NUCLEAR WEAPONS: THE WORLD HAS WEAPONS THAT ARE BIGGER THAN THE WARS ITSELF
NUCLEAR WEAPONS: THE WORLD HAS WEAPONS THAT ARE BIGGER THAN THE WARS ITSELF KESHAV PRASAD BHATTARAIIn his meeting with the journalist after the meeting with Board of Governors of InternationalAtomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Iranian Ambassador to the IAEA) Ali Asghar Soltanieh told inVienna on November 30 that Iran would rebuild any enrichment centrifuges, if its facilities aredestroyed in a possible attack. Boasting of Iranian mastery over its technology and knowhow, headded that all centrifuges and uranium enrichment facility will be replaced immediately thereafter.He, according to western media sources claimed that Iran will never give up its nuclear program.Two days earlier to Iranian announcement, AFP - referring to military sources, reported thatPakistan test fired a nuclear capable ballistic missile with a range of 1300 kilometer – the eighth intest series for this year. Five of the Pakistani tests were conducted immediately after Indiasuccessfully launched its long range intercontinental ballistic missile Agni V on last April. Expertshave said that the Agni V could deliver one ton nuclear warhead and reach any target within a reachof 5000 kilometers in 20 minutes.On November 27 Associated Press in its news story disclosed that a diagram obtained by it revealsthat Iranian scientists have run computer simulations for a nuclear weapon that would produce morethan triple the explosive force of the World War II bomb that destroyed Hiroshima.On December first, North Korea to commemorate the death of its longtime ruler Kim Jong-il,announced - it would launch another nuclear capable long-range intercontinental ballistic missile -sometime between coming December 10-22.North Korean announcement has prompted Japan to move its anti-ballistic Patriot missiles to thesouthern Ryukyu Islands readied to shoot down the North Korean rocket should it suddenlychange its course. Similarly news sources have reported that Japan has announced all its armedforces prepared to cope any unwarranted situation arising from North Korean test. Understandably,senior diplomats from South Korea, Japan and the United States are preparing for a joint meetingto discuss the potential threats and challenges associated with the new launch.
On December 4, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon seriously expressed his concerns about thelaunch and continued that Pyongyang’s decision related to its ballistic missile program would raisetension in the region.The only North Koreas main ally in the region China – closely engaged with it, has increaseddiplomatic pressure with a veiled warning to Pyongyang to act prudently and keep restraints.Seouls Foreign Ministry spokesperson Cho Tai-young has expressed his hopes that China will keepthe pressure on North Korea.Earlier in September according to Christian Science Monitor (CSM) Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, asenior commander in Irans powerful Revolutionary Guard warned that his country would target USbases in the region in the event of a war with Israel.CSM further admits that “Ali Hajizadeh’s warnings came amid tension over Israels suggestion thatit might unilaterally strike Iranian nuclear facilities – that are somehow matured for makingbombs”. Tehran however claims that there will be no any such Israeli attacks unless U.S. Okays it.In the mean time, China last week carried out a second flight test of a new long-range mobilemissile that is capable of hitting any city in United States with multiple independently targetablenuclear warheads. The test took place days before North Korea is set to fire its long-range missile,U.S. intelligence officials have disclosed. According g to Gertz it was the second DF-31A flight testsince last August – that exhibits China’s growing strategic nuclear build up. The modernizationprogram of DF-31A missiles -that was first deployed in 2007 has ranges more than 8000 kilometersand can be deployed on rail cars disguised as passenger trains.WITH NUCLEAR WEAPON THE WAR ITSELF SHRANK TO MINOR SIGNIFICANCEWhen the World War II ended with the dropping of Atomic bomb - James Agee - in TIMEmagazine on August 20,1945 - made a historical comment that “. . . in the echoes of an enormousevent – an event so much more enormous that, relative to it, the war itself shrank to minorsignificance.” And the World has indubitably seen that in its long history of wars - for the firsttime, nuclear weapons have become bigger than the Wars Itself.The greatest path breaking event in the history of war as mentioned above was based on thediscovery of German physicist Otto Hahn, who in 1938 claimed that - vast amount of energy, couldbe released at no time, if the atoms of uranium or plutonium could be split in a chain reaction. Healso concluded that if such energy is used in a weapon it could be much more powerful than the mostpowerful conventional weapon. But it was not Germany but the team of U.S. scientist led by RobertOppenheimer of the German origin - working under a clandestine Manhattan Project headed byBrigadier General Leslie Groves, successfully test fired the world’ first nuclear weapon in thedesert of New Mexico in July 16,1945. This was immediately followed by the nuclear attack inHiroshima and Nagasaki only next month that brought the World War II to an end.When Denmark was occupied by Nazi forces, Niel Bohr- a Danish Noble Laureate in Physics (1922),had escaped to Britain and from there to USA and was associated with Manhattan Project. He
