Hi, for those of you who haven’t seen my ‘about’ page, I also study Politics. I know this is a huge jump between subjects, but I realised how useful having a English Literature blog is, and decided to post questions on all my subjects. I hope this doesn’t cause inconvenience to anybody, if you would like to read only the English essays, please find the specific categories on the left hand side of the page. For more useful politics revision resources, I recommend visiting http://politics-blog.ashbournecollege.co.uk/unit-4-extended-themes-in-political-analysis/route-d-global-political-issues/human-rights/ The website displays a number of essay plans to previous essays- it’s really helpful
This question is from Topic 4D- Global Politics from the Edexcel spec.
What are the major reasons behind the proliferation of nuclear weapons? (15 marks)
Nuclear proliferation is the spread of nuclear weapons, and to a lesser extent refers to the spread of knowledge surrounding nuclear weaponry, as well as the wide dispersal of materials used to produce nuclear weapons such as uranium and plutonium. Certainly, nuclear proliferation has raised a number of concerns due to the major danger implications that such weapons could potentially cause. For this reason, it is important to control what and how many states maintain nuclear weapons, and states that could potentially be in the process of producing them. Indeed, the number of states holding nuclear weapons has risen in the past few for a number of reasons such as the fall of the Soviet Union and improved technology. There are two main types of proliferation: horizontal and vertical. Horizontal proliferation refers to the increased number of states possessing nuclear weapons, and vertical meaning the number of nuclear weaponry an individual state owns- Horizontal being the most concerning type of nuclear proliferation.
There have been a number of reasons that led to the horizontal widespread possession of nuclear weaponry, one being the fall of the USSR. When the Soviet Union collapsed, it meant that nuclear weapons were more widespread between the 15 Soviet republics and therefore risked not returning back to appropriate nuclear arsenals. In addition to nuclear weapons being spread between the several countries, the collapse of the Soviet Union also meant that a number of newly unemployed nuclear scientists with exceptional knowledge about nuclear weaponry had been dispersed around the country, and therefore have been likely to provide assistance in the build of nuclear weapons in other countries such as Pakistan and India.
In addition, deterrence has become a major contributor to the reasons proliferation of nuclear weapons. Due to the increased number of rogue states such as North Korea obtaining nuclear weaponry, it provides adequate reason for more peaceful nations to develop their own as a result of self defence. Due to the high scale degree of implications, both long and short term, that nuclear weapons cause such as it’s powerful ability to destroy a nation in moments, mean that conventional weaponry no longer has the same amount of significance and therefore in order to be able to remain the power to retaliate, states must posses a large enough threat of deterrence, in this case being nuclear weapons. Furthermore, regional tensions have also contributed to the spread of nuclear weapons;in order to balance another regional power, states value the importance of nuclear weaponry. This is seen in India and Pakistan, as well as Iraq and Iran.
Additionally, nuclear proliferation may have increased due to the nuclear weapons being seen as a guarantor of non intervention by more powerful states. In short, due to the dire potential outcomes of nuclear weapons, it could be argued that more powerful militaries are less likely to intervene as a result of triggering less stable nations into a nuclear war. This could be seen by the US who intervened against Iraq, yet, did not against North Korea. This shows that in order to build effective hard power to deter states from intervening, nations must posses nuclear weapons in order to ultimately sway any external intervention in the state. It could be argued that if in fact North Korea did not have the threat of nuclear weapons, that America may also have intervened in the fragile state.
The acquisition of nuclear weapons can also be seen as the threshold that distinguishes states and great powers. Therefore, nuclear proliferation may be a result of states aiming to achieve great/superpower status within the global hierarchy due to the current ownership of nuclear weaponry by the UN P5 members. It could be argued that due to all five members of the Security Council that hold a veto seat also possessing nuclear weapons, other states may also believe that in order to benefit from similar powers, that nuclear weapons exist as part of the criteria that determine the position of the state.
To what extent is countering terrorism compatible with upholding human rights?
In recent years, the correlation between upholding human rights as well as countering terrorism has been highly controversial as a result of USA’s “war on terror.” It could be argued that often, when attempting to counter terrorism, human rights may have to be breached, as intervening states may not always be able to serve in the whole population’s best interest. Some people argue that ultimately, the infringement of human rights is the “lesser evil” compared to the “greater evil”- letting terrorism continue. Others however, argue that human rights are the base entitlements of human beings and should under no circumstance be taken from somebody.
It could be argued that terrorism itself is a covert military threat, posed by people that hold extremist views and therefore unconventional terrorist threats must be dealt with by unconventional responses. It could be argued that it is less likely to counter terrorism if the government use methods of soft power such as negociation and therefore it is a more effective way of countering terrorist acts. In addition, this can be seen in USA’s development of Guantanomo bay, where it holds a number of people in order to counter the acts of violence in the United states,
Unconventional threats require unconventional responses. This is why the USA created an internment camp at Guantanamo Bay, where it interned hundreds of people without trial, subjecting some of them to forms of torture such as ‘waterboarding’ (simulated drowning).