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I am sitting a peace and conflict studies exam soon, and the NPT is going to be a big topic. I thought it might be useful to get some different opinions on the whole situation. Should Iran be allowed to continue its uranium enrichement schemes? Can Israel legitamately claim that it needs nukes to defend itself? How should the UN deal with rogue states? If the NPT could be changed, how would you change it to deal with the new world conflicts arising today?
Some comments would be very useful. I'll give my opinion after i've had some replies. Cheers guys !
I think they have the right to develop and create a nuclear arsenel, but would have to be closely monitored. I think it would also be an idea to introduce a limit to the number they can have.
I think "defending" themselves is not a legitimate excuse for having nuclear arms, but the fact is they want them for a reason - and I doubt they would use it as an offensive means, unless they want to be the first country to have their ground turned to glass. If Iran were to produce nuclear bombs for an entire year, the allies of the west would still have more hydrogen bombs - and much more advanced defense systems. The chance of a country like Iran causing a Nuclear Apocolypse when America is looking over their shoulder is tiny. They have ICBM's that can be intercepted relatively easily in this day and age.
The problem would be if Iran could develop the same kind of technologically advanced nuclear guidance systems as the US.
They're sovereign states, they should be able to do what they want with their coffers. If the USA and UK can ignore the U.N at will, why not everyone else?
It's a difficult situation when you consider the US and the UK have effectivly lost the moral high ground over Iraq.
That said I don't feel comfortable with the present Iranian government who have expressed there desire to destroy Israel more than once. Indeed students at Irans university regularly call for an attack on Israel. The last thing the world needs I yet another destabilising and belligerent faction in the middle east (the US is doing fine as it is).
But at the end of the day what can the West do? Sanctions won't work in this case (any sanctions would no doubt be borne by the common people in Iran) and I am not sure that the US has the resources to conduct a military campaign even if it was politically viable which it isn't.
I must say, I always found the idea of a group of world powers which have developed and stockpiled massive stores of nuclear weapons over the years deciding to limit other countries from acquiring them quite interesting, though it makes perfect sense in terms of international politics, of course.
However, I'm not wholey unsympathatic to the idea of nuclear regulation because, to be honest, I don't want to be vapourised, flashburned or poisoned by radiation. Nuclear weapons exist, that's an unfortunate fact of life. Since we can't go back and reseal Pandora's box, we might as well try and monopolise the nuclear weapons so as to limit the posibility of confrontation. It's unfair and hypocritical, but it's a neccesary degree of self interest.
Right now, I don't think it's the states which are the danger. Iranian government ministers do not strike me as likely to give up their prestigious and fairly comfortable lives in favour of hiding in the middle of nowhere, wrapping themselves in aluminium foil and hoping for the best. The real danger occurs when nuclear weapons or materials come into the possession of civilians or terrorists who won't neccesarily suffer so severely from using them. If a country fires its nuclear arsenal, it's pretty damn obvious, and there are likely to be repurcussions. If a small terrorist cell detonates a bomb, you can't just nuke any city they might be hiding in and hope you got 'em.
On a side note, apparently the 'star wars' missile defence idea with lasers is now quite close to being possible, due to recent advances in laser miniaturization. :tongue:
Last edited by The_Giant_Mantis; April 25th, 2006 at 01:17.
Nukes are not a weapon of defence. They are purely an offensive tool. Any kind of increase in the numbers of world wide nuclear weapons is a bad thing. Surely if Iran was really that desperate for a "defensive" nuke, someone would sell one to them, somwhere like one of the Former Russian states, they're always wanting money aren't they?
Nuclear power is fine IMO but that's as far as it should go. For every country, including the United States of Arrogance. Dismantle the freaking weapons.
Mysterious Member of the ANZAC Clan
My first response would be they have to pretty good detterents seeing as the there hasn't been a major War in Europe in over 50 years. That said no deeterent has worked indefinitly so prehaps the USA should meet Iran halfway and lose some of their nukes.
I'm not a big fan of Iran with nukes... or anyone with nukes.
But if the US, Uk, Isreal, France, China, Russia, and to a certain extent Indian and Pakistan, it is rather odd (and kind of hypocritcal) to limit who has nukes. After all it is the free world.
But generally I'm agianst nuclear weapons. Regardless of who has them.
Well, I don't think that anyone should have nuclear weapons. They only work when no one else has them. Hiroshima ended the war in the east blrutally but quickly, had Japan also had nukes, it may not have been so clean.
Realistically, nuclear weapons should be monopolised by the Nuclear states, and a select number new nuclear of states ratified by the Security council. We can't make them give up their arms! That said, if the UN punished Iran, they would equally be obliged to punish the coalition over Iraq. This would be near impossible, but would in theory reduce the feeling of bias in the UN.
Yoss has pretty much hit the nail on the head. We have them, so to turn around and try to tell other countries that they're not allowed them is pretty much saying "We're the big boys and we want it to stay that way". Personally, considering the wonderful state that the world is in, I don't see why we should be. Besides which these nations are sovereign states (regardless of your views on Israel ), and as far as I'm aware the Non-Proliferation Treaty is a United Nations thing; the American and British governments shouldn't be allowed to ignore the UN when it suits them if they later want to turn around and try to impose it's strictures on other people.
At the same time, a nuclear weapon of any description is a horrific device which, if certain 80's experts are to be believed, has the potential to tear the planet asunder Dark Angels-style. Even if that's not strictly true their destructive power is not in doubt; this is a weapon, a single bomb capable of killing hundreds of thousands of people, razing cities to the ground and making the area sick with radiation. Why ANYONE should be allowed such a weapon is beyond me; although the fact is that the knowledge is there, and it's not going to go away no matter what.