The Threat of Nuclear War


As Japan commemorates 70 years since the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the threat of nuclear weapons is ever present.

Since the beginning of time, threats to civilisation have come and gone, from the plague to the Crusades, World Wars One and Two, the Cold War, the Korean and Vietnam Wars and today terrorism.

Once the US dropped the atomic bombs in Japan the détente that established itself between the East and West kept the peace and threat of nuclear war in check, but the potential for all out destruction of the human race was terrifying for people all over the world.

This balance of power has been recognised in other periods of history such the 1500s to 1800s when the British and European Empires grew to reach all corners of the earth. Today the core powers can be reflected in the United Nations security council of the United States, Britain and Europe, China and Russia.

The ‘G’ summits are also opportunities for these nations to interact and agree on balancing world power from economic, military, societal and cultural perspectives. Meanwhile NGOs, not for profit organisations and alliances all contribute to putting forward their own agenda to world leaders.

The US has reach into the Middle East, Asia and South America, while Russia tends to influence in the east and Eastern Europe and China in the South China Sea region. Most recently, Ukraine has been at the centre of conflict not just between the country’s own government and rebels, but also Russia which backs the rebels and Europe and America which backs the government.

Smaller, unstable nations are posing more of a threat to world power than the larger countries and regions. North Korea is one of the biggest threats to the rest of the world, since it has nuclear weapons and the systems to fire them, the Alaska Dispatch News reports.

Next is Pakistan. The country also has nuclear weapons, along with an unstable government. There are many extreme groups and factions operating in the country, which the government hasn’t been able to get rid of. If it fired its weapons it would be against its neighbour, India.

Rightly so, there the main powers are consensual about limiting nuclear weapons. The recent agreement with Iran has shown that the global powers are eager to ensure nations control and consent to an agreed method and quantity of using nuclear energy.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE