South Africa and the NPT

South Africa’s nuclear capabilities are ambiguous, both in terms of its reasons for developing the bomb and the secrecy surrounding the development. It has been suggested that South Africa’s development of the bomb was linked entirely to national ambition. It is perhaps plausible that South Africa developed the bomb simply to be as technologically advanced as possible, in order to equal great international superpowers, like the US and Russia. This mentality was enhanced by South Africa’s isolation in the 1970s and 80s, due to its domestic turmoil caused by the apartheid movement, making South African government more determined to prove themselves on an international scale.

Another perhaps more pragmatic reason for South Africa’s nuclear development was the political and military advantage of having nuclear weapons. The bomb for South Africa meant security; having a nuclear arsenal that could be revealed at the last minute would ensure foreign intervention, not necessarily support, if there was ever to be a Soviet attack on South Africa, given its anti-communist stance. This interpretation would explain the covert nature of South Africa’s nuclear weapons program as these plans would require secrecy in order to be successful. Continue reading “South Africa and the NPT”

Horizontal vs. Vertical proliferation.

Horizontal proliferation.

Horizontal proliferation is the spread of nuclear weapons to new countries by banning the trade of nuclear arms and to stop any capability of producing nuclear weapons. From the first successful nuclear detonation in New Mexico in 1945 the spread of nuclear weapons has posed a serious threat that America sought to stop to best of their ability, with refusing to share this new technology in contrary to their previous agreement even with their close allies in Great Britain as they felt it was too much power. However, it can be seen earlier on that although they did not share this new technology it wasn’t till the 1960’s that they began to start to realise that they needed to come to an agreement with the rest of the world on how to stop proliferation. This came with the form of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty of 1968 banning the trading of nuclear weapons with states that did not have them, and to focus efforts towards finding sustainable energy resources rather than weapons. With all the countries in the world that had nuclear weapons at the time the signing the agreement it seemed like a success. Continue reading “Horizontal vs. Vertical proliferation.”

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.

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Humantiarian issues surrounding Nuclear Weapons

 

“One nuclear weapon exploded in one city – be it New York or Moscow, Islamabad or Mumbai, Tokyo or Tel Aviv, Paris or Prague- could kill hundreds of thousands of people. And no matter where it happens, there is no end to what the consequences might be- for our global safety, our security, our society, our economy, to our ultimate survival.” – President Barack Obama

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THE ‘ISLAMIC BOMB’

pic-steven-wiesmann
Steve Weissman&Herbert Krosney ‘The Islamic Bomb’ Published, 1981

The ‘Islamic bomb’ was introduced in the 1970’s and is perceived to be the desire for Pan-Islamic nuclear capability amongst Muslim countries. It is understood to be through the notions of religious ties, that the ‘Islamic bomb’ would be acquired.

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (Pakistani prime minister 1971-77) once said, ‘There was a Christian bomb, a Jewish bomb, and now a Hindu bomb. Why not an Islamic bomb?’ A statement as such certainly would raise concern particularly in Washington- Was Samuel Huntington correct in arguing that the fundamental problem for the West was Islam?  

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Israel, Pakistan, and the threat of Nuclear proliferation.

The treaty on the Non-Proliferation of nuclear weapons (NPT) set out to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology as well as promote peaceful uses of nuclear energy. There are a handful of nations uninvolved in the treaty that have, or at least thought to have, developed nuclear weapons, these countries will be my focus, looking particularly at Israel and Pakistan and the controversy that surrounds their nuclear weapons programmes. The NPT came into force in 1970 with 190 parties having signed it, five of these were nuclear weapon states.

Continue reading “Israel, Pakistan, and the threat of Nuclear proliferation.”

Impact of Nuclear Weapons Possession on International Relations?

 

The emergence of nuclear weapons has been a source of big impact on the international power structure. As Michael Horowitz states “for reasons related to their magnitude relative to conventional weapons, nuclear weapons have changed the character of warfare”. Initially the United States monopoly over the atomic weapons definitely made it the most powerful nation in the world.

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Great Britain, her nuclear weapons & the USA

The first sign of Great Britain producing a weapon of mass destruction surfaced in the 1940s, however it was not until October 1952 when an independent nuclear weapon, appropriately named ‘Hurricane’, was publicly tested. Since then, Britain has collected a stockpile of over 220 warheads but only a British nuclear service named the ‘Trident Nuclear Programme’, has control over them. They have recently announced plans to lower this number due to the strong stance held by Britain on nuclear non-proliferation outside of nuclear states.

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