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Arms Control: A Snap Back To Reality

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Arms Control: A Snap Back To Reality

Total disarmament suggests that we can all achieve peace and harmony if we just cooperate and forget about weapons. That's so easy to say, but is it even feasible? I assume we have all heard of the saying "anything's possible in this world," but with all that has been happening in this world lately, can we even see that possibility?

The two World Wars created a massive destruction to the countries involved, and even to those that weren't. The whole world was indeed affected. Some people might say "Let what happened in the past stay in the past," but what if history were to repeat itself? We should always be ready for the worst, especially in terms of defending our nation's interests. We can limit our arsenal to weapons used merely for defense. Weapons of mass destruction such as nuclear weapons and other biological weapons are the ones that should be banned or disarmed because they are clearly for offensive use and could cause unreasonable damage to the world.

All of these and more resulted in the creation of arms control, an act that works better in the world today, but what really is arms control?

Arms control, which was a term made by scientists and politicians looking to prevent a nuclear war, is a general term for the limitations upon the advancement, storage, production, propagation and usage of weapons, especially those that cause massive destruction. It is typically exercised under diplomacy, with the use of treaties and agreements among acquiescent participants in imposing such restrictions. A participant nation or a group of them may also encompass efforts in enforcing such limitations to non-consenting countries.

On a national note, arms control could also aggregate to having programs that limit a private citizen's access to weapons. It is also referred to as gun politics. This somehow causes conflicts on a citizen's right to firearms as stated and protected in the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution.

It is also used more narrowly to refer to specific steps aimed at managing an escalating arms competition between two actors. (Smith http://www.beyondintractability.org/essay/arms_control) For instance, in the Cold War (1945-1991) between the United States and the Soviet Union that started from conflicting ideas in rebuilding the postwar world, the two nations entered into an arms control agreement to eliminate the possibilty of a nuclear attack thus reducing tensions between them.

Arms control is often mistaken as synonymous with disarmament which is not always true. Arms control doesn't eliminate the current weapons, rather it restricts the future development, production and use.

The act of arms control wasn't established overnight. It has a very long history. Arms control has been used in different ways by different nations, societies and organizations. One of the first recorded attempts goes way back in ancient Greece as such a ruling was made and used by the Amphictyonic League, a religious organization, after the Phocians captured Delphi and a sacred war was declared after. The Roman Catholic Church also had a role in limiting the means of warfare. A ruling called 989 Peace of God protected all noncombatants, agragarian and economic facilities, and the property of the church from war. Violence among Christians was prevented by the 1027 Truce of God. Lastly, the Second Lateran Council in 1139 barred the use of crossbows against fellow Christians, but this did not apply against non-Christians.

As times passed and more advanced firearms were developed, the devastation caused by war worsened. The furthermore growing brutality and callousness of warfare resulted to the efforts of creating and formalising the rules of war. Humane treatment of the prisoners of war and the protection of the innocent and their properties were some of the rules applied. Though during these periods until the beginning of the 19th century few formal arms control agreements were recorded, except for theoretical proposals and those imposed on defeated armies.

There have been so many efforts to enforce of arms control among nations. This was proven by the several treaties and agreements attempted and made over time. The 1817 Rush-Bagot Treaty between the United States and the United Kingdom was the first arms control treaty of what can be considered the modern industrial era. This treaty led to the demilitarisation of the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain region of North America. The 1871 Treaty of Washington followed and signed by both the United States and the United Kingdom which resulted in total demilitarisation.

Arms control is up to now applicable. In fact, it keeps up better with the world today than disarmament. Technology is fast-rising and cannot be controlled exclusively through military action or other limited one-sided means. More advanced technologies such as nuclear and biological weaponries are big threats to mankind. Technology could also be used to attack in different ways. We may be weapon-free, but other technological advancements that do not involve bullets or explosions and kill people could be used as weapons too. One example is hacking. This act could be used to take and destroy information from the opponent's systems. Secret files and documents could be taken by this act and might never be retrieved. There are also many new small arms developed through technology that contribute to so many civilian conflicts.

The fast-growing technology isn't the only thing that defines the world today. Who could forget terrorism? Terrorism is a worldwide problem nowadays, and proper defensive measures should be attained. It is not that safe to go out anymore lately because of the so many threats made by terrorists. One attack that should really alarm us is the 9/11 World Trade Center Bombing. We can't just stand around and watch another terrorist attack. We should also protect ourselves. We should act and do the proper preventive measures. If what it takes is to fight back, for the welfare of the majority and innocent, then so be it. As long as there is terrorism, we are unsafe.

One act of terrorism is the bomb threats. We get a lot of that in the Philippines. Just recently in Mindanao as reported by the newspaper Inquirer, suicide bombers of terrorist groups Jemaah Islamaiyah and Abu Sayyaf were reportedly roaming around the provinces and could attack anytime soon. These kinds of threats could really destroy peace in such places. As long as there threats like this, there won't be any peace of mind

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