World War II Essay
World War II
Since the emergence of nuclear weapons at the end of World War II, it has been the policy of the United States to prevent the proliferation of such weapons to as great an extent as possible. Many mechanisms and international bodies were set up to meet this challenge, most notably the Atoms for Peace program and the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty. The policy of non-proliferation has been remarkably successful when considering that the genie of nuclear technology and know-how is irreversibly out of the bottle.
Although dozens of nations possess the wealth and infrastructure to pursue nuclear weaponry, it is generally agreed that only nine have pursued and obtained such a capability. The nuclear armed states are the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, France, and China), Pakistan, India, Israel, and North Korea. When assessing why Iran should be denied nuclear weapons, we must assess why such a development would be fundamentally more threatening to the United States than, for example, France possessing the same weapons.
If America’s ideal were to hold, America would be the only nuclear-armed nation and would downsize its arsenal accordingly. Since many other nations have decided that it is in their interest to possess such weapons, however, we must look instead to making distinctions between these nations. If the United States cannot keep nuclear weapons from all governments, it must instead come up with a shorter list of nations which absolutely must be denied these weapons. A nuclear-armed United Kingdom does not threaten America’s interests or security. A nuclear-armed Iran would.
When stipulating why Iran must be denied nuclear weapons capability, we must focus on two aspects. The first aspect is the nature of the regime and the second is the regime’s relationship with non-state actors. The Islamic Republic of Iran is fundamentally hostile to the United States, the Great Satan. While much of the paranoia and hostility from the Iranians understandably stems from the CIA’s role in overthrowing the democratically elected prime minister of Iran in 1953 , the United States cannot atone for its past transgressions by allowing the Iranian regime to acquire the world’s deadliest weapons.
While Iran is more democratic and open than most states in the Middle East, it is still dominated by an ideological elite. Nothing in Iran is said or done without the approbation of the ayatollahs. The current president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, is Iran’s face to the world, but the nature of the regime means that the real power behind Ahmedinejad’s throne is the ayatollahs. Ahmedinejad has publicly called for Israel to be “wiped from the map”. Much has been said about the intricacies of the Persian language and the ambiguous translation of the statement, but the intent is clear.
While the statement may not have been an overt threat of nuclear holocaust, it was at the very least a signal that the government in Israel is viewed as illegitimate by Iran. It is the most open secret in the Middle East that Israel has nuclear weapons, and it is also clear that Israel will do anything in its power to prevent any hostile states from acquiring similar capabilities. Saddam Hussein learned this lesson the hard way in 1981, when Israel destroyed his nuclear reactor outside of Baghdad in a surprise attack that bordered on the suicidal for the Israeli pilots.
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