Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, March 31st, 2020

Nuclear Proliferation


Nuclear Proliferation

Human beings, in the struggle for their survival, have gone to every possible extreme. They, both individually and in the form of some groups, have proved the Darwin's Theory of "Struggle for survival and survival of the fittest" correct in human society as well. There have been clashes and wars among human beings for the sake of the same survival. These clashes and wars have given rise to the invention and proliferation of different sorts of weapons.

These weapons, highly modernized because of the development in science and technology, can prove fatal to thousand of people upon their use. This has already been proved by the nuclear weapons used in Hirushima and Nagasaki in 1945. Though there have been considerable efforts since the incident regarding the non-proliferation movement, the world is still threatened by the uncontrollable strength of nuclear energy.

The research for the development of nuclear weapons basically started in World War II when the then powerful nations of the world turned violent in order to subjugate each other. The countries like the United States, United Kingdoms, Germany, Japan and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic all were in competition with each other to design a way to turn nuclear energy for use in evil intentions. But the only country that used it for the first time was the United States.

Afterwards, USSR tested its nuclear weapon in 1949, the United Kingdoms in 1952, France in 1960, People's Republic of China in 1964, India in 1974, Pakistan in 1988 and North Korea in 2006. There are some other countries as well, which though have not gone for nuclear tests, are believed to have acquired the capability. Though the people around the world seem to have realized the extent of its destruction, they are yet to exclude the world from the possibility of a nuclear war.

Today all the major countries in the world and the United Nations Organization have been striving for some sort of Nuclear Non-proliferation. Nuclear non-proliferation is basically aimed at stopping and/or checking the growth of nuclear weapons, fissile material, and weapons-applicable nuclear technology and information by different countries. This is more directed towards the states which are not yet recognized as "Nuclear Weapon States" by the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT).

This is basically discriminatory as the countries are divided into "Nuclear Weapon States" and "Non-nuclear Weapon States". The countries that acquired the nuclear weapons prior to 1968 are considered as the "Nuclear Weapon States" and are above any sort of sanctions, while the other countries (Non-nuclear Weapon States) which may strive to acquire, must go through sever scrutiny by those states. The basic question at this instant is, "Why are the other countries not allowed to have nuclear weapons, as they are threatened by the nuclear power of the 'Nuclear Weapon States'?" There can be a comprehensive discussion on the matter and there can be different answers but the only idea that stands true is that the nuclear weapon in possession of any country can be a threat to the world.

The efforts to control the proliferation of nuclear weapons started soon after the World War II, as the destruction in Japan called for urgency on the part of international community to guarantee survival in the times to come. The first step in that regard was the Baruch Plan in 1946. This Plan was named after the fist US representative in the United Nations Atomic Energy Commission (UNAEC) during the Truman Administration. The Plan was too strict and called for the verifiable dismantlement and destruction of the US nuclear arsenal.

It drew its contents from Acheson-Lilienthal Report of 1946. This Plan could not be put to practice. Another considerable contribution was made by US President Eisenhower through his "Atoms for Peace" proposal, which led to the education of thousand of scientist in nuclear science for the purpose of using it for peaceful objectives, but most of the same scientists were afterwards involved in the secret nuclear programs in their countries.

However, the Atoms for Peace proposal led to the creation of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in 1957. Ultimately the efforts that followed the creation of IAEA resulted in the endorsement of Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) by the UN General Assembly in 1968, through the Resolution 2373 (XXII) and its enforcement in March 1970. Since then IAEA has been involved (though with certain controversies) in keeping check on any sort of efforts that are made by different countries of the world regarding proliferation of nuclear weapons.

But the actions of IAEA has not been considered unbiased and are believed to serve the intentions of the powerful countries of the world that mostly support it financially. Though at present there are 189 countries that have signed the NPT, its credibility is yet to be verified considerably.

Definitely, nuclear weapons because of their capacity of mass destruction are a serious threat to mankind. No guarantee of secure existence can be established with the inclination of the countries towards the growth and development of this evil. But the arrangement for this purpose has to be made on strong and just footings. They should never be inclined towards the objectives of few powerful states of the world; otherwise they will be doomed to failure.

Furthermore, there has to be measures carried out to have proper control even on the peaceful atomic energy structures, especially after what happened in Fukushima, Japan, as the natural disasters can really turn the favors into threats.

Currently, IAEA has focused on this issue particularly and is making sure to enhance the role of IAEA in assuring that the nations of world comply with international reactor regulatory standards, while developing their nuclear plants. To ensure that, it has been reported that IAEA would "organize operational safety reviews ... of one nuclear power unit in ten over a period of three years", while the plants could be randomly checked, out of some 440 operating nuclear reactors in the world. This, if backed and implemented appropriately can be helpful in keeping a check on the nuclear race.

Prior to all the arrangements to curb the proliferation of nuclear weapons, it is most necessary that the efforts made must be based on justice and they must treat all the nations of the world equally and must be for the betterment and survival of human beings. Their ultimate motive should be to save humanity not the political gains.

Dilawar Sherzai is the permanent writer of the Daily outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at outlookafghanistan@gmail.com

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