earlier had personally urged U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt and British Prime Minister WinstonChurchill to prepare for the atomic weapon.But on July 3, 1944 - in a memorandum to President Roosevelt, Bohr appealed “that a weapon of anunparalleled power is being created which will completely change all future conditions of warfare”.Referring to Bohr the author of a globally acclaimed book – “The Making of the Atom Bomb” RichardRhodes mentions that “When nuclear weapons spread to other countries as they certainly would,no one would be able any longer to win. That would obviously “bring an enormous change in thesituation of the world, in the whole situation of war and the tolerability of war”.Therefore, Bohr argued that unless, some agreement about the control of the use of the nuclearpower is reached “any temporary advantage, however great, may be outweighed by a perpetualmenace to human security”.Similarly, in his open letter to United Nations on June 9, 1950 Bohr predicted that nuclear power inthe long run will become the enormous sources of energy that would revolutionize industry andtransport, but if a weapon is made with this energy it will contain an unparalleled power which willcompletely change all future conditions of warfare posing continued threat to world security – as aformidable means of destruction.And as Bohr anticipated the nuclear arms race continued and got more intense. In September 1949USSR attained it- followed by UK in 1952, France in 1960, China in 1964, Israel in 1969, India in1974, Pakistan in 1984, and North Korea in 2006.And it is a matter to note that since July 16, 1945 when the first nuclear test was carried out bythe United States to October 9, 2006 when North Korea performed similar test according toWaheguru Pal Singh Sidhu there were over 2000 nuclear test worldwide.But a state does not need to test a nuclear device to make a nuclear weapon - is best exhibited by aSouth African example. As mentioned by Darryl Howlett in a book - President F.W. de Klerk onMarch 24, 1993 announced that South Africa had produced six nuclear devices prior to 1989 butit had dismantled them before entering into Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) regime. Earlier to thisformal announcement, it was speculated that South Africa had nuclear weapons but was notconfirmed.MIGHTY WEAPONS AT WEAK SHOULDERSStill today Russia has the largest stockpiles of nuclear weapons and when the former Soviet Unionwas dismantled, fortunately the political actors of the newly emerged Eastern European statesexhibited restraint and sense of responsibility in keeping their nuclear weapons safe and wellguarded. But a billion dollar question is often asked about the nuclear safety in weak, failing andpolitically, socially and economically unstable countries like Pakistan where Muslim extremist groupslike Teherik –e – Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Lashkar-e –Taiba and their strong allies/networks inAfghanistan, Iraq and in Iran have gained enormous power.A weak and unstable country with one of the most critical geostrategic location in world is also thesingle Muslim country with advanced nuclear weapon system. It has scarred the world community
that if a nuclear powered Pakistan becomes a failed state and goes accidentally under the control ofMuslim extremist groups. How catastrophic it would be for the security of its bigger neighbors likeIndia and China and how would they react in such a situation is probably the biggest challenge theworld is going to face with. Another great tragedy of Pakistan is that in its sixty four years longhistory, it has never experienced the smooth transfer of power as per the constitutional provisionand each time when a government is changed under forced situation - the governance getsweakened, crisis erupts and the only beneficiary are always the extremist groups forcingPakistan more weakened. It has always failed to escape from the weak conditions that it was bornwith.The U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in her one of the major foreign policy speeches atBrookings Institute on November 29 stated that the President Obama has repeatedly asserted hisfirm determination to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. “Diplomacy is our preferredapproach. But the window for Iran to negotiate seriously is not open indefinitely. Through the E3+3process and multilateral fora like the IAEA, the United States and European leaders are pushingTehran to live up to its international obligations and abandon its pursuit of nuclear weapons”,further she added.But there are some good news to listen - in November last year, U.S. President Barrack Obama, at apress conference held at the close of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Hawaii, hadadmitted that Russian President Medvedev, as well as China’s President Hu Jintao entirely agreedwith him to make “sure that Iran does not weaponize nuclear power and that we don’t trigger anuclear arms race in the region . . . in the interests of all of us”. Obama was making reference tothe commitments made by Russia and China on the light of the report released by InternationalAtomic Energy Agency (IAEA) - the Vienna based UN body created to facilitate the peaceful use ofnuclear energy and make a regular safeguard auditing of the nuclear facilities. The UN nuclearwatch dog in its report released on November last year had asserted that Iran attained explosivenuclear weapons specific ability.And when there can be some strategic consensus among countries like USA, China and Russia overIranian nuclear weapon system, they might have developed some strategic framework oftransitional actions if countries like Pakistan and North Korea suffer dissolution. However, theymight play critical geo-strategic games – suited to their national interests until the situationwarrants them to take unified actions.NUCLEAR HYSTERIA, NUCLEAR TABOOS AND NUCLEAR TERRORISMAdrian Levy and Catherine Scott- Clark in their remarkable book – Deception that details thePakistan, the United States and the global nuclear conspiracy, states that although Pakistan hadstarted to develop nuclear facility in 1961, after its defeat in war with India in 1965 over Kashmirit received hysterical momentum. Reflecting the nuclear dream of Pakistani people, the formerPrime Minister of Pakistan Julfikar Ali Bhutto said “If India builds the bomb, we will eat grass orleaves, even go hungry, but we will get one of our own. We have no alternative . . . atom bomb foratom bomb.”Four years later according to Levy and Scott- Clark, Bhutto predicted “All wars of ourage have become total wars . . . it would be dangerous to plan for less and our plans should,
