A Word Without Nuclear Weapons is Unsafe

It’s true that Nuclear weapons are terrible devices that can cause unimaginable amounts of suffering and destruction but would the world be safer if we lived without them ? Although they are dangerous, we have to take into account of how Nuclear weapons does away with the prospects of full scale wars. An example of this is that if we didn’t have them in the 1950s or 60s, the U.S. and Soviet Union would have went to war with each other just as how rival powers usually do. Instead, the presence of Nuclear weapons have made the cost of war all to high.  According to Dylan Matthews of Vox articles, “India and Pakistan used to fight brutal wars with some regularities, the pace and scale of conflicts declined significantly after Pakistan acquired nuclear weapons, giving itself a deterrent against an already nuclearized India”. After getting their hands on nukes, India and Pakistan’s behavior mellowed down a bit. This further proves that there has never been a nuclear attack between two states that possess them. “Because the threat of nuclear exchange raises the cost of conflict, scholars have argued that nuclear weapons deter international war and may have contributed to an unprecedented period of great power strategic stability”, states Kroenig of the article Nuclear Superiority and The Balance of Resolve; Explaining Nuclear Crisis Outcomes. 

Nuclear weapons deter aggression by preventing adversaries from taking action that initiate retaliation. According to Sechser of the article, Crisis Bargaining and Nuclear Blackmail, “the possession of nuclear weapons is not likely to bolster the effectiveness of a challenger’s compellent threats”. Nuclear weapons have limitations as tools in compellence. First is that it would be difficult to seize land and other objects with nuclear weapons. Second, launching a nuclear attack would Provoke sanctions, encourage nuclear proliferation, and provoke other states to align against you. Just as we have discussed in class, if war is a means to an end then it is always inefficient and costly. Nuclear arms reminds us of how the cost of war can outweigh the benefits and therefore helps to lessen conflict.

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7 thoughts on “A Word Without Nuclear Weapons is Unsafe

  1. I agree with the fact that nuclear weapons when secured by the right system can lead to a safer world. However, if these weapons were to get into the wrong hands of a terrorist group it would lead to chaos and destruction. There are other ways to deter a nation besides these weapons and the risks are far greater than the benefits.

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  2. The doctrine of mutually assured destruction has been successful in hindering nuclear attacks between world superpowers. The doctrine is basically the idea that if one power releases a nuclear weapon on another power, the power would counterattack and both powers would be dead, so essentially states see releasing a nuclear weapon as a suicide mission- hardly worth the time

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  3. I agree with the fact that nuclear weapons only go so far to deter a country to not do something because of the consequences that it could face. Nuclear weapons have the power to stop countries from doing certain things just because of the mutually assured destruction theory. This is one of the ways that countries think about not bombing each other so they will still exist.

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  4. The presence of nuclear weapons and their impact on global safety is complicated even when just looking at the deterrence argument. I think the best argument in this case is the realist argument that every country is out to benefit themselves. In that sense then, if any nation was to drop a nuclear weapon on another, they would lose far more than they would gain, especially when dealing with the global backlash that would follow. The problem then is that if you start a war with someone who has nuclear weapons then there is always that chance that they will use them and decimate your country. At that point the opportunity costs of even just going to war are reduced dramatically.

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  5. With Nuclear weapons it does help deter war. That is one of the main advantages to nuclear weapons. I also think that if they desperately needed to be used they would. Luckily they have only been used once, and hopefully they wont need to be used anytime soon. Yes the question of what happens if they get in the wrong hands will be asked, but who are the right people to have them? The United States had them and used them, we are the only ones that have used in history on another country. Not saying that it was the wrong move on our part to do so, but I feel like the question doesn’t hold much in this argument. I think that if anyone were to have nuclear weapons then they would need to be regulated and laws would need to be put in place if they were going to be used, how many a country can be in control of, and making sure that all other countries especially in surrounding areas know that they have them.

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  6. Good post! I agree with the other commenters that the possession of nuclear weapons deters other form using them, however this extension only goes so far. The mere possession of nukes does not entitle a nation to use them as deterrence, some nations are more rouge then others, so nations need to be weary of other counties activities,

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  7. Without the looming threat of a possible (albeit unlikely) nuclear attack warfare would most certainly be much different. no one could possibly determine what would be different about war, but the devil you know is better than the one you don’t.

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