Nuclear Disarmament: Giving Up The Ace In The Sleeve

It is estimated that fifty nuclear weapons would be enough to destroy civilization around the world, but today’s global nuclear arsenal counts up to 23,000 warheads. Most of them belong to Russia and the USA, and some to countries that can be trusted to only use them as a deterrence method. However, a few are owned by countries and non-state actors who may decide one day to destroy their enemies thus starting a war which is likely to severely affect life on Earth. For this reason, nuclear disarmament has now become a serious goal for the near future.

The call for nuclear abolition expanded throughout the world and brought together numerous politicians and statesmen, such as former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, several British politicians, Poland’s former president Lech Walesa and many others. At the end of 2008, a diverse group of prominent international figures founded Global Zero, an organization which fights for the complete abolition of the worldwide nuclear arsenal by 2030.

Pressured by international voices to take the lead in the nuclear disarmament process, the USA agreed to reduce the number of nuclear weapons. In his 2009 Prague address, Obama explained that it was crucial to abolish nuclear weapons in order to insure the future of mankind. He furthermore added that, while the risk of a nuclear war decreased, the risk of an attack is higher than ever. This is because terrorist groups are determined to do whatever necessary in order to acquire such a weapon- and they intend to use it as soon as they have it. However, this promise seems unlikely to become a reality in the near future as countries such as North Korea, China, Iran and India are unlikely to give up their nuclear weapons, but on the contrary, they pursue greater nuclear capability and continue to conduct test after test.

Even though some believe that nuclear warheads are a relic of the Cold War, these threatening weapons will unfortunately continue to represent the ace in the sleeve in the geopolitical competition. There may come a day when humanity will generally agree to give up nuclear weapons entirely, but this day is nowhere near and perhaps, it will take a major catastrophe to push them to do so.