UN POSITION ON NUCLEAR WEAPONS
There are more than two dozen countries of the world that have nuclear power, however, only a few have nuclear weapons and few are suspected of making nuclear weapons. During the cold war era between US and USSR, nuclear arms race was the most alarming feature as both the super powers rapidly built up their stockpiles of nuclear weapons. Later when both realized, there would be devastation caused by nuclear weapons, they embarked upon a number of agreements for reduction in the number of nuclear weapons. Efforts were speeded up after disintegration of the USSR; however, the issues remained a major challenge in the relations of two big powers. U.S. and Russia are the two countries with biggest stockpiles of nuclear weapons. France is the number three on account of number of holding of nuclear weapons followed by China, UK, India, Pakistan, North Korea, Israel and Iran. This paper shall discuss the distribution of nuclear weapons around the world; however, the primary focus of this paper will remain on US, USSR and France for their maximum possession of nuclear weapons. A reference will be made to the recent cold war situation between US and Russia in the wake of Ukrainian crisis. Consequences of having a nuclear war will be discussed in the conclusion part of this document.
There are five nuclear states which have signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty or NPT and it includes China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, and the United States. These states are officially regarded to be the nuclear states. Other countries who have not signed NPT but are declared nuclear states are Israel, India and Pakistan. Two countries that are suspected to have nuclear weapons are North Korea and Iran. Details of nuclear weapons (approximate) held with these countries is given below:
- United States. US have approximately 5,113 nuclear warheads of tactical, strategic, and non-deployed weapons.
- Russia. Russia has approximately 1,480 deployed strategic warheads and another 1,022 non-deployed strategic warheads and approximately 2,000 tactical nuclear warheads.
- France. France had less than 300 operational warheads.
- China. About 240 total warheads.
- United Kingdom. The UK was empowered with a meager figure of 160 deployed strategic warheads, with a total stockpile of up to 225.
- India. Up to 100 nuclear warheads.
- Israel. Between 75 to 200 nuclear warheads.
- Pakistan. Between 90 to 110 nuclear warheads.
U.S. The United States have conducted the maximum nuclear tests in the world and are the only country to have used a nuclear weapon during the war. U.S. also had nuclear weapons deployed in other countries. NATO's nuclear sharing program has allowed the deployment of U.S. bombs in Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey. United States and Russia, have signed number of treaties to reduce their vast nuclear arsenals, the two largest in the world. Both U.S. and Russia have the capability of launching nuclear weapons by land, sea and air. In December 2012, U.S. was estimated to have about 2,150 operational warheads deployed or ready to be deployed at short notice. Another 2,500 warheads are in reserve, and 3,000 are retired and waiting to be dismantled. Details as under:
- 7,650 total, 2,150 operational and out of these, about 500 warheads are with land-based missiles, 1,150 are with nuclear submarines and 300 are ready to be fitted on the aircraft. Additional 200 B61 gravity bombs were deployed in Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey.
- 2,500 in storage as reserve.
- 3,000 waiting for dismantlement
The U.S. is prognostic about a possible weakness by lessening its own resource while Russia is boosting its forces. There is a vital inconsistency in the obligations between the U.S. and Russian to the international security. The U.S. offers nuclear security guarantees to more than 30 countries all over the world, while Russia on the other hand, instead of protecting other nations, is threatening them. It is vital that the Administration recommit to the NATO’s functioned as a crucial nuclear alliance and withstand and revolutionize the U.S. and NATO deployed systems, inclusive of the dual-capable aircraft, the B-61 tactical nuclear weapons, as well as the dual-capable long-range missiles which are in stand-off.
Russia. Soviet Union first tested her atomic device in 1949, and it was constructed on the same design that United States had used four years earlier over Nagasaki, Japan. Recently, Russia and the United States have been working together and signed agreements to reduce their arsenals of nuclear weapons. Both the countries possess the capability to launch nuclear weapons by all three mediums of land, air and sea. In December 2012, Russia had an estimated 1,720 operational warheads deployed or ready to be deployed. Another 2,700 warheads in reserve and 4,000 more are waiting for dismantling. Details as under:
- 8,420 total, 1,720 operational and out of these about 1,070 warheads are with land-based missiles, 350 are with nuclear submarines and 300 are ready to be fitted on the aircraft.
- 2,700 in storage as reserve.
