Could denuclearization actually make the world a safer place?
Throughout history, conventional weapons have never been enough to deter wars. Victory always stood by the side of the one whose weapons were unique and advanced as compared to the enemy. This led to large scale innovation and production of weapons technologies. One such being the nuclear revolution of the mid 20th century — the large-scale use of nuclear technologies in the military. This resulted in a paradigm shift in power and status. Wars were won even before they were fought. Casualties could be reduced drastically, implying greater safety for on-ground personnel. Nuclear armament would finally result in fewer wars.
The flip side to this rosy story, however, is that the nuclear revolution resulted in greater economic costs, terror threats, and ethical concerns. The use of nuclear technology in the military has threatened the world of many mass extinctions, raising questions of serious implication- Should denuclearization be the way forward?
On the 6th of August, 1945, the United States of America dropped ‘the little boy’ over the city of Hiroshima, Japan. Exploding with more than 12.9 kilotons of force, it leveled the entire city, killing over 80,000 people instantly. When the Japanese did not surrender, the U.S. dropped the ‘the fat man’, killing an estimated 40,000 people on impact. The dropping of the atom bomb was a trigger, that pulled hard against the human race. It began the cold war arms race. WWII cost the U.S. $ 4 trillion, making it the most expensive war in history. It took nearly four and a half decades for the world to realize the damage that was caused. Finally resulting in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), as most of the world’s superpowers were on the brink of yet another war, but only this time it meant extinction. But, does it necessarily mean that nuclear disarmament would ensure world peace?
The answer — Yes. Experts say that the two most major threats facing mankind today are Climate Change and Nuclear Weapons. The destruction of a country, nay, the world, is now just one push of a button away from the hands of an impulsive and capricious supremo. Apart from the fact that the system of nuclear warfare is indeed fragile, the mere possession of nuclear weapons can increase overheads and maintenance costs exponentially. Countries would need to incur extra costs to maintain high security, else it comes to the hands of the enemy or a terrorist organization. For example: On average, the U.S. spends $ 98 billion on nuclear weapons. Could this money be spent more effectively? Could this money be spent on issues that matter? Does nuclear safety imply the safety of citizens?
Yes, denuclearization is a way forward, may not be the only way. It is a necessary evil (at least seemingly so) that would mankind’s future can be cleaner and greener, rather than black and red. But are nuclear weapons indeed required as deterrents against more advanced and sophisticated, chemical and biological warfare, and terrorist attacks? We never know…