Who Should be Allowed To Possess Nuclear Technology?

Posted by Frederick Jones
September 27, 2007

In 1968, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) was created to prevent the further proliferation of nuclear weapons, as well as promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy and express the intention of NPT signatories to achieve disarmament. Nonetheless, questions exist as to why the international community approves of some nations possessing nuclear materials and not others.

"What should determine who should be allowed to possess nuclear technology and who should not?"

Comments

Comments

Tina
|
Michigan, USA
September 26, 2007

Tina in Michigan writes:
The factors seem very complex regarding countries having the ability to possess nuclear technology. Countries that are not hostile, that have a long history of being friendly to their neighbors, that clearly adhere to Freedom, Equality and Liberty that also respect Human Rights which belong to the United Nations should be trusted with this delicate technology. The rest of world needs to be watching those that have this technology with a keen eye.

The other issue related to this is to make sure those countries using this technology take the care to properly manage the bi-products of this technology. Mother Earth and people need this careful proctection.

Brianna
|
Wisconsin, USA
September 29, 2007

Brianna in Wisconsin writes:
If one country is able to posses nuclear weapons I feel another country should be able to, too. Fair is fair. We don't govern the world and we should stop acting like we do.

Chris Z.
|
Missouri, USA
September 26, 2007

Chris in Missouri writes:
No country in the world should have the power of nuclear weapons at their disposal, including the United States. That we have the power to destroy humanity should be as frightening to us as anyone else. We need to work to strengthen the United Nations and the IAEA to give them the means to enforce a policy where no country would be able to construct nuclear weapons and all countries that currently control would them destroy them in a timely manner.

John S.
|
California, USA
September 26, 2007

John in California writes:
Countries that should not be allowed to possess nuclear technology include those governed by non-democratic governments, especially theocracies. Non-democratic governments permit extremist views to influence decisions that can have catastrophic and irreversible consequences. Theocracies are particularly dangerous in this regard due to the ease by which religious teachings can be twisted into advocating the exclusion of all who do not share the same beliefs. And if such a country possesses nuclear technology, this power to "exclude" becomes very real.

Marc
|
Germany
September 26, 2007

Marc in Germany writes:
@Brianna - I agree with you that we do not govern the world and we shouldn't attempt to do so. But, we do have a responsibility to our National Security to ensure that questionable countries/leaders don't gain the power of launching nuclear attacks at us or our allies. The vehicle in which to achieve this really depends on your personal view-point as to HOW directly involved we should be. One view is too take action (military wise) another way is to use the long drawn out political process via the UN and sanctions. The last, obviously, is a combination of the previous two options. Which course of action is best is difficult to answer; due to each individual persons opionens on how best to resolve such issues. Nonetheless as a nuclear power we have a certain amount of responsibilty to ensure that nuclear weapons are tightly controlled.

@Chris- Nuclear weapons are a gruesome piece of work. I have no arguments with you on this issue. But as nuclear power/weapons are already "out of the bag" it is a fairy tale to actually believe that a "Nobody Should Have" approach is even remotely possible. I do agree that to strengthen the UN and IAEA and give them a coalition enforcement capability in "controlling" nuclear proliferation is a step in the right direction. But I firmly believe that ,as in the past, the load of the "enforcement" would fall to the US Military. That is something I wish to see less of as the U.S. Military arent the World Police Force

Daniel N.
|
Illinois, USA
September 26, 2007

Daniel in Illinois writes:
The question should really be "Who should NOT be allowed to have Nuclear Weapons" and I believe we all pretty much know the answer to that. They tend to stick out on the world playground. The problem lies in that the various members of the current Nuclear Club all seem to have too many vested political, strategic, or economic interests in one or another of these rogue nations/groups to band together and "do the right thing." In the final analysis there really is no way to forever keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of someone with the means to obtain them and the twisted will to use them. Oh, and one more thing. Mr Bush, there is no such thing in this world as a NUKYUHLER weapon. One would think that in 7 years someone would have corrected his pronunciation. Please !!

J.
September 26, 2007

J. writes:
I will have to check the NPT language, but wasn't the intent of the treaty to "dissuade" countries from developing nuclear weapons, not to "prevent" such proliferation? Along that line, the question is phrased incorrectly. The question ought to be, "how can the NPT be used or better implemented to influence nations to not develop nuclear weapons?"