therefore, include the nuclear deterrent.”The man who gave Pakistan the nuclear bomb and laterwho was considered responsible for clandestinely selling nuclear technology to Iran, North Koreaand Libya A.Q. Khan as quoted by Levy and Scott- Clark, has written “. . . A country which could notmake sewing needles, good bicycles or even durable metalled roads was embarking on one of thelatest and most difficult technologies”.In human history, no other weapons than nuclear ones have critically governed relations amongnations in such a defining way. Obviously it is changing the course of international system. AmericanNational Intelligence Council (NIC) in its report- Global Trends 2025: A transformed World, hasconcluded that “ The international system – as constructed following the Second World War – willbe almost unrecognizable by 2025”. The 21st Century will see military forces lose both its utilityand glamour, NIC further observed. Similarly Joseph S. Nye, Jr., the former U.S. AssistantSecretary of Defense has stated that “once numbering more than 50,000 nuclear weapons have notbeen used in war since 1945” - mainly for its vast devastating power, it has not been employed forany political goals.Noted American academics Nina Tannenwald, in her brilliant research paper published inInternational Security (2005), has best tried to answer a question why have nations avoided the useof nuclear weapon since 1945. She argued that despite strong case for using nuclear weaponsduring wars in Korea, Vietnam and Gulf war, for all practical purposes United States restrainedfrom using nuclear weapons. From moral to public pressures and fear of retaliation followed bysome abhorrent and unimaginable consequences, United States was pertaining a moral obligationthat she name as “nuclear taboo” – the single most important phenomenon of the nuclear age.But Prof Nye suggests that the nuclear weapons offer some excellent deterrence to weakercountries like Iran, North Korea and Pakistan against stronger adversaries and instead “increasetheir regional influence and global prestige”.Besides, as explained by Global Trends 2025, some terrorist group by that time may even acquiretheir control over some nuclear device and gain some dangerous capabilities to create masscausalities. Moreover “The risk of nuclear weapon use over the next 20 years although remainingvery low, is likely to be greater than it is today” but as a result of several converging trendsserious concerns have been expressed over the potential emergence of new nuclear weapon statesand possible acquisition of nuclear materials by terrorist groups, National Intelligence Council in itscomprehensive report highlights.NUCLEAR LAVAS, SOCIO-ECONOMIC LAVAS AND SUSTAINABLE WORLD ORDERPakistan’s world renowned economist and human development theorist Mahbub ul Haq – whilesumming up the 1998 report on Human Development in South Asia, has written that sooner theIndia and Pakistan “turn from a nuclear arms race to a human development race, the better it is forthe future prosperity of their people. In the last analysis, nuclear lavas may make great
international theatre but they do not fill empty stomachs”- the largest such number in world. “Norhave desperately poor nations ever graduated into great super powers, except by building thedevelopment potential of their people”, Dr Haq argued. “It is socio-economic lavas that drown outnations; nuclear lavas never rescue them, he added.When we mean globalization, it is the globalised nature of the enormous and multifacetedchallenges that all countries in the world - from major global powers to smaller ones, are living with.All problems they are facing have transnational and trans-regional ramifications and have forcedthem develop some kind of cooperative mechanism to enlarge their security and ensure theirprosperity.21st Century has also revealed a brutal truth: a powerful a country can ensure its security againstanother great power and even a weak country can ascertain its security against a great power withsome kind of nuclear deterrent. But any level of military power coupled with advanced nuclearweapons cannot guarantee its security against even some weakest countries and non state actorssheltered in such countries and engaged in terrorism.But the world can and has to survive with this challenge. A proper coordination among all countriesincluding nuclear powered nations - followed by a common but long term frame-work for cooperativesecurity - including use of nuclear power for peaceful use, can best respond these challenges.Without any such comprehensive but just cooperative security governance - incorporating allcountries particularly in every region and generally worldwide, broader peace and security in worldcan hardly be attained. An international legal framework allowing collective actions and dialogue toaddress pressing nuclear challenges is perhaps the greatest urgency of the day.The Treaty on the Non Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) (1968) is a landmark instrument innuclear governance. So far it is one of the most effective international treaties, but it haslimitations and under its structural drawbacks many nations have attained dreadful nuclearcapability. Unfortunately at times it has stood merely as a helpless witness.Therefore a stronger, more effective regulatory international legal framework that builds trustand confidence among the nations and suits the incoming 21st century world order - with bindingauthority to arms verifications, nuclear safeguard, protective measures and global actions againstits violation is perhaps the greatest need of the day. Eurasia Review (December6, 2012) www.eurasiareview.com/author/keshav-prasad-bhattarai/