Scientific knowledge and inventions must serve and promote humane and noble purposes, although, their application can sometimes lead to devastating consequences. Human beings have converted the vast potential of nuclear energy into mass destruction weapons. Being invented more than six decades ago, nuclear weapons have become an increasing source of violent deaths and injuries. Instead of preserving and promoting peaceful coexistence, nuclear weaponry contributes to increasing threats and aggression worldwide. Moreover, overwhelming losses and irrecoverable outcomes associated with nuclear weapons constitute a menace to the entire humanity. Thus, nuclear weapons are militarily unnecessary and useless; moreover, the development and implementation of nuclear weaponry must be abolished.

Since the time when the USA dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, both proliferation and abolition of nuclear weapons have been hotly debated involving military, scientific, political, social, and ethical issues.

Despite its destructive properties, the nuclear weaponry has ensured the international security since 1945. It provided a stabilizing impact on the relations between the USA and the Russian Federation (the USSR) and made any nuclear conflict unacceptable due to predicted heavy losses. Therefore, nuclear-armed states assert their entitlement to nuclear weapons in order to promote a multifaceted phenomenon of stability including first strike stability, crisis stability, arms race stability, and political stability (Cimbala 3).

The increasing significance of nuclear weapons as a political and military tool influences governments of countries worldwide, stipulating their aspiration to possess nuclear arsenals. Widespread opinions on potential political efficiency of nuclear weaponry to prevent possible aggression and attacks instead of counterpunch, support ideas of its significance and create preconditions for the diminution of non-proliferation. Deterrence-oriented political functions of nuclear weaponry are generally declared as the primary goals of nuclear-armed states. Thus, the main destination of nuclear weapons consists in control of armed external aggression. Control over military conflicts is the unique rational function of the nuclear arsenal. Moreover, serving the goals of deterrence, nuclear armories are justified as means to preserve military stability and prevent escalation of war conflicts and terrorism. However, while the concept of mutual deterrence is “based on assured retaliation”, this “regime of mutual assured destruction has not really been tested apart from in the nuclear bipolar conditions of the Cold War” (Cimbala 10). 

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Nuclear weapons – a guarantee from defeat in traditional military processes

Theoretical justification of this strategy was developed by NATO during the years of the Cold War. Besides, political leaders of some countries believe that the possession of nuclear weapons can provide their states with the status of a regional superpower, opportunities to pursue their own independent political policies and consequently, apply political and power pressure on weaker states, and possibilities of resistance to attacks of more powerful countries. Therefore, such unstable countries as Pakistan, Libya, Myanmar, Syria, Iraq, and North Korea are attempting to gain nuclear capabilities. In accordance with Koppe’s claims, “currently, only North Korea and Iran are suspected to pursue a nuclear capability” (Koppe 46).

A wide range of powers of nuclear weaponry, various ways of its delivery, destructive capabilities, and diverse methods of tactical employment provide flexibility and efficiency of its military implementation. Today, the United States of America, the Russian Federation, China, India, Pakistan, and France possess huge arsenals of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), therefore, including land ballistic missiles (intercontinental (ICBM), intermediate-range (IRBM), and short-range (SRBM)), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM), strategic and sub-strategic aircraft, submarine-launched cruise missiles (SLCM), air-launched cruise missiles (ALCM), and missile and air defense systems.

In conformity with numerical indicators of the world, nuclear arsenals (2009) are represented by Cimbala, China, France, India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the USA possess nuclear weapons. Although, the Russian Federation and the United States are identified as the countries possessing the largest nuclear resources in the world, the source provides mainly approximate numbers. Suspected total nuclear weapons of Russia comprise roughly 7,200 items while the US nuclear arsenal includes 5,736 suspected total nuclear weapons (Cimbala 51).

A comparative analysis of the data provided by Avakov also testifies to the predominance of nuclear weapons both operational and non-operational in the United States, Russia, India, and China. For instance, the nuclear arsenal of the Russian Federation is comprised of 1,605 intercontinental ballistic missiles (Satan, Stiletto, Sickle, Topol-M (SILO), Topol-M (MOBILE), Topol-M (RS-24)) (Avakov 107); 624 submarine-launched ballistic missiles (Stingray, Skiff, Sineva, and Bulava) (Avakov 111);  884 strategic and 648 sub-strategic aircraft (Avakov 113); 276 submarine-launched cruise missiles (Avakov 116); 733 missile and air defense systems (Avakov 117). Furthermore, the accurate amounts of Russian air-launched cruise missiles (ALCM) and short-range ballistic missiles are underestimated due to Russian policy of national security.

