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Weapons Of Mass Destruction

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Many significant issues and controversies have arisen post Cold War regarding weapons proliferation. According to the United States State Department, Weapons proliferation is defined as "The spread of Weapons of Mass Destruction. Horizontal proliferation refers to the spread of WMD to states that have not previously possessed them. Vertical proliferation refers to an increase in the amount or devastating capacity of any currently existing WMD arsenals within a state." (1) The United Nations Security Council declared in January 1992 that the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction "...constitutes a threat to international peace and security." (Pg 92 POWMD) Currently the United Nations (UN) has 190 member countries, but only eight of them are known to have WMD capabilities. They are: the United States, Russia, Great Britain, France, China, India and Pakistan. The UN believes Israel and North Korea possess nuclear weapons capabilities, but there is no solid evidence. Weapons proliferation today is on the move, more than a dozen countries had started weapons programs in the past, but all were stopped prior to full-up capabilities coming online. Today several states and sub-national groups to include Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea and the Al-Queda are pursuing clandestine nuclear weapons programs. (2) These counties want prestige, the added security, domestic control and diplomatic bargaining power that comes with possessing WMD. They want a place on the "World stage" and are using the avenue of weapons proliferation to gain the power needed to get them on that stage.

In order to control Weapons Proliferation, policymakers must engage in the greatest possible international cooperation. As a prerequisite to obtaining that cooperation, they must act to strengthen international norms, or rules of acceptable behavior, against the acquisition and use of WMDs. To meet these conditions policy makers must give the goal of nonproliferation higher priority than they did during the Cold War. The United States cooperated in the development of the British nuclear weapons program; the Soviet Union helped China before the Sine-Soviet split in 1959; French nuclear assistance may have advanced the Israeli weapon program; China reportedly helped Pakistan; Israel reported helped South Africa. (Pg 92) Liberalism and Realism are two of the many examples that can explain the reasoning behind all the controversy associated with the UN and proliferant nations.

Liberalism stresses the possibilities for cooperation. According to Stephen Walt, Liberalism is defined in three ways. The first is argued that economic interdependence would discourage states from using force against each other because warfare would threaten each side's prosperity. A second, and highly publicized theory often associated with Woodrow Wilson is the spread of democracy. Wilson saw democracy as the key to world peace. The basis of this theory was democratic states would be inherently more peaceful than authoritarian states. The third and most recent theory on liberalism argued that international institutions such as the International Energy Agency and the International Monetary Fund could help overcome selfish state behavior, mainly by encouraging states to forego immediate gains for the greater benefits of enduring cooperation. (3)

Liberalism explains weapons proliferation through a vicious cycle. The main reason countries seek to obtain WMD is because they want diplomatic bargaining power. Obtaining WMD forces international institutions to deal with nations they once saw as inferior in a diplomatic and cooperative manner and to obtain interdependence. "Order in world politics emerges not from a balance of power but from the interactions between many layers of governing arrangements, comprising laws, agreed norms, international regimes, and institutional rules." (4) Liberalism is based on many themes. Three significant themes include: human beings are perfectible, democracy is necessary for the perfectibility to develop, and ideas matter. (5) Liberalism is all about the big picture, it describes world politics and many factors are involved in this complex system. There is not one solid concept or basic logic for liberalism, but in reality many. Several other key factors are environmental issues, technological and economic issues.

The most appropriate theory for the advancement of all nations is liberalism. Education and a complete understanding of the democratic approach governance will ultimately lead to the unity of the nations. Despite liberalism's potential to curb weapons proliferation current events demonstrate that the US and other world powers do not operate under this dynamic.

The most powerful nations predominate and undertake a competitive or realism approach to sustaining power. Each nation believes it must always stay one rung above the other. History has shown that nations will do whatever it takes to dominate all aspects of economic, military and technological advancements. This is proven by the race to develop unilateral technological advancements. The common viewpoint of these nations is simply that they are "right" while others are wrong. They use their competitive nature to influence other countries with opinions greatly differing from one another. "All propaganda must be so popular and on such an intellectual level, that even the most stupid of those toward whom it is directed will understand it... Through clever and constant application of propaganda, people can be made to see paradise as hell, and also the other way around, to consider the most wretched sort of life as paradise." (9) Imposing a singular set of ideals and morals to other nations can lead to the downfall of its political or social structure.

Liberalism doesn't really have any guidance for weapons proliferation. Many of the same issues we faced after the fall of the Soviet Union still persist today. We are continuously engaging in conflicts all over the world, Somalia-Mogadishu, Bosnia, theBalkans, Africa, Iraq, Iran, Liberia just to name a few. Many tensions remain in all parts of the world including WMDs. The United States can help limit proliferation by controlling its own exports and by trying to block aid from other countries to proliferants. However, imposing restraints on proliferants requires multilateral cooperation to have a chance at being effective. It is not something one group, one country, or one organization will be able to fully control; it is something we can only hope to tame now and in the near future for all the world's sake. Abraham Lincoln once said, "united we stand, divided we fall." This statement is



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