Nuclear Non-Proliferation within the International Arena:
An assessment on major solutions from both a realist and liberal perspective
As defined by Christoph Bluth from the Political Studies Association, the proliferation of nuclear weapons is “widely perceived by political leaders as one of the major problems of global security in the contemporary era” (Bluth, 2012). This is clear by the catalog of concern and actions taken by governments around the world to address the issue of nuclear weaponry. With more than 22,000 nuclear weapons in existence today, international law must try to unite with nations in order to control, constrain and potentially eliminate nuclear weapons (Bluth, 2012). The following essay will examine nuclear non-proliferation within the context of both a realist and liberal view in international relations as well as examine potential solutions to the problem.
Before discussing both standpoints on the issues, it’s important to look at the backstory of nuclear weapons. The history of nuclear weapons began with the discovery of radioactive elements: radium, polonium and uranium (Schlosser, 2014). These in turn led two German scientists, Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassman, to the discovery of nuclear fission and fusion. During World War II the German’s active research on the atomic bomb had prompted the US to secretly build our own atomic bomb. The first atomic device was exploded at a site near Alamogordo New Mexico on July 16, 1945. This successful test had lead both US and Britain to believe and agree that the atomic bomb could bring about Japanese’ surrender without an invasion and without Soviet’s help. The first atomic bomb was dropped in Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 followed by another in Nagasaki, Japan on August 9, 1945. The atomic bombs killed 140,000 civilians in Hiroshima and Nagasaki (Gronlund, 2014).
Despite the manifestation of the atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the building of atomic bombs continues. In 1949, The Soviet Union detonated their first nuclear bomb surprising the US military and scientists. To prevent Soviet Union’s influence in the world, the US then substantially built up its conventional and nuclear forces (Lifton, 2014).
In 1996, the International Court of Justice issued an opinion that the use of nuclear weapons is “scarcely reconcilable” with international human law and said that nations have obligations to “pursue good-faith negotiations leading to disarmament” (Bluth, 2012). However, previously the Non-Proliferation treaty (NPT) was signed in 1968 as a measure to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. By 1986, more than 130 countries had ratified the NPT. The Test Ban Treaty was signed in 1963 to prohibit nuclear testing in the atmosphere, outer space and under water. In the 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference reaffirmed the need for all states to comply with international humanitarian law, which governs the use of nuclear weapons as well as conventional weapons...