Archive for Soviet Union

Is A New Nuclear Arms Race Likely?

Posted in Al Quada, America, Britain, Europe, Iran, Israel, Nuclear Proliferation, UK, USA with tags , , , on 22/04/2012 by floroy1942

I fear the answer to this question is irrevocably: Yes! With India’s testing last week of a missile capable of reaching China, and North Korea’s abortive attempt, the possibility of such a thing is increasing. Despite its pleas to the contrary, Iran’s attempts at developing nuclear weapons could lead to other Middle East nations feeling the need to also possess such weapons. So all the cards are falling into place.

We now have a total of eight nations with nuclear capability, plus Israel that is considered by most experts to have such weapons. Only five of these nations have either signed or ratified the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) while three have not, with Israel remaining “Undeclared”.

Country Warheads active/total Year of first test CTBT status
The five nuclear-weapon states under the NPT
United States 1,950 / 8,500 1945 (“Trinity”) Signatory
Russia (former Soviet Union) 2,430 / 10,000 1949 (“RDS-1”) Ratifier
United Kingdom 160 / 225 1952 (“Hurricane”) Ratifier
France 290 / 300 1960 (“Gerboise Blue”) Ratifier
China 180 / 240 1964 (“596”) Signatory
Non-NPT nuclear powers
India n.a. / 80–100 1974 (“Smiling Buddha”) Non-signatory
Pakistan n.a. / 90–110 1998 (“Chaqai-1”) Non-signatory
North Korea n.a. / <10 2006 (2006 Test) Non-signatory
Undeclared nuclear powers
Israel n.a. / 80–200 possibly 1979 (See Vela Incident) Signatory

There can be little doubt about Iran’s ambition to join this exclusive club, but if it does, it’s doubtful it would be willing to sign up to the NPT, but would join India, Pakistan and North Korea as non-signatories. Even Burma, which is ruled by the military, has been rumoured ever since 2002 of wishing to develop a nuclear capability and is said to have obtained help from North Korea. According to defectors, bunkers are being built with the help of the North Koreans. The military junta wishes to cement its hold on power in the country with the nuclear threat.

India's Recent Missile Test

Most of the non-signatory nations have natural enemies, India versus Pakistan, North Korea versus South Korea and eventually we could see Iran versus Israel, any of which could become a flashpoint. That ‘rogue’ states like North Korea and Iran would not hesitate to use these weapons at the slightest provocation is without doubt a disturbing factor.

As you would expect, the major nations balance their possession of these weapons with caution and use them as a deterrent only, but fanatics do not care if their country is devastated in pursuance of their ideals. This is certainly a dangerous precedent and adds a precarious element to the nuclear equation.

Nuclear proliferation is most at risk in the Middle East, for if Iran does develop these weapons, it is fairly certain countries like Saudi Arabia, and possibly Jordan, Syria and others will find it necessary to have their own as  deterrent against Iranian aggression. Iran, as the only nuclear power in the region will certainly be ‘top dog’, and in true human fashion will begin to flex its muscles in an effort to dominate other nations.

North Korea's Missile Did Not Get Very Far

North Korea will need little provocation from either the South or the United States to begin lobbing weapons into South Korea. Border clashes between the two are in fact a regular occurrence. It would not take much for it to escalate into war, in which case, with everything to lose the communist hierarchy in Pyong Yang would not hesitate to fire off nuclear missiles at the South, and if possible the USA, although the latter is doubtful at their current stage of missile development.

The world has become a less dangerous place since the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the ‘Cold War’, but sad to say, we may possibly be heading for another arms race in other parts of the world. India and Pakistan seem to have stockpiled enough, and appear content with the status quo even with the Kashmir problem between them unsolved, but North Korea is only just beginning to start the process. In five years time, when perhaps Iran also has nuclear weapons, she too will begin stockpiling and build up an arsenal of weapons and missiles.

 

They Must Think We Are Naive

Another dark side to nuclear weapons proliferation is terrorism. With countries like North Korea and Iran developing nuclear bombs, it makes it easier for terror organizations to get their hands on them. A nation like Iran may well secretly provide groups like al Quada with small nuclear devices, if the target is either Israel or America, in a covert operation to get at their sworn enemies while appearing innocent. Nuclear bombs that fit into a small suitcase were developed in Russia many decades ago, and even such a small device would create havoc in say, Tel Aviv or New York.  

In my opinion, the greatest danger from Iran and North Korea obtaining nuclear capability may well be the terrorism factor. There are a significant number of nations in the world, in particular the arab world, who would love to see a nuclear device exploded in New York, Washington, London, Paris or Berlin which would make 9/11 seem like child’s play by comparison.  There can be no doubt that such an act would throw the world into turmoil, the likes of which has never before been seen in our history.

"Sleep, Perchance to Dream....."

One can only hope that the hotheads in these countries never get to be in the majority, and that all nations of the world  come together and do what needs to be done to remove these threats as soon as possible. In the meantime, rest easy in your bed tonight for it is not likely to happen for some yet!

Roy. 

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