almost impossible for nations to develop or extend their nuclear weaponry due to what they have come up with arguments to justify their cause. One of these arguments is that nuclear weapons prevent regional wars. It is argued that nuclear technology makes nations more responsible and avoidable towards circumstances that may lead to war. Moreover, it is believed that when a nation posse’s nuclear weaponry its rivals make sure they do not mess with it (Waltz, 1981). Although, these arguments may be true to some extent the problem and consequences are too severe to let go.

In my opinion the arguments presented above may have proven right in case of the “Cold War” between the United States and USSR but it may not help much when it comes to countries like Pakistan and India (that too have developed nuclear weaponry using these arguments). The nuclear crises between India and Pakistan in 1987, 1990, 1999 and 2002 counter these arguments in the fullest manner (Hoodboy, 2013).

In this research paper we shall use the example of the South Asian Nuclear crisis in order to find answers to the following questions that would help us come up with a logical conclusion to the original question .i.e. “do nuclear weapons prevent regional wars”

1. What is the extent of damage nuclear weapons of today can do?
2. What are the pros and cons of a world with nuclear weapons?
3. What do earlier events have to say about it?
4. Would new nuclear states behave differently if equipped with nuclear weaponry?

According to Kenneth Waltz (one of the greatest advocates of a world full of nuclear weapons), the chances of the use of nuclear weapons or nuclear accidents may be infinite but are unknown since no such incident has taken place since the Second World War. In his paper entitled “More May be Better”, Waltz argues that nuclear weapons have been one of the two reasons that have lead to a comparatively peaceful period since the World War II, the second reason being the establishment of a “Bi-Polar World”. A Bi-polar world is one in which there are two major powers or point of views; it is the Untied States and the USSR post World War II. In addition, he argues that the cost of fighting a nuclear war is so high that in case of a world filled with nuclear weapons, countries would tend not to fight as in the world of today. Furthermore, one of the major reasons that lead to wars is miss-calculation and in the case of nuclear wars calculation is not possible hence nations would not get into such deadly events. Moreover, Waltz argues that states equipped with nuclear weapons are more careful since they know the devastating effects that nuclear weaponry, if used, may result into disastrous consequences. Kenneth Waltz is also of the view that states with nuclear weapons have acted responsibly in the future and believing that new nuclear states would not act that way is an absurd idea (Waltz, 1981).

However, it is to be understood that the risks we can take with other weapons of mass destruction cannot be taken when it comes to nuclear weapons since the consequences are so vast. As scientists made the atomic bomb, no one could possibly know more about how effective could it be since they are the one’s aware of the consequences of this deadly weapon. Hence, the Einstine-Russell Manifesto (1955) presented by Albert Einstine and Beteraned Russell to eliminate nuclear weapons shows us that the creators of this technology (scientists) greatly opposed its mare existence. In addition, it is very alarming how with the advancement of technology it is possible for any physics student to create a nuclear explosive (Hoodboy, 2013). In addition, it is important to note that the stability of the bi-polarity that Kenneth Waltz talks about in his theory would not remain intact in case of a world full of nuclear weaponry. This is because if countries all across the globe are equipped with nuclear weaponry, there will no longer be a set of ideas or powers that dominates the world. It is also important to note that we cannot predict what new nuclear states would do while looking at what the old ones did. This is because states are not alike, they have different perspectives, conditions, believes, leaders and geography that makes them act in different ways.

While talking about nuclear weapons and regional stability it is vital to understand how states who are bitter enemies and are neighbors (for example India and Pakistan) would act if equipped with nuclear weaponry. Waltz argues that if equipped with nuclear weapons, these states would act more cautiously and he gives the example of China and the Soviet Union. China and the Soviet Union have been hostile enough and share an extremely long boarder. He argues that bitterness is not the driving force towards a war; it is the “willingness to run high risks”


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Do nuclear weapons prevent regional wars?
Science and the world around us
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ISBN (Book)
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nuclear, international relations, political science, sociology, atomic bomb, peace, conflict
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Mohammad Ahmed Hotiana (Author), 2015, Do nuclear weapons prevent regional wars?, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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