And along that line of thought, the key to this is through leadership demonstrated by the US govt in NOT developing the RRW until it has 1) improved its Cold War strategy for nuclear weapons employment and made it applicable to today's security environment, and 2) demonstrated in good faith a plan that shows the dismantlement and permenant disposal of older nuclear weapons is in place.

The "nuclear energy" deal with India didn't help the NPT's influence, either. If India isn't living up to the NPT, the US govt shouldn't be dealing with India. Very simple.

Michelle
|
District Of Columbia, USA
September 26, 2007

Michelle in Washington DC writes:
I don't believe anyone should be using/creating any nuclear weapons or running power plants with nuclear energy. It's about the environment - how long do we think we can keep polluting the planet and just burying the stuff we don't want anymore? If bombs are made they will eventually be used - so stop making them! I know there will be flare ups between countries but killing each other is senseless.

Robert
|
Ohio, USA
September 26, 2007

Robert in Ohio writes:
Whereas I will agree that is does seem hypocritical to possess nuclear capabilities and then to try to tell another country that they may not (especially bearing in mind that we are the only country to use them), I believe someone has to be the first for everything and even if it does seem a bit imperialistic we are simply trying to learn from our mistakes and help others do the same.

I can totally understand the others wanting the bomb, how would we feel if Russia had them and we did not? That said, I don't want anyone else to gain the capability if for no other reason than self preservation ;)

As for peaceful purposes, perhaps the countries that already possess the capability to broker the fuel. One would think that if a country genuinely has no interest in the bomb then having someone else handle all the risky enrichment would be beneficial all around. If you tell me that I can have all of the benefits of nuclear power without any of the responsibility of enrichment, and more importantly disposal of waste, then I say it is win-win. This would also allow for tracking and regulation of the materials involved.

It seems to me that a compromise is in order. If they will tolerate some mild interference for the sake of our ease of mind then we can help them provide affordable and adequate power for their people.

Jim W.
|
California, USA
September 26, 2007

Jim in California writes:
All nations should be allowed to develop nuclear power, even assisted in the effort, if asked. No Nation that is openly planning to take over the world, i.e. is an obvious threat to us, should be permitted to develop nuclear weapons. We should not interfere with their operations otherwise, unless invited.

For those who have the weapon and who seemingly intend on using it on us, we should warn them openly that should they bomb us we will counter-bomb them and their world with ten times the destruction inflicted by their weapons, and that we will do so following each successive round of bombing. To make this most effective we should name the major Muslim nations on our list.

Then, again, we should sit back and wait for their response, being carefully prepared to do as promised. Hopefully, our threat would cause the other Muslim nations to dissuade al Qaeda, et al, not to bomb in the first place.

Robin
|
Romania
September 26, 2007

Robin in Romania writes:
@ Marc - I totally agree with your statements. It is my strong belief that, as you said, questionable leaders/countries should not be allowed to have nuclear facilities. I am speaking especially about Iran. They say they need to build nuclear facilities for energy purposes. I doubt that, since Iran is one of the most oil-rich countries in the world. And it's only about 1.000 miles away from EU.

Maybe nuclear power is not a right, but a privilege. Many will say that USA should not be a nuclear power. I disagree. USA invented the nuclear power. Many will say that Germany should not be a nuclear power. I also disagree. Many patents were, as you know, stolen from Germany at the end of WW2, so that, by giving back so much to the world, the world should give something back!

@ Robert - I'm afraid there can't be a compromise in this matter, since, one way or another, civilian nuclear fuel can be turned into military warheads.

Hajo
|
Germany
September 26, 2007

Hajo in Germany writes:
The question is not very clear. What do you mean by the term "nuclear technology"? civil or military technology or even both?

With regard to the NPT, the Treaty is based on a simple compromise between the nuclear haves and the nuclear have nots: The nuclear have nots are willing to accept their non-nuclear military status under several conditions:
1. They have full access to civil nuclear technology if they need it. Article 4 of NPT even say, they should be supported by the nuclear haves in this regard.
2. The nuclear haves will not threaten the nuclear have nots and give up their nuclear weapons in order to overcome this double standard in global order.
3. If the nuclear haves think they can preserve their priviliged nuclear status and the nuclear have nots will accept their inferiour status forever, this will never work over time. Either the nuclear powers truely disarm or they must handle a growing number of nuclear haves with terrorists on its territory like Pakistan and perhaps soon Iran, they must handle nuclear weapon states which can fail or disolve like the former Soviet Union which had happened fortunately under very cooperative international circumstances but this can happen in times of conflict and confrontation also.

