Detrimental Effects of Nuclear Weapons


Many scholars and governments argue that nuclear proliferation is one of the greatest security threats that the international community faces. This paper discusses about nuclear proliferation and how it poses a threat to the entire world of humanity.


Nuclear proliferation can be perceived as the increase of nuclear weapons in the world and in the states that possess such weapons. In other words it denotes the wide spread manufacturing of nuclear weapons. Many scholars and governments argue that nuclear proliferation is one of the greatest security threats that the international community faces. This paper dwells on the details of nuclear proliferation, nuclear nonproliferation, what are included in NPT, which are the nations that are non signatory to NPT and their claim there of. On the basis of an analysis these factors, this paper will attempt to establish how nuclear proliferation will cause destruction of human peace.

The arguments for and against nuclear proliferation as a major security threat to the international community

Nuclear proliferation means the spread of nuclear weapons and the technology that supports the same. Many nations world wide oppose the extensive manufacturing of nuclear weapons. While several nations have large collection of nuclear weapons, many others have none. The nations which oppose nuclear proliferation are called Nuclear Nonproliferation states and the treaty for nuclear nonproliferation is called NPT or Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Many nations in the world have different opinion in the matter of nuclear proliferation. There are five members who have signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty: United States of America, United Kingdom, France, Russia and China. Besides these five there are forty other signatory nations. India, Pakistan, Israel, North Korea are non signatory and they are opposing this treaty.

Nuclear proliferation is one of the greatest challenges that the world faces today. During the Second World War, there was a nuclear attack on Japan which was launched by the Americans, in the aftermath of a bombardment on ‘Pearl Harbor’. It has resulted in the death of millions of people in the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Nuclear attack on Hiroshima was on August 6th1945 and it is known as little boy, and the other one, known as Fat man on Nagasaki, was on August 9th1945 towards the end of Second World War. Several millions were injured gravely in this mishap. The after effect of the explosion is reported to exist even now and the radiation from it is still affecting human life and the newborn babies. The emissions also result in deformity and handicaps in the newborns. Nations across the world fears a third world war and there exists an apprehension that such a war world entail the use of nuclear weapons and the effect will wipe out the entire human race from the face of earth. The carnage in Japan will always be a lesson to the nations that carryout the nuclear exercise. However, the situation now has changed and many countries have side tracked from their stance on nuclear weapons. Terrorism which is a burning topic is one of the significant reasons for this change. The names Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda sends chill among the world nations. Even children are familiar with these names. Today’s world dread to imagine what will take place when terrorists get holds of nuclear weapons. These terrorists are located in the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan, and Pakistan did not sign the pact for nuclear nonproliferation. Earlier there were reports indicating that “the network run by the ‘father’ of Pakistan’s atomic bomb, A.Q.Khan sold nuclear- weapons materials to Iran and North Korea.” (Nuclear Proliferation and Terrorism, 297). Iran and North Korea are non-signatories to the pact of nuclear nonproliferation, which reveals that there may be a chance of terrorists getting nuclear weapons and they will ruin the entire world. So it is the duty of each person in the world to support nonproliferation of atomic weapons.

Some people oppose these facts, and they argue for atomic proliferation. According to them, the nuclear weapons increase the power of their nation. They feel that possession of nuclear weapons will preempt their countries from the chances of attack by other nations. A sovereign nation like North Korea is one among the nations that hold this view. Another non- signatory nation to the treaty is India. This country feels that all nations should discard their collection of weapons and then only peace will prevail.

History of nuclear proliferation

The world at the time of industrial evolution became really competitive and the top nations like Germany, UK, Japan, Italy, US, USSR etc competed with each other to get colonies, sell their industrial products and weapons. This competition had led to world wars. After the Second World War, leading nations like USSR, USA, UK, France etc combined their research to develop new weapons. Before the world war only USA had nuclear weapons, but after that USSR broke their monopoly and they also tested the nuclear bombs in 1949. However, even at that time also they tried for non proliferation of nuclear weapons. On most of the occasions, the governments of such nations keep nuclear deals as secrets. Until the Hiroshima explosion, the all research on nuclear development concealed. The first international proposal for the nonproliferation of weapons was the Baruch plan of 1946 and all government supported that and it helped in establishment of International Atomic Development Authority. The UN Security Council had got the veto power to take punitive measures on states that attempted to make nuclear weapons and other such materials. “Because of the cold war between the US and USSR it was not completely possible to bring about nonproliferation. The former US president Eisenhower proposed the “Atom for peace.” (Atoms for Peace).

