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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STATE KEY FIGURES

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FOR EACH STATE MENTIONED, THE DIAGRAM SHOWS THE ESTIMATED NUMBER OF; NUCLEAR WEAPONS HELD, AMOUNT OF CONDUCTED TESTS, STOCKPILES, AND STATUS OF NUCLEAR PRODUCTION/POSSESSION

NUCLEAR WEAPON STATES: USA, UK, FRANCE, RUSSIA, CHINA

NON-NPT STATES: INDIA, ISRAEL, PAKISTAN

STATES OF CONCERN: IRAN, NORTH KOREA, SYRIA

Arms Control Association ‘Assessing Progress on Nuclear Nonproliferation and disarmament’ (2016) Accessed: 9th December, 2016. Available at: https://www.armscontrol.org/files/2016_ReportCard_reduced.pdf

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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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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When did the history of the Atom bomb begin?

The beginning of the history of the atom bomb is usually associated with the successful test of the American atom bomb in June 1945. However, the history of the atom bomb begins earlier in time than this date if we consider the Science behind the bomb, which I consider as the starting point of the atom bomb.

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