Who can or cannot own a nuclear warhead?

Under the Treaty on the Non – Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons nine member states are known to possess an inventory of warheads. Five of the nine states are bound to the treaty (North Korea estranged itself in 2003 and India, Pakistan and Israel are considered “Non-Signatory”) These states are as follows; the USA, the Russian Federation, United Kingdom, China, France, Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea.

Ever since 1968, when the treaty was brought to international attention it has been open to signatures, with 1970 marking the year a signature was considered mandatory.

The argument revolving around whether or not nations with little international influence should be granted possession has frequently been up for debate, what gives big players such as the USA and Russia the right to dictate whether or not a country with little to no influence on a worldwide scale should possess a warhead or not?

The perfect example here is the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK)…  It’s somewhat hostile attitude to western culture has long been associated with a level of unpredictability. Over the last thirteen years a number of shallow threats, directed predominantly at the USA have been a cause for concern, although only being able to boast a meagre eight warheads, these weapons of mass destruction are still capable of wreaking significant havoc, within reach of the US west coast. Although the DPRK itself is reasonably easy to control, it is plain to see, if a number of countries with a similar level of unpredictability happened to develop even just a small number of warheads, the threat of large scale nuclear war would likely increase.

“War itself has entered a crisis because technoscience has made war so horrific that it is a threat to human survival itself and therefor is profoundly nonsensical” Therefore, it seems the firm influence held by the NPT and the nuclear weapon states is necessary as it theoretically promotes peace on a global scale. Although this can easily be interpreted as hypocritical as the nuclear weapon states own over 20,000 nuclear warheads between them, their end goal, stated in the Nuclear Non – Proliferation treaty is to have eradicated all nuclear weapons from their arsenals. However, in recent years’ nuclear disarmament seems to have taken a back seat. This hasn’t gone unnoticed as pressure groups throughout the world such as the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) in the UK, SANE, the Nuclear Freeze in the USA and the worldwide Physicians for Social Responsibility have all voiced their concerns.

Dan Vye


Gray, Chris Hables. “‘There Will Be War!”: Future War Fantasies and Militaristic Science Fiction in the 1980s.” Science Fiction Studies, vol. 21, no. 3, 1994, pp. 315–336. http://www.jstor.org/stable/4240369.




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