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Nuclear detterrence in the post cold war scenario

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Research presented at Alliant International University Master Program Of IR

Research presented at Alliant International University Master Program Of IR

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  • 1. “Is Nuclear deterrence a stabilizing factor in the Post Cold War Scenario?” Essay Presented by Abdelhamied El Rafie Under the supervision of Professor Pierfransisco Moscuzza For the Course Nature of force , Peace and non violence 1 Abdelhamied El-Rafie
  • 2. Introduction :I am trying in this essay to answer the question “Is Nuclear deterrence a stabilizing factorin the Post Cold War scenario ?”I will try to answer this through discussing the following points: 1. The Impact of Nuclear weapons. 2. The current Nuclear Scenario. 3. The argument about the validity or the significance of Nuclear weapons. 4. What is the post cold war scenario? 5. Finally I will try to answer the essay’s question from as a conclusion from the previous analysis.My hypothesis will be that “ The current Post cold war scenario on Nuclear deterrence isformulated by the fact of that acquiring nuclear weapons depends totally and completelyon the balances of power within the International System on which any trial to maneuverthe current balances will face real obstacles”. 2 Abdelhamied El-Rafie
  • 3. The Impact of Nuclear weapons:Nuclear arms and weapons have great impact on the Universal historical andcontemporary politics , and despite the fact of that most International relationstheorists and strategists have put a number of deterrence theories but these wouldface obstacles in applying these theories in case of there is a real situation werenuclear weapons can be used. There is a statistic according to John Muller made bythe Brookings institute states that the United States had spent 5.5 trillion dollarsduring the period 1940-1998 on nuclear weapons.http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2010/01/04/think_again_nuclear_weapons?page=full)The current Nuclear Scenario:Despite the Obama Initiative Nuclear weapons are decreasing for example in 2002 thewarheads deployed by the US and Russia decreased from 70000 to 30000 and it iscurrently 20000. France and the UK are under huge debate internally and under pressures for the reasonsthey are still acquiring these weapons . What about China? We will find that theydeveloped fewer weapons than those they could develop and all what they have is notmore than 180 warheads.The result to all what is above that there is a smaller probability to have any aggressiveor offensive arms race between those five powers which consist what is known theNuclear club. 3 Abdelhamied El-Rafie
  • 4. Despite the reports which mentions that AlQaeda is trying to obtain nuclear warheadsand despite the claims that the Russian nukes are facing problems in security these claimsdid not convince the Intelligence community in the US. And the Russian weapons aremore secured in the time being because of their fear of being attacked within their landsof dominance.(,http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2010/01/04/think_again_nuclear_weapons?page=full)What about the “Rogue States” like Iran and North Korea if we look at the Iranian casewe will find that their intentions are based upon a strategy of defense and threatening ifthey are attacked this might change the balance of powers in the Middle East meaningthat their program is quite of reaction rather than action.If we move to North Korea we will find that they are basically isolated and haveeconomic internal problems so part of their acquiring the Nuclear weapons is for thepeople inside by claiming that they are in fight with imperialism but if we look to thebalance of power in the region of North Asia we will find that Russia and China who arethe North Koreans allies but if any one would think that this might threat South Koreaand Japan he is completely wrong because there are American Military bases in bothcountries plus they are covered by the American Nuclear Umbrella.Then according to analysts China and Russia are out of the Poker game of deterrencethey have their own balances with the US but countries like Iran and North Korea are stillhaving their Poker Faces The US indefinitely knows what they have Therefore the USunder Obama who fought in his Presidential campaign against the war in Iraq is not ready 4 Abdelhamied El-Rafie
  • 5. to take a risk of having another war with Iran or North Korea even the primitive attackswill have smaller possibilities for him before putting his sold on the table In my humbleopinion he will lean more towards Diplomacy with the possibility of more economicsanctions and pressures on both countries.(http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2009/08/13/playing_with_a_full_deck)The argument about the validity or the significance of Nuclear weapons:According to John Mueller strategist Bernard Brodie mentioned two facts about nuclearweapons the first is that it is available the second that it is enormously destructive, butMueller argues that since the invention of these weapons its sequence developmentsdoesn’t compact with its occurrence in 1945 and all what it has lead in his opinion is“humanitys unhealthy obsession with them, a preoccupation that has inspired someseriously bad policy decisions” . He claims and I agree with him that these weapons hasraised International subconscious on what “ historian Spencer Weart notes, "You saynuclear bomb and everybody immediately thinks of the end of the world."(http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2009/10/23/the_rise_of_nuclear_alarmism)According to Stephen M Walt He mentions a quote from Bernard Brodie in his book TheAbsolute weapon (1946)"Thus far the chief purpose of our military establishment hasbeen to win wars. From now on its chief purpose must be to avert them."But He argues unlike Mueller That despite the fact of that a small number of countriesacquire nuclear weapons but this didn’t prevent World leaders to decrease their defensebudgets , requirements and developments because they have in his opinion “greatconfidence in the deterrent power of these awesome weapons”Then He sums up his opinion by saying “The lesson I draw from this is that nuclearweapons have very limited value. A handful of survivable weapons makes it veryunlikely that another state will attack you directly or try to invade and take over your 5 Abdelhamied El-Rafie
