Debates on the future role of nuclear weapons
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Nuclear weapons are the most destructive power of the world, because of their inherited and unique potential capability to destroy the humanity in a matter of minutes. While some experts have perceived them as the main mechanisms of the international stability, peace and security, others have recognized them as the most formidable threat to the humanity. Meanwhile, on part of the US, they had been, throughout the Cold War, the main equalizer against conventional superiority of the Soviet Block and the main instrument of deterring a Soviet nuclear or conventional attack against the US and its allies. Hence, nuclear deterrence became the dominant concept of the Cold War to escape their actual use. However, the nuclear question of “how much is enough to deter enemy,” induced the Soviets and Americans to have huge nuclear arsenals, bigger than the nuclear stockpiles of each other. With the collapse of Soviet Union, this strategic system has transformed. The threat of nuclear war between two superpowers disappeared but new nuclear dangers began to surface within the unpredictable framework of the post-Cold War period. Moreover, the rational behind possessing huge nuclear stockpiles vanished. Because of these imperatives of the post-Cold War era, a number of people including military and civilian leaders, and prominent experts or academics in the US began to articulate their views on the future role of nuclear weapons in the US security policy. While some recommend realizing the goal of total elimination of nuclear weapons as envisaged in the Article VI under NPT and abandonment of nuclear deterrence, others seem to reject making any radical change in the US nuclear strategy. In this context, there are many arguments and counter-arguments capturing substantial support from different groups and consequently a contemporary debate about the US nuclear strategy in the post-Cold War and the ongoing strategic arms reduction process.