Future of Global denuclearization: Interview with Dr Andrew Futter

Academics, and students alike are all seeking to understand the route that nuclear development will undertake in the future- ‘Will proliferation accelerate? Who wants the bomb and why? How can the nuclear weapon states and non-nuclear weapon states prevent proliferation? Is the spread of nuclear weapons throughout the world inevitable?’

It is simply a case of uncertainty; ‘the future of nuclear proliferation is a political rather than strictly a technical question’– and I think it is safe to say that nothing is for certain when it concerns politics.    A leading academic who specialises in the field of nuclear proliferation has kindly given his insight regarding the future of nuclear non-proliferation.

Dr Andrew Futter is a senior lecturer in International Politics at the University of Leicester. His research is focused primarily with contemporary nuclear weapons issues and how emerging technologies impact nuclear strategy, stability and arms control. He has published widely on nuclear issues, including his books; ‘The Politics of Nuclear Weapons’ and ‘Ballistic Missile Defence and US National Security: Normalisation and Acceptance after the Cold War’, as well as a range of journal articles such as ‘Iranian nuclear aspirations and strategic balancing in the Middle East’.

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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’

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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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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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Nukes on the loose

Contemporary issues about nuclear non-proliferation are somewhat limited in scope to the average person. At this point, I think that it needs to be recognised that there is a significant difference between disarmament and non-proliferation.  Most people would argue either in favour of nuclear weapons or against. However, the depth to this debate has not largely extended in ordinary conversation and it is important to consider that nuclear devices are weapons, but also used as political aids. ‘Loose nukes’ is a term used to describe poorly guarded weapons and material, particularly in Russia, that may fall into the wrong hands. This article will discuss matters of loose nukes and their effect on non-proliferation.

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