“States are not free to resort to nuclear weapons without incurring moral opprobrium or political costs. National leaders are forced to seek alternatives for use in war or defense or else risk being classified as outside the bounds of “civilized” international society” (Tannenwald 362). Since 1970, the spread and application of nuclear weapons have been regulated by the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). The NPT promotes concepts of nuclear non-proliferation, disarmament, and the right to use advances of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. While 190 countries joined the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, such nuclear-armed states as India, Israel, North Korea, and Pakistan are not committed to the determined principles of non-proliferation, disarmament, and elimination of nuclear arsenals.

Although, such nuclear-armed states as the USA, United Kingdom, and France have never declared the necessity of prohibition of nuclear weapons and complete elimination of their nuclear arsenals, considering the nuclear weaponry to be a guarantee of their national security, in accordance with political and social research studies. Today, nuclear conflicts are completely improbable, especially their escalation into the world nuclear warfare (Cimbala; Tannenwald). However, even the most insignificant nuclear conflicts should be prevented; as their repercussions would be extremely destructive. A set of various conditions can cause them such as technical failures in control systems, nuclear terrorism, proliferation of nuclear weaponry, and psychological instability and inadequacy of staff behavior in stressful situations. Therefore, the most minimum probabilities of such a succession of events should be excluded.

Consequences of nuclear weapon in World War II

Being revealed by documentaries and the mass media, devastating consequences of the US dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki are a peremptory warning against the nuclear warfare. Primary publications interpreted the bombings as Truman’s strategic decision to stop the war. However, those bombardments accelerated the surrender of Japan, prevented both the Allies and Japan from heavy losses, and thus, contributed to the termination of World War II, the use of the atomic bombs could not be justified as a militarily necessary step towards peace. The cataclysmic results of the droppings of “Little Boy” and “Fat Man” in August 1945 marked the beginning of the nuclear era.  The bombardment of Hiroshima caused deaths of approximately 70,000 people and injured the same number of the Japanese. Numerous administrative buildings, business offices, educational settings, houses, and hospitals were completely destroyed. Another 10,000-pound nuclear weapon nicknamed “Fat Man” killed roughly 40,000 and as a result, injured 60,000 people in Nagasaki. Due to the favorable position of the city, destructions and deaths were slightly less than those occurred in Hiroshima. Moreover, consequences of the bombardments were dramatically aggravated by unleashed radioactivity; thousands of the Japanese and their descendants also were gradually dying afterwards.

In spite of the fact that the effects of the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by atomic bombs undeniably reduced the war against Japan and resulted in the post-war superpowers embracing nuclear weaponry as the major strategy of deterrence and warfare, the bombardments can be evaluated as manifestations of unreasonable cruelty, barbarity, and genocide. According to Daley, “The number of human beings who perish from the radioactive fallout of nuclear detonations is comparable to the number of those who die during the immediate blast and consequent mass fires” (5). Moreover, today, according to statements provided by such political analysts as Gar Alperovitz, William Williams, Martin Sherwin, and some others, the droppings of atomic bombs were performed with the aim to intimidate the Soviet Union.

Since the bombardments of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, test nuclear explosions have become the major integral stage of the process of creation of nuclear weaponry. They are conducted to confirm its destructive specifications. The complexity of modern nuclear warheads’ design, multigradualness, a variety and speed of processes proceeding in them, and their mutual interactions do not allow scientists to utilize only computer and laboratory modeling in order to create nuclear weaponry. Test nuclear explosions are also required to research properties and safety of new nuclear ammunition in case of emergency. Consequences of test explosions induce long-term destruction of huge territories surrounding a place of test operations, significant contamination of the environment, and the demise of flora and fauna. “International human rights law includes a right to a healthy environment” (Koppe 352), which is violated by nuclear test explosions. Moreover, nuclear mismanagement, “an accidental nuclear launch or even an accidental nuclear war, from the potent nuclear arsenal of a state” can result in irremediable consequences (Daley 96). For that reason, test explosions must be abolished. In addition, bans and restrictions on test nuclear explosions can potentially result in termination of the development of new nuclear weapons.

Nuclear energy nowadays

Today, scientific sources publish results of research conducted on demographic, healthcare, social, political, moral, and security issues associated with nuclear weapons in order to prevent attacks and diminish their destructive effects. Publications analyze factors contributing to mortality, nonfatal injuries, and personal and environmental risks. Scientists are speculating on possible ways to harness nuclear energy; politicians and historians are discussing legitimacy and moral aspects of utilization of nuclear weapons while the moral priority of any war is based on the aspiration of governments to protect citizens of their countries involving both unarmed civilians and military men. Nevertheless, general and complete disarmament and abolition of nuclear weaponry are the only way to prevent new wars.  

In conclusion, relationships “based on cooperation, common security and partnership” promote mutual development, growth, and prosperity. The droppings of “Little Boy” and “Fat Man” in August 1945 should become unprecedented and unrepeated acts in the history of humanity. Utilization of nuclear weaponry does correspond to moral standards and humans’ goals; thus, nuclear weapons are unnecessary and useless. The Earth must become the entire nuclear-weapon-free-zone.

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