Posted by: bklunk | May 23, 2007

Trouble Ahead, Trouble Behind, And You Know That Notion Just Crossed My Mind

Some realists claim that a world where all states had nuclear weapons would be more stable.  Other observers worry that someone somewhere will again use nuclear weapons with horrendous consequences.  If Iran goes nuclear, the international nonproliferation institutions may become completely irrelevant.

US warns Iran as armada enters Gulf | The World | The Australian

THE US today threatened new UN sanctions to punish Iran’s nuclear drive as it ratcheted up tensions with the biggest display of naval power in the Gulf in years.

A bristling US armada led by two aircraft carriers steamed into waters near Iran for exercises, hours before UN watchdogs said Iran was expanding its uranium enrichment program in defiance of international sanctions.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said that Iran continues to enrich uranium – which can provide fuel for civilian reactors but also make nuclear bombs.

That prompted warnings from US officials of further UN punishment unless Iran curtails its nuclear development – which the Islamic republic insists is devoted to civilian energy.

“Iran is once again thumbing its nose at the international community,” US Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns said, as US and Iranian envoys prepared for historic talks on Iraqi security in Baghdad next Monday.

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  1. The consensus feel about nuclear weapons today is that no one will use them due to the fact that everyone has them. In the comedic internet video “The End of the World”, they make this point by showing what happens if one nation shoots off a nuke. The end result being absolute nuclear winter because everybody now has to shoot nukes to protect themselves. My ultimate point is this, while some people do think nuclear weapons will be used, I believe that nukes have become a symbol of power in the world. They are not really for using, but the fact that you have the power and money to have them makes you a nation to be reckoned with. So with Iran wanting to get a nuke, I believe most of it is due to their own want to show the world and themselves how powerful they really are.

  2. I think that Iran is showing a good example of the realist school of thought here. In looking out for its own self-interest, Iran is providing for its own security, by attempting to gian more power through nuclear weapons. This gain would give Iran more equal footing with nuclear powers around the world. I also think that the U.N. is following a more liberalist path here, by expecting that even though Iran may be allowed to enrich uranium, they won’t use it in for nuclear weapons. For whatever reason, they have more optimistic and have more faith in Iranian cooperationg that the United States does. n this siruation, only time will tell which path was the smarter choice!

  3. I can see the realists point. We have come to a point where if any state were to use nuclear power there would be Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD). The ironic part is that this has formed a type of “Nuclear Institution”-every one understands that no one will use them, because the risk is too high. But this seems to be a very unstable point to be at. It would only require one state to use the nuclear option and a massive cascading effect would occur- undoubtedly a huge war. Though nuclear weapons wouldn’t necessarily be used in a conflict triggered by a nuclear attack, with such a high risk in using them it would probably be a massive conventional war, with the same goal in mind- to completely destroy the country responsible.

    I think the most dangerous countries are the ones with only a limited number of nuclear bombs, since their targets would probably be countries with similar capabilities. It is the states that can go to war with out the risk of complete annihilation by the country that they would go to war with that would be most likely to do it, though the response from the world community would have to be quick and devastating.

    Or, worst case, it is the counties that have nothing but nuclear bombs, who have little to lose, that pose a tremendous threat to our security- that is why North Korea is such a looming threat.

  4. The US ans Iran are both exercising a realist point of view. Iran is trying to be more powerful by creating nuclear weapons, while the US is showing its power by sending a huge fleet to Iran. This situation also sheds on the failures of the liberal theory. The UN failed to get Iran to follow its sanctions and now the US is taking things into their own hands.

  5. World where all the countries have nuclear weapons could be stable, but it is not practical. Smaller countries would have disadvantage over big countries since they will not be able to have same amount of nuclear weapons. The idealistic scenario for me is no nuclear weapons in the world.
    Iran being attacked by Iraq during 80’s had need to develop nuclear weapons to increase state’s stability by realist idea, and today they are still in process of developing it.
    U.S also being concerned for state’s security by some threats if Iran’s president have sent some carriers to show their power.
    U.S- Iran relations are at this moment failing from liberal perspective, since U.N have been completely neglected.

  6. Phil, how about posting a link to the video you mention?

    Maybe I have watched too many episodes of “24,” but I view an all-nuclear world with a great sense of dis-ease. In a world where the authorities can’t keep a man with tuberculosis off a plane, how many states would be able to keep adequate control over their nukes?

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