The Ethics and Moral Dilemma of Creating a Nuclear Weapon

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The nuclear weapons are still the most dangerous mechanism of defense that humans created in decades able to destroy a whole country and bring catastrophically results for present and future generations because of their magnitude. The creation of this mortal weapon begins when United States and the Soviet Union were racing at creating those nuclear bombs and proving which country develop better weapons. Scientists created the nuclear weapon during the World War II and until today it has been used only two times, both times used by United States against Japan because they didn’t want to surrender under United States army and this is how it ends World War II. The main cause of creating the first atomic bomb was the Americans being intimidated by german scientists who supposedly were creating nuclear weapons since the 1930s so they decided to produce their own mortal weapon by the code name of “The Manhattan Project” that cost around US$23 billion during the World War II. Franklin Roosevelt in 1942 was the president at that time of the United States and the person who authorized american scientists to start their project under the direction of J. Robert Oppenheimer.

After two years of research, they have already created two different types of atomic bombs called “The Little Boy” based on uranium and “The Fat Man” based on plutonium. In a dessert location near to New Mexico, american scientists realized their first successful detonation of the atomic bomb known as the Trinity Test. As we already explain, United states decides to attack Japan because the president Harry Truman on his Potsdam Declaration threats Japan and told their troops to surrender, and his exact words were “prompt and utter destruction” (Harry Truman) if they won’t obey. Japan showed resistance and on August 6, 1945, United States dropped the “Little boy”, one of the bombs, from a plane on the city of Hiroshima located in Japan. Immediately when the bomb exploded brought catastrophically disasters such as leveling five square miles of the city leaving a high radiation level and killing 80,000 people at that precisely moment, then tens of thousands died from the high radiation exposure that they went through

After this event, Truman said “We are now prepared to obliterate more rapidly and completely every productive enterprise the Japanese have above ground in any city. We shall destroy their docks, their factories, and their communications. Let there be no mistake; we shall completely destroy Japan’s power to make war”. (Harry Truman, August 6, 1945) This action did not stop Japan and that was the reason that makes United States drop the second atomic bomb three days later on Nagasaki but this a mistake because at first US wanted to attack Kokura because in that city Japan had their newest munitions plants but smoke cover the sky above Kokura and they decided to attack the second target in mind that was Nagasaki, killing more than 40,000 people on the moment of the impact. After those two catastrophical attacks, the Japanese Emperor Hirohito announced his country surrender on August 15 and this is the tragic ending of the World War II. After the World War II ended, The United States were the only country that had access to nuclear weapons in the world until the soviets decided to acquire knowledge and finally tested their first nuclear warhead in august 29, 1949, allowing them to be at the same level as the United States. In response to that, in 1950 US decided to create a new program in order to develop more advance thermonuclear weapons.

After this, the arms race begun and nuclear testing became the aim of several countries, especially the Soviet Union and The United States. At that time the world was divided into two parts, the capitalists and the communists, giving rise to another conflict, The Cold War, which lasted more than thirty years. One of the most critical moments of this conflict was the Cuban Missile Crisis, occurred in October 1962. This began when the United States discovered that the Soviet Union deployed nuclear weapons in Cuban territory, which was only 200 kilometers away from the Florida peninsula. This was the most critical moment of tension and the closest situation for both powers to declare nuclear war to each other. After realizing the potential catastrophe, the OAS decided to intervene for insistence of the US government, so they sanctioned Cuba by imposing a maritime blockade. In October 22, 1962, the president John F. Kennedy said in a message by television which lasted 17 minutes, “As a necessary military precaution, I have reinforced our base at Guantanamo, evacuated today the dependents of our personnel there, and ordered additional military units to be on a standby alert basis”. This was an statement that said that The United States was ready to use their military forces in order to eliminate the nuclear threat. After days, in which a possible nuclear war was believed, both powers decided to reach an agreement: the soviets removed their nuclear weapons from Cuba and in exchange The United States promised not to invade Cuba and also removed their nuclear bases from Italy. This crisis is a perfect example of realism, and how the idealist thinking failed.

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First, the statism, it is known that in this theory the states are the most important actors, and during the cold war the two principal actors were the US and the URSS. These two countries were at that time the most powerful in the world and the main priority of their leaders were the assurance and survival of their states. Moreover, this terrible moment of the history showed that human nature is fixed and selfish, because these two powers only cared about the welfare of their country. They didn’t care how much they affected the rest of the world and were just thinking about their own needs and power in order to assure their survival. Also, the power that these actors had, was measured by its economy, its politics and the most important point, its military capabilities. All of these aspects led the world to one of the most important military conflicts of the last century.