Where are the instruments of the U.S. to handle all this coming problems? As a nuclear status quo power the U.S. is not a part of the solution but a part of the growing global security problem.
The problem for the nuclear have nots is, they must pay the price also. So why not going nuclear as the nuclear haves in order to reduce the price as the nuclear status quo powers do? What is then wrong with approach?

Hajo

Jorge M.
|
Chile
September 26, 2007

Jorge in Chile writes:
Any country... except USA!!!

Robin
|
Romania
September 26, 2007

Robin in Romania writes:
@ John - We should not exclude other types of *cracies, such as kleptocracies (as described here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kleptocracy) or plutocracies (as described hare: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plutocracy).
Of course, the list can continue.

Anibal
|
Czech Republic
September 26, 2007

Anibal in Czech Republic writes:
First of all i think that the ideal would be that no one can have Nuclear Weapons, since at least for now seems quite dificult, i would say that no one that has a current military conflict, or had a military conflict in X amount of years, for example 30,CANT have nuclear weapons.

Also i think that a good option could be to give real efficient power to the UN, so that what they say really metters, for example changing the chain of command in the millitary adding UN approval (and yes, i know its basicly imposible).

And as a last thought, think that U.S. should be the first in disarming and hopefully stop invading countries, and if you want other countries to listen to the UN, U.S. should do the same too.

Paulo
|
France
September 26, 2007

Paulo in France writes:
The fact is the U.S. is the only one country to have used the nuclear weapons against another country. The U.S. is not the police of the world but act like that and believe are the owner of the reason, therefore, we have the unjustified conflicts and politics for destabilization in certain regions. In democracy there are not imposition of the values or concepts but respect for the divergences, as so, why can some countries have nuclear weapons and not others? Who have reason to impose prohibitive rules to other countries when are distant to have a perfectly integrity?

Roger
|
Ohio, USA
September 26, 2007

Roger in Ohio writes:
Right now, the U.S. is just another country. We've already lost the mantle of Moral Superiority that we wore proudly a long time ago. With that said, there are two things we can do, each one determining our NPT strategy. If the U.S. wants to be morally superior, then that imposes a duty on itself to act as an example for others. In that case, we should disarm our own nukes, despite the obvious disadvantages associated with deweaponizing. However, this will also send a signal. Furthermore, without nukes we still have a superior army. We have little intention of using them, either. No country is even close enough to us to merit the force multiplying effect of the mighty atom.

Now, if we see ourselves as just another nation, then we can act selfish like everyone else and hoard our nukes. Of course, this means we can't glare disapprovingly at other people like China for their selfishness either.

Give power to the UN? Oh man. I don't trust the UN because there's too much inertia. It's not so much the UN itself, but the very nature of harmonizing all the countries in the world. Diversity is mutually exclusive to cohesion, and having the combined voices of nearly all the people in the world is pretty diverse...which means they probably aren't cohesive, and things don't get done.

francisco
|
Colombia
September 26, 2007

Francisco in Colombia writes:
everybody or nobody

Gene
|
Maryland, USA
September 27, 2007

Gene in Maryland writes:
Re: the question of "what should determine who should be allowed to possess nuclear technology and who should not?" ... many readers of this blog may not know that in 1946 the United States provocatively proposed that this issue be determined by an functioning international authority. This recommendation was found in a study titled "The Acheson-Lillienthal Report," that became President Truman's policy and that the US formally submitted to the UN for consideration. One of its main authors, Dean Acheson, was a principal architect of the Marshall Plan to rebuild ater World War II, and he later became US Secretary of State. Acheson described this report and its recommended policy as follows:

"In plain words, the Report sets up a plan under which no nation would make atomic bombs or the materials for them. All dangerous activities would be carried on -- not merely inspected -- by a live, functioning international Agency with a real purpose in the world and capable of attracting competent personnel. This monopoly of the dangerous activities by an international Authority would still leave a large and tremendously productive field of safe activities open to individual nations, their industries and universities ... the extremely favored position with regard to atomic devices, which the United States enjoys at present, is only temporary. It will not last. We must use that advantage now to promote international security and to carry out our policy of building a lasting peace through international agreement."

This excerpt is taken from Acheson's award-winning book "Present at the Creation."

