University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Nuclear Weapons Persuasive Essay
Should every country have the right to possess nuclear weapons?
On the 6th November 1945, a United States bomber flew towards the Japanese city of Hiroshima. The only cargo aboard that B-29 bomber was an atomic bomb – ironically nicknamed “Little Boy” – that was to be dropped on its target. At 8.15am and at a height of around 2,000ft the bomb exploded above Hiroshima, taking 140,000 lives with it. Most of the 140,000 died instantly, horrifyingly the rest of the innocent civilians that were not in direct contact with the bomb died painful deaths in the four months following. They died from radiation sickness and different types of cancers. Whilst the atomic bomb is considered as one of the greatest inventions of all time, in terms of how it could protect a nation, is it really worth having numerous amounts of governments on edge at the thought of a weapon so powerful? Ronald Reagan described nuclear weapons as: “Totally irrational, totally inhumane, good for nothing but killing, possibly leading to the destruction of life on Earth and civilisation.” He spoke nothing but the truth. US President Reagan was a nuclear abolitionist. He believed that the only reason to have nuclear weaponry was to prevent the Soviet Union from using theirs. Between them alone the United States and Russia have more than 90% of the world’s nuclear weapons. Why do these countries feel the need to posses so many nuclear warheads? Dominance, power and paranoia. Although some of their weapons may simply just be left over from the Cold War, this is not an excuse. They could have easily been destroyed by now. Countries like Russia and the United States crave power. In modern times the most important substance to guarantee power is weapons. Countries in possession of nuclear weapons use them to scare and intimidate other nations. One day this could backfire and the consequences would be deadly. Take North Korea and America. When Kim-Jong Un tried to invade South Korea, Barack Obama threatened them with an atomic bomb. As soon as that was done North Korea knew they had a major diplomatic issue and rescinded their threat. A major threat to world peace is the potential issue that certain smaller countries are likely to rebel against being manipulated and not having the ability to retaliate. To ensure that they avoid being bullied by bigger powers they may start to produce their own nuclear warheads. As previously stated, the reason two superpowers like Russia and the United States maintain a significant arsenal of nuclear weaponry is down to the fact that frankly, they are paranoid. If you can stockpile most of the nuclear warheads in the world then surely nobody could ever harm your country. This is certainly not the case. By having so many dangerous weapons you are not only a bigger threat to potential enemies but practically there is the additional threat that Terrorists could pose if they ever managed to secure or steal some of these weapons.
Morally we should also be questioning the validity of nuclear weapons, if the leaders of a country say that it is ok to use an extreme sanction like nuclear weapons to threaten enemies then what’s to say that civilians do not do the same thing on a smaller scale? In the beginning of the atomic age atom bombs were created to end the war and to save numerous lives. By this I mean that arguably, multitudinous lives were saved due to the fact that when the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima the Japanese virtually surrendered straight away. If they hadn’t surrendered the war possibly would have gone on for a lot longer. In contrast to this, look at what has become of nuclear weapons now. Instead of saving lives, atomic bombs are now kept with the intention of unnecessary mass murder. What makes the monsters that enforce the use of nuclear weaponry any different from Adolf Hitler, Pol Pot or Joseph Stalin? Even though the atomic bombs are not in use at this moment, anyone or any government in possession of these weapons have the intention to inflict large amounts of pain on vast number of people. Rajiv Gandhi said that the “nuclear war will not mean the death of one hundred million people. Or even a thousand million. It will mean the extinction of four thousand million: the end of life as we know it on planet earth.” The prospect of a nuclear war is just a horrendous thought, a thought that should never cross our minds. Recently, President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signed a treaty saying that both countries are willing to reduce their amount of nuclear weapons by one third. It is comforting to see that the US and Russia are starting to destroy their atomic bombs but it is not good enough. They need to stop reducing their arsenal of weapons and eliminate them completely. Opponents of this idea claim that owning arnaments like atomic bombs mutually assures governments that they both have the potential for ultimate destruction. But is that really a good or virtuous thing? People who appear to be psychopaths run a number of countries. For instance take the ruler of Zimbabwe: Robert Mugabe. He is at the potentially senile age of 89. His mind is failing. Can you begin to comprehend what would happen if he got his hands on an atomic bomb? The result would be anarchy. Or take the ruler of Syria, President Assad. He has already murdered masses of people by chemical gas attack and has publicly stated that he would destroy the state of Israel. For rulers like these men to possess weapons with such a huge destructive potential is a simply ludicrous thought. If some unhinged individual were to drop an atomic bomb now it would result in retaliation and possibly the biggest global catastrophe this planet has ever seen.
We need to think about the consequences. It is a statement of fact that the more of something being produced the easier it is to acquire. Yes, this can concern nuclear weapons also. When more nuclear warheads are being manufactured there is a bigger chance of them being stolen or worse being detonated. Therefore, there is a much larger risk of them falling into the wrong hands. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, there have been 18 cases of loss but most likely theft of uranium and plutonium. These elements are key when constructing a bomb. To make matters worse, there have been 11 whole nuclear bombs lost in the United States. They have never been recovered. If agencies and governments are finding it hard to keep track of their materials now, think of how impossible it would be if every country had their own arsenal of nuclear weapons? If these lost bombs are in the hands of terrorists at present I can guarantee that they will currently be considering how best to use them to maximise their effect.
To conclude, the fact is that if every country were to have the right to possess nuclear weapons we would all be living in constant fear of attack. Our lives would be very different; we would be insecure with regards to our safety and this would impact greatly on how we lived our lives – we would need to be significantly more vigilant. A small example of this is the potential effect that liquid explosives has on air travel where we can’t take any fluids that are more than 100ml into an airport. That is just for liquid explosives, what limits would be required to ensure nuclear components weren’t being smuggled? If one country were to drop a bomb it would set off a chain reaction, all it would take is for one rogue state or organisation to detonate a bomb and the world would effectively end through nuclear Armageddon.
http://www.abolishnukes.com/short_essays/ten_reasons_krieger.html http://www.debate.org/opinions/should-nuclear-weapons-be-abolished http://debatewise.org/debates/144-eliminate-all-nuclear-weapons/