Problem

Nuclear arms race

Other Names:
Nuclear rivalry among nations
Nuclear rivalry between countries
Nature:
Relationships between the world's major military alliances are in danger of becoming more confrontational. There is a lack of political contact and communication among all the nuclear weapons powers. This blind nuclear arms race prevents securing any real progress on disarmament. In this context of heightened tensions and a continuing build-up of nuclear arsenals, the future of civilization as we know it could be threatened. No countries nor peoples would be insulated from that fate.
Incidence:
According to several post 1991 Gulf War reports, countries such as India and Pakistan accelerated chemical weapons programmes in response Iraq's success in drawing public attention with poison gas capability. A 1993 report suggests the breakup of the former Soviet Union may have placed previously hidden Soviet nuclear weapons materials into the hands of North Korea, Iran and Iraq. All three countries allegedly made attempts to obtain the services of former Soviet weapons scientists and the materials they produced.
Claim:
No arms control or disarmament treaty currently envisaged will in any way restrain the nuclear arms race. Currently foreseen developments in nuclear weapon technologies will lead to perceptions that a considerable advantage, even a "nuclear victory" can be had from a pre-emptive nuclear attack. The acquisition of a first-strike nuclear capability will therefore considerably increase the risk of nuclear war even if there is an East-West détente.
Counter Claim:
If all nuclear weapons evaporated today, peace would not be the result. Political opponents would find alternative methods for fighting each other with chemical or biological weapons. The problem is neither the hardware not the race to produce more but the systems of political rivalry, the political, economic and social systems that support it and the psychological needs that it meets.
Values:
Rivalry
Problem Type:
D: Detailed problems
Date of last update
02.12.1999 – 00:00 CET
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