  • 6. country” But I do argue here if is the case like he mentions why the superpowersspecially the US have put procedures that limits other developing countries fromacquiring the Nuclear technology by piutting restrictions on the Know how of thesetechnologies even for peaceful purposes by claiming that this technology might betransferred to a military one and why the US never mentions or put these restrictions oncountries who are currently nuclear powers “with its military meaning” like Israel , Indiaand Pakistan ????why is this because they are allies therefore it depends in my opinion onthe International relations among countries and the balance of power regionally andInternationally and the weight and volume of each country which tries to poses theseweapons.(http://walt.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/08/03/rethinking_the_nuclear_revolution)What is the Post Cold war scenario?Again Walt debates the value of acquiring these nuclear weapons it is obvious in myopinion that having 100 bombs might destroy 100 cities and this will be extraordinarydamage to humanity as he mentions but I still insist and Iam here against his opinion ofreducing the number of weapons and preventing new powers to obtain these weaponsBUT WHY?? Its part of the inequality in the contemporary International relations whichironically say I have the gun and I know how to produce it and I will prevent you by allmeans to get it because I still have the gun in my hands and I will shoot you If you try toget a gun !!!(http://walt.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/05/24/all_the_nukes_that_you_can_use)These are the dynamics of the current international affairs because the System is like apyramid where you have on top of it the United States and on the second level fromabove we find powers like the EU , Russia, China, Japan , Then a third level where wefind the rising economic powers Like The ASEAN the new Economic tigers then on the 6 Abdelhamied El-Rafie
  • 7. bottom of the pyramid we find the developing countries so lets imagine a country likeIran which is considerably a developing country –and Iam not justifying its trial toacquire nuclear weapons- who tries to play against the structure of that pyramid ??Therefore countries who are trying to or already acquired nuclear weapons like Iran andNorth Korea are trying to challenge the current system , the same thing can be applied towhat Al Qaeda is doing by executing terrorist attacks against the US and its allies that’swhy I would think that such disputes The leading powers in the World would succeed intheir combat against their challengers but these powers specially the US will beexhausted this might fasten up towards the development towards a complete MultipolarInternational System .The Answer to the essay’s question :I would think that Nuclear deterrence can not be a stabilizing or a destabilizing factor inthe Post cold war scenario unless something major happens in the International balancesof power globally or regionally , and even if we assume that the International system willbe transferred soon into a multipolar system I don’t think the contradictions between thepoles of this new system might lead to a major nuclear arms race but this does not denythe fact that there will be new powers in which will try to obtain and acquire thesenuclear weapons , but in such scenario I would believe that there will be more restrictionsabout safety measures concerning the use of these weapons. ‫ـــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــ‬ ‫ـــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــ‬ 7 Abdelhamied El-Rafie
  • 8. Bibliography :1. John Mueller , Think again: Nuclear weapons , Foreign Policy ,January- February2010 ,http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2010/01/04/think_again_nuclear_weapons?page=full .2. Playing with a full deck , Foreign Policy , August2009 ,http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2009/08/13/playing_with_a_full_deck .3. John Mueller, The rise of Nuclear alarmism, Foreign Policy , October 2009,http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2009/10/23/the_rise_of_nuclear_alarmism .4. Stephen M Walt, Rethinking the Nuclear Revolution , Foreign Policy , August 2010,http://walt.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/08/03/rethinking_the_nuclear_revolution .5. Stephen M Walt, All the Nukes That you can use, Foreign Policy , May 2010,http://walt.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/05/24/all_the_nukes_that_you_can_use .6. Colum Lynch, The Nuclear caste system, Foreign Policy , April 2010,http://turtlebay.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/04/30/the_nuclear_caste_system .7. Stephen M Walt, Nuclear posture review(or Nuclear public relations) , Foreign PolicyApril2010,http://walt.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/04/06/nuclear_posture_review_or_nuclear_public_relations .8. Stephen M Walt, America Unbound, Foreign policy , August 2009,http://walt.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2009/08/06/america_unbound . 8 Abdelhamied El-Rafie
  • 9. 9. Taha Ozhan ,Multilateralism in foreign policy and nuclear swap deal, Foreign policy ,June 2010 ,http://mideast.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/06/03/multilateralism_in_foreign_policy_and_nuclear_swap_deal .10. Stephen M Walt, Five big questions, Foreign Policy , July 2010,http://walt.foreignpolicy.com/category/wordpress_category/thesis_ideas . 9 Abdelhamied El-Rafie
  • 10. 10 Abdelhamied El-Rafie