- 4,000 waiting for dismantlement
France. France is the third in the list with a maximum number of nuclear weapons although a distant third position as compared to U.S. and Russia. During the period of former President Jacques Chirac, France dismantled land-based nuclear weapons and reduced by 50% the number of launch mechanisms in 1996. The estimated 300 warheads that were held were deployed on four nuclear submarines, and remaining is for the aircraft, for the purpose of maintenance or for dismantlement. Details as under:
- 300 total, 290 operational, out of these about 240 are deployed in nuclear submarines, 50 are ready to be fitted on the aircraft.
- 10 in maintenance or waiting for dismantlement.
New Cold War between Russia and U.S. In view of Ukraine crisis, a debate has started that if U.S. can use natural gas in Ukraine to counter Russia. However, there is a viewpoint that the real front of the battle is not oil and gas but in nuclear technology. Moscow has already started the nuclear exports by signing a $500 billion agreement. Russia has already transferred nuclear technology to a number of countries to include Hungary, Venezuela, Turkey and, most controversially, Iran. Moscow is constructing 37 percent of the new atomic facilities around the world and will double its domestic output by 2020. The Russians consider nuclear energy as an outstanding product which is suitable for exporting ,"according to Barbara Judge, who served as a former chair of the Atomic Energy Authority, U.K. In an interview that he gave to CNBC, he also mentioned that Russians use nuclear energy as part of their plan to launch themselves as a geopolitical and economic power".
Summary of consequences - U.S and Russian war can produce 150 million tons of smoke. U.S. and Russia nuclear war can bring disaster and total devastation to the world. 2600 The U.S. and Russian strategic nuclear weapons that were on high-alert were sprung up in two to three minutes at targets in the U.S., Europe and Russia. The remaining 7600 deployed and operational U.S. and Russian strategic nuclear weapons also sprang and exploded in retribution for the preliminary attacks, the outcomes of which would definitely very devastating
- A large number of big cities in the U.S., Europe and Russia will be submerged in great firestorms which would eventually result in the urban areas getting burnt.
- Approximately 150 million tons of smoke will evoke from the nuclear weapons which would reach levels above the clouds, and head into the stratosphere, where they would quickly spread all over the world and eventually result in dense layer of stratosphere. This smoke will stay in that zone for many future years constantly blocking and absorbing sunlight. The result is almost 70% of the total sunlight would get blocked in the Northern Hemisphere without reaching the Earth's surface, and in the Southern Hemisphere it would be up to 35%.
- When warming sunlight is lacking, surface temperatures on Earth would get bitterly cold than in the past.
- The temperature would also get rapidly cold to more than 20°C, over most large parts of North America and to more than 30°C - over areas of Eurasia, including quite a few agricultural regions.
- Approximately 150 million tons of smoke in the stratosphere would result in the minimum daily temperatures in Northern Hemisphere’s largest agricultural regions to drop below the freezing for at least 3 years. Average global precipitation would be reduced by 45% due to the prolonged cold.
- Growing seasons would be practically eradicated for numerous years.
- Massive amounts of destruction of the protective ozone layer would also take place, eventually resulting in intense levels of dangerous UV light to enter the atmosphere and reach the Earth’s surface.
- Enormous ground-hugging clouds containing toxic smoke would get released from the fires; massive quantities of industrial chemicals would also penetrate the environment.
- It would be nearly impractical for numerous living beings to survive the life-threatening rapidity and temperature changes and precipitation, clubbed with extreme rise in the UV light, immense amounts of radioactive fallout, and enormous amounts of toxin and chemical releases.
- The agricultural land would become useless to grow any crops and most humans would literally starve to death.
- A mass destruction would occur; similar to the one that occurred probably about 65 million years ago, when the dinosaurs were extinct out because of a large asteroid impact with the Earth.
- Even humans who live in shelters which are equipped with food, water, energy, and medical supplies for numerous years would possibly not live in the intimidating post-war setting
Conclusion U.S. and Russia being the largest nuclear weapons holders have a responsibility towards the international community and humanity; therefore, both of them have to display patience in dealing with international issues. It is this act of diplomats that possibly guides the behavior of various nations during times of war and peace while the acts of war guide the acts of diplomats. So it is not too out of place to infer that the acts of war drives a diplomacy and diplomacy drives war on the other hand. It is something like Yin and the Yang. It has become particularly crucial in the post-Cold War arena that the ethical policies and principles to be clearly defined especially in the light of the fact that the world place is extremely dynamic and new alignments are happening almost every day. It is extremely pertinent and relevant to have uniform global practices, definitions and more importantly implementations, voluntary or forced, in this era. The backing of human rights, the chastisement of crimes in opposition to humanity, the use of power with respect to charitable intervention: these are a few of the intricate issues that are being faced by governments across the globe in the recent past. Their small little mistakes in handling international disputes can trigger flames of nuclear war and can lead to a great disaster for the human race.