Acheson also relates that this policy was submitted to the UN's Atomic Energy Commission, which in turn recommended to the UN in its entirety the adoption of a comprehensive international system. Unfortunately, as Acheson recalls:

"There the matter died. Mr. Molotov rather neatly escaped a propoganda defeat by introducing in the General Assemby, and strongly urging, a plan for general regulation and reduction of armaments."

Shinobi
|
Romania
September 27, 2007

Shinobi in Romania writes:
I think we should forget about nuclear technology and think about environmental issues.

What are we going to do with nuclear technologies (weapons) when Mother-Nature goes wild and everybody suffers? We cannot tame Nature with nuclear technology.

All the money used for nuclear stuff would have a better use in solving environmental issues. We should think about redesigning the industries for use of environmental-friendly technologies.

TI
|
Illinois, USA
September 27, 2007

Ti from Illinois writes:
I have not read the UN charter or NPT from top to bottom, and I do not think either matters. I would not be beholden to either in every case. No set of documents or laws drawn up decades ago can resolve current and evolving problems. The United States of America and its allies must be wiling to wage war in order to solve problems which cannot otherwise be solved.

If NATO aligned countries do not want nuclear materials in the hands of Iran which is aggressively pursuing a (missile) delivery vehicle or has available other delivery mechanisms(truck, ship or plane) to reach deep into their territory then NATO should use the UN to seek redress with regard to the issue. That failing NATO aligned countries should divest from the offending country, which they are going to pursue. That failing they should declare war. NATO has NO other solution and they had better not waste a great deal of time in making the case for war. Iran will have enough nuclear material to make a dirty bomb in less than a year. Iran will have enough nuclear material to make a nuclear weapon in less than three years.

In the case of Iran and possibly North Korea there may be NO other solution but all other avenues have to be tried before the ensuing battle.

Nuclear technology, proliferation, and weapons related problems are not all going to be resolved with the UN or NPT.

Given the decision to go to war you have to be able to live with the results, which could be catastrophic and wide ranging. Within five to ten years of hitting 2000 targets in Iran, Iran would again have the ability to develop nuclear weapons. Iran would have to be dealt with again and they would have to be heavily infiltrated in order to find out what their nuclear ambitions were.

This brings up an interesting problem in that once you stop Iran other "non favored" countries, of which there may be dozens may seek to work together to proliferate the fuel cycle and other technologies in secret. In that case they do not have to develop enough to build one weapon but enough to build for example one fifth...then get together to assemble the material for use against a target.

----
I think what the United States needs to do is to develop a means of ascertaining whether a vehicle of any type has nuclear materials within it while in transit at least 200 miles from the border. The vehicle could be in the air, in the water, under water, or in transit over the road. This might be the job of a satellite or non destructive energy weapon. If this technology cannot be produced in the next five years then we are in trouble. Iran is the tip of the iceberg.

Sol
|
China
September 27, 2007

Soi in China writes:
@ Marc - I can't agree with Marc any more. Any country has the same fair right to possess nuclear weapons. However, under the current global complex political situation, it is necessary for each member of UN to keep the NPT in case any potential nuclear wars.

guo
|
China
September 27, 2007

Guo in China writes:
The world is fair, if some are willing to pay, they have the right to harvest what they paid for.
Nuclear weapons proliferation is a fearful matter because lunatics always exist.

Ting
|
China
September 27, 2007

Ting in China writes:
The countries that have responsibility should posses Nuclear Technology. Weapons of mass destruction must be possessed by those who observe justice.

Ali
|
Singapore
September 27, 2007

Ali in Singapore writes:
Please! the font be bigger than this! It is realy tiny and difficult to read. Is it done on purpose?

Murat
|
Turkey
September 27, 2007

Murat in Turkey writes:
Nobody for building nuclear weapons (including the U.S.), everybody for peaceful purposes such as an alternative source of energy.

John S.
|
California, USA
September 27, 2007

John in California writes:
Plane and simple answer, NOBODY!

fireofthelife
|
China
September 27, 2007

Fire in China writes:
It ought to be up the country possessing nuclear technologies to decide whether they should forbid the export of that technology. But any
country should have the power to develop new science, including nuclear science.

Raul
|
Spain
September 27, 2007

Raul in Spain writes:
Everyone

PEOPLE R.
|
Romania
September 27, 2007

P in Romania writes:
We should discuss Fascism and racism in Romania and other countries.

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