This proposal led to the formation of IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency). The situation now is that the countries that conduct testing of nuclear weapons should face commercial embargo by UN. By ignoring the UN, the sovereign nations like North Korea tested nuclear weapons and missiles. They did not give any value to the rules of the UN. Israel and Iran also did the same. These nations continue doing this; the nuclear nonproliferation should consider the activities of terrorists also. The activities of Al Qaeda and terrorism are mentioned above. The main challenge faced by the world is nuclear terrorism. Nuclear non-proliferation is possible only through the co-operation of all nations in the world. The nations which did not sign the NPT are North Korea, Pakistan, India, and Iran. The case of North Korea has been mentioned above. The case of Pakistan has also been mentioned above. There may be a chance of getting the nuclear technology by terrorists from Pakistan. Intelligence agency of Pakistan ISI is notorious for terrorism. Now the new president of Pakistan Asif Ali Sardhari and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani are trying to wipe out terrorism from their home land and to restructure ISI. The stand of India in this case does not lead to world threat, because India has signed pact in IAEA and has got the right to use the nuclear energy for other purposes.

Assess nuclear proliferation in the bipolar context of the Cold War, the uni-polar context of the 1990’s and the burgeoning multi-polar world resulting from the rise of the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China).

The cold war is the war that was fought between United States and the Soviet Union just after the Second World War. The main reason for the cold war was misunderstanding of these countries. “The advent of nuclear weapons fundamentally altered both the nature of war and the relationship of the military with the rest of society.” (Nuclear destruction).

Both United States and Soviet Union became the super powers in the world. The war affected the people in many ways. The destruction caused by the war was alarming in the society. At the time of cold war, on military level Soviet Union created a treaty called Warsaw Treaty Organization (WTO). They made this treaty in response to the treaty made by the west, i.e. North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). This treaty made to strengthen the military forces (The Cold War).

These countries were using deadly nuclear weapons which were very harmful for the humans. These countries spent more and more money for collecting nuclear weapons. These countries wasted their lots and lots of resources in the name of war. But the military forces of Soviet Union lagged far behind the west in everything. “Some believe that with the advent of nuclear weapons, peace will be forever safeguarded, since their massive use would likely wipe out the human race and perhaps all life on Earth.” (Nuclear Destruction).

By 1990, the soviet alliance system collapsed. The problems in the country persisted and the party in the state surrendered. After the cold war, military forces in the state decreased. The country was badly affected by financial crisis. The main reason for this was its spending of lot money for acquiring nuclear weapons. In Russia the standard of living of the people worsened very badly. The post world war circumstances are widely considered as unipolar that the United States became supreme power. Military expenditure for the cold war was very huge. Many ordinary people and countless soldiers lost their lives in the cold war. Even though the cold war ended, the tensions in the third world remained severe.

BRIC means fast growing economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China. BRIC was introduced by Goldman Sachs in 2001. Goldman Sachs pointed out that by 2050 all the economies of the developing countries will come under the BRIC. The main aim of BRIC countries is to become a leading power in the association of trading. They want to bring all the countries under their roof. The leaders of the BRIC held their first summit in Yekaterinburg. In that summit they declared to be multipolar in the world. In the first summit the respective leaders from each country took part. If everything goes right the BRIC’s economic power will be much larger than G6 in US dollar terms. So the analyst shows that BRIC is going to be the super power in the world. Even though these are some of the facts about BRIC, there are some critics revolving around the BRIC. Some experts point out that if one country failed to do something then the concept of BRIC will be nothing. Some other experts mention that without China BRIC is nothing. The main reason to say this, is China’s economy is much larger than the combined economy of the other three countries. Also exporting rate of China is very huge compared to the other three countries.

Iran’s nuclear program means for the future of nuclear proliferation

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the president of Iran, is leader of conservative group of Iran. In his leadership, Iran is now testing nuclear weapons. Since 2003 Iran is indulging in nuclear research. Iran claims that its nuclear research is for generating electrical energy and it still stands by this claim. But other nations do not accept this claim because Iran uses that for weapons and other related materials. ElBaradei, who is the director general of IAEA, conducted a search in Iran, but Iran hid the explosive materials. It is a violation of nuclear nonproliferation treaty. Now Iran is an emerging power in the world. In the recession period, strike by UN did not affect Iran as expected by UN. The emerging economy of Iran is really a threat to the other nations. The Iran conservative party’s leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is an orthodox leader; there may be a chance of getting nuclear weapons by the terrorists. It will cause the destruction of entire humanity. The only one remedy for world peace is nuclear nonproliferation.


Here the aftereffect of the nuclear proliferation is discussed. Based on this discussion, it can be concluded that only the co-operation of all the nations can lead to complete nuclear nonproliferation.

Works Cited

  1. “Atoms for peace.” International Atomic Energy Agency. 2009.
  2. Nuclear destruction.” Encyclopedia of Death and Dying: Me-Nu. 2007. Web.
  3. Nuclear Destruction: Conclusion.” Encyclopedia of Death and Dying: Me-Nu.2007. Web.
  4. “Nuclear proliferation and terrorism.” The CQ Researcher CQ Press.Com. 14. 13: 297-320. 2004.
  5. The Cold War.” Nuclear Project of the nuclear Age Peace Foundation. 2009. Web.