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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 4/4/10

Nuclear-free World

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President Obama has stated - time and time again - his desire for a nuclear-free world. This is indeed a noble goal. And it should be supported by all people around the world. There are 8 declared nuclear powers in the world (i.e. the United States, Russia, United Kingdom, France, China, India, Pakistan, North Korea), and one undeclared nuclear power (i.e. Israel). All of these countries should take the necessary steps to reduce their nuclear arsenals with the ultimate goal of eliminating all nukes worldwide.

Unfortunately, some people still tout the benefits of nuclear weapons. Pundits like William Kristol and Fareed Zakaria (among others) believe that nuclear weapons are good because they produce deterrence, and thus, prevent wars. This is true. The Cold War never turned into a 'Hot War' because both sides were deterred by the other's nuclear arsenal. There has never been another World War since World War II because of the existence of nuclear weapons. The Second World War was the bloodiest war in human history. Millions of lives were lost, and trillions of dollars were spent.

There has been more peace in the world since 1945 than at any other time in history. However, this is not a legitimate argument in favour of nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons produce fear and mistrust between countries. How can anyone around the world feel secure knowing that there are weapons that could wipe out life on this planet?

The Iranians cannot feel secure knowing that they could be wiped off the face of the Earth by Israeli nukes or American nukes. The Israelis cannot feel secure knowing that they could be wiped off the face of the Earth by Iranian nukes. The North Koreans cannot feel secure knowing that they could be wiped out by American nukes. The Japanese cannot feel secure knowing that they could be nuked by North Korea. The Americans do not feel secure knowing that Iran may be secretly developing nuclear weapons or that loose nukes in territories once controlled by the former Soviet Union could end up in the hands of terrorists.

The only solution to all this fear and mistrust is not for everyone to arm themselves with nuclear weapons but to work towards a nuclear-free world. The counter-argument to people like Kristol and Zakaria is that when only a few countries have nuclear weapons, then other countries might try to obtain them as well. The US got them, and then the Russians and the Chinese worked to develop them. The Chinese got them, and then the Indians worked to develop them. The Indians got them, and then the Pakistanis worked to develop them. Israel got them, and then Iran is suspected of working to develop them. If Iran gets them, then the Arab states may work to develop them.

If every country in the world develops a nuclear arsenal, this will not create a more secure world. This will not create a more peaceful world. As more countries seek to join the nuclear club, the fear and mistrust between countries will grow. And it could one day lead to a Third World War... which could quite conceivably be a nuclear 'hot war.' The solution is not just to reduce the number of nuclear weapons in the world, but to get rid of them completely. The solution is not just for US and Russia to get rid of their nuclear arsenals, but for all the other nuclear powers to get rid of them as well.
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I am a student of Human Resources currently living in Toronto, Canada.
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