Countries like Iran have a long chronology with issues regarding nuclear energy, then a recount of the most important events that occurred in the last two centuries: in 1957, US and Iran sign a civil nuclear cooperation agreement as part of the US Atoms for Peace Program, this agreement which provides for technical assistance and the lease of several kilograms of enriched uranium, also calls for cooperation on research on the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. —US Department of State, ‘Atoms for Peace Agreement with Iran,’ Department of State Bulletin 36 (15 April 1957), p. 629; in Daniel Poneman, Nuclear Power in the Developing World (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1982), p. 84. At the beginning of the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union were equivalently armed enough to start a Nuclear War, since the last nuclear attacks at in Hiroshima (August 6) and Nagasaki (August 9), with the aid of the realistic doctrine called MAD (Mutual Assured Destruction). Which is considered as a military and national security tactic. Kurt Becker mentions that “the doctrine in which such weapons if they are used would cause the destruction of the attacker, because if it were applied, it could prevent future conflicts and a spread of radiation through the earth. But if nuclear power is attacked, MAD has failed”. (Becker, April, 2013). If the United States or the USSR had developed a better technology with which they can protect and win, the other party would be forced to return the attack feeling weak. In addition to this, MAD defines as a theoretical model of game, in which each power reaches a Nash equilibrium, that is none has something to gain by altering the strategies. This Doctrine is Structural Realism, a taxonomy of Realism. Consist in that cause of anarchy, that means the states have to be aware of the issues of security, the causes and effects of wars.

Almost ten years later, in 1968 Iran sings the NPT (Non – Proliferation Treaty) on the day it is opened for signature. Then, Islamic Revolution came in 1979, Iran stopped receiving uranium because the United States had stopped administering it, so that in the next decades Iran will sign agreements with other nations, Russia is also included. After that, in 1998 basically Bill Clinton, in that moments USA’s president, signed a law that imposed barriers on entities that have helped Iran’s nuclear program, while Iran allied itself with Russia by boosting its nuclear cooperation. On more recently dates, in 2003 the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) accused Iran of hiding its nuclear activities even though Iran insisted it hadn’t been behind atomic bombs. Three years later, in 2006, the IAEA referred Iran’s nuclear program to the United States Nations Security Council. In 2012 came a series of assassinations of high-level nuclear scientists in Iran; the Israeli President, Benjamin Netanyahu gave a memorable speech to UN criticism Iran this speech was in which the red line was drawn on the bomb.

As explained before, many countries signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty in order to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons between them. However, North Korea’s nuclear desire that came up after the Korean War put up resistance. The timeline of the actions taken by North Korea to get away from the NPT is striking. After signing the NPT in 1985, North Korea was given a period of time to make some regulations since the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) found out that North Korea made false declarations about its nuclear activities in 1992. As a fact, on the same year, North and South Korea act with the Denuclearization treat that obligates them to use their nuclear weapons in situations that can lead to peaceful purposes. The discoveries led North Korea to announce its intention to withdraw from the NPT. In spite to prevent that action, US tried to negotiate with North Korea the entrance of IAEA inspectors in exchange for US light water reactors and energy assistance. This action was called the “Agreed Framework”. In an statement, North Korea was prepared to meet the demands of the International Atomic Energy Agency. It’s important to notice how North Korea begun to think in a realist way. The survival element led this country to agree with the IAEA in order to obtain a guarantee against invasion. However, that was an unsuccessful action.

During 1994, many actions made by North Korea, such as the refusal to let the IAEA inspectors be present in the plutonium reprocessing activities and the allegations made by the CIA about the production of two nuclear weapons that were not declared, North Korea abandoned the NPT in January 2003. Its intention was to start the Six-Party Talks with China, Japan, South Korea and US to find a diplomatic solution to the country’s nuclear program. His liberal desire was to cooperate with the other countries to create common legal frameworks and guide the world through a peace process. North Korea was willing to “get rid of all their nuclear programs…[and] stop their missile exports.” (Pyongyang, April 2003). On August 2003, the group met in Beijing to begin with the first talk. North Korea called for US to make a “non-aggression treaty” in return for the destruction of a “nuclear facility”. In 2006, North Korea made its first nuclear test which was a shocking surprise for the other members of the Six-Party. The offensive actions between North Korea and any other country or organization are endless since it’s almost impossible to make an agreement. The nuclear crisis on the Korean side gave chances for the governments to strengthen non-proliferation policies, and also, it created opportunities to manage this kind of situations in a better way.

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