CNN. (2014). Nuclear Weapons: Who Was That? Retrieved April 17, 2014, from Cable News Network: http://edition.cnn.com/interactive/2013/03/world/nuclear-weapon-states/#france'
Daily Mail and Reuters. (2013, April 03). North Korea says it has approval to use its 'cutting edge' nuclear weapons against America in a 'merciless' attack hours after U.S. warns of 'clear and present danger'. Retrieved April 17, 2014, from Daily Mail - UK: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2303227/North-Korea-nuclear-weapons-attack-US-approved-Kim-Jong-Un-Chuck-Hagel-warns-clear-present-danger.html
David, J. E. (2014, March 13). The real front in US-Russia 'Cold War'? Nuclear power. Retrieved April 18, 2014, from CNBC: http://www.cnbc.com/id/101507755
George P. Shultz, W. J. (2007, January 4). A World Free of Nuclear Weapons. The Wall Street Journal, A15.
Nuclear Darkness. (n.d.). Consequences of a large nuclear war. Retrieved April 15, 2014, from Nuclear Darkness: http://www.nucleardarkness.org/warconsequences/hundredfiftytonessmoke/
United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA). (1995, May 11). Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). Retrieved April 16, 2014, from United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA): http://www.un.org/disarmament/WMD/Nuclear/NPTtext.shtml
- CNN. (2014). Nuclear Weapons: Who Was That? Retrieved April 17, 2014, from Cable News Network: http://edition.cnn.com/interactive/2013/03/world/nuclear-weapon-states/#france'
The above source is an online news article published in CNN.com the world famous international news channel. In this article, the editors give details about the various international countries which possess nuclear power while highlighting those nations who also have nuclear weapons with them. The article gives details about a dozen global nations that possess the nuclear power and this is a very good source which gives sufficient information about nations which are (mis)using nuclear weapons.
- Daily Mail and Reuters. (2013, April 03). North Korea says it has approval to use its 'cutting edge' nuclear weapons against America in a 'merciless' attack hours after U.S. warns of 'clear and present danger'. Retrieved April 17, 2014, from Daily Mail - UK: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2303227/North-Korea-nuclear-weapons-attack-US-approved-Kim-Jong-Un-Chuck-Hagel-warns-clear-present-danger.html
This source also is an online news article presented by the reporters of UK’s Daily Mail and Reuters. This particular article highlights the declaration given out by North Korea about the nation’s approval for utilizing its sophisticated nuclear weapons against the global superpower, the United States. The article elucidates in detail the statements given out by the North Korean Army in this regard.
- David, J. E. (2014, March 13). The real front in US-Russia 'Cold War'? Nuclear power. Retrieved April 18, 2014, from CNBC: http://www.cnbc.com/id/101507755
The above source is a new article written by J.E. David and published online in the official website of CNBC LLC. The author gives elaborate details about the nuclear strengths of different global nations and discusses about the underlying cause for the Cold War existing between the United States and Russia.
- George P. Shultz, W. J. (2007, January 4). A World Free of Nuclear Weapons. The Wall Street Journal, A15.
The above is an article published online in The Wall Street Journal and authored by George P. Shultz, et al. In this article the authors speak about the threats posed by nuclear weapons to the whole world while also seeing it as an opportunity for the United States to help the global nations move ahead into the next step by avoiding their propagation into possibly dangerous hands. This is a certainly a very good source which offers profound insights about the various pros and cons of nuclear weapons.
- Nuclear Darkness. (n.d.). Consequences of a large nuclear war. Retrieved April 15, 2014, from Nuclear Darkness: http://www.nucleardarkness.org/warconsequences/hundredfiftytonessmoke/
The above source is an online article published in the website named Nuclear Darkness. This article speaks about the deadly consequences of a large nuclear war which in hindsight looks like a reality soon. The article offers vast amounts of details about the doings of the various global nations, especially the ones possessing the nuclear power, and also the harm being caused to Mother Earth and the stratosphere.
- United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA). (1995, May 11). Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). Retrieved April 16, 2014, from United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA): http://www.un.org/disarmament/WMD/Nuclear/NPTtext.shtml
This above source is an article sources from the United Nations Website and is published by the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA). This particular article explains in detail about the Non-Proliferation Treaty as signed by the various nuclear nations. The article clearly states the various abiding rules as declared by the United Nations which are to be adhred by the parties who have signed the treaty.