Our Greatest Threat: The Coming Nuclear Crisis by Douglas Roche Essay

Published: 2020-04-22 15:27:48
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The article discussed the nuclear crisis the world currently faces, as powerful countries continue to amass nuclear weapons. The article first appeared in Commonwealth Foundation in 2004. Author Roche pointed out several attempts in addressing the problem, but reality has shown that no powerful country is willing to give up its nuclear arms because these have been their security against war and outside attacks.

The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is an example of the attempt to address the problem. However, the world cannot expect countries such as the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, India, Pakistan, and Israel to eliminate their nuclear arsenals just like that.

It is in these countries interests to heed the call of the International Court of Justice and pursue comprehensive negotiations leading to the gradual elimination of nuclear weapons. While a Nuclear Test Ban Treaty would be achieved, none of the promises to eliminate weapons have been kept. In NPTs 2000 review, all states committed to Thirteen Practical Steps to eliminate nuclear weapons. However, nuclear powers faltered again and bitterness set in.

Furthermore, the Canberra Commission of 1996 has stated that the nuclear weapons destructiveness is so great that these weapons have no military utility against a comparably equipped opponent; and that the International Atomic Energy Agency has maintained an inspection system and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization has maintained a monitoring system for such weapons.

In all of these, the United States is in the frontline of the stalemate. But Bush administrations policy contradicts the NPT with its threatening of the use of nuclear weapons against countries that do not possess nuclear weapons in such situations the United States calls justifiable in Arab-Israeli conflict, in conflict with China over Taiwan, in North Korean attack on South Korea, and in attack on Israel by Iraq or another neighbor.

Today, more countries include nuclear weapons as part of a war-fighting strategy, which deepens this crisis even more. Another factor that adds to the problem is the specter of nuclear terrorism. This is why Roche stressed the fact that nuclear weapons will continue to proliferate unless the most powerful nations give up their nuclear weapons, which according to them are essential for their own security.

Nuclear weapons for whatever purpose foster security perhaps only for a countrys government and its drive to protect its borders and interests. But they foster threat and fear for that countrys citizens as well as to the opponent countries citizens. These weapons, when used against human lives, particularly for war-fighting strategies, will create more chaos and war than what the world currently experiences. But its an impossibility to hear the news of powerful countries giving up their nuclear weapons. This is why as ordinary citizens of the world trying to live normal lives, we can only hope and pray that the situation does not get worse and more threatening.

Summary of Success without Victory by James Fallows

            The article discussed the three main points, namely, the ineffectiveness and inefficiency of Homeland security, the inactive participation in the war-of-ideas battle, and the loose-nukes problem that could threaten large number of people. The article first appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, January/February 2005. Author Fallows discussed his contentions by stressing various facts and quotations from authorities, proving the many discourses available in trying to address the situation. He inserted his own views and solutions as to how the problems can be efficiently and effectively addressed.

            Fallows maintained that much of the problem have been on the constrained public discourse, instead of presenting sensible answers. Various detailed action plans and recommendations have been laid out by government offices, educational institutions, and independent researchers, in answer to the problems posed after the 9/11 incident. However, none has been brave and serious to present the few real dangers these problems bring.

            One of these unserious and ineffective ways in addressing the problem has been the Homeland security measures, particularly how airport security spends $4 billion yearly in screening lines, checking tickets, letting children take off their shoes, and all other so-called security protocols. Instead of ensuring security, these measures actually remind Americans how much they have to fear and make them more vulnerable.

This is because much of the security is focused just on airports, instead of the roads, bridges, subways, tunnels, railroads, ports, and other facilities through which most of the nations people and commerce move. The large sum of money allocated for airline passengers could be spent wisely if applied to the whole of the transportation industry. Moreover, the Department of Homeland Security has given needless grants to some states well in fact money should be divided equally among states, regardless of population or threat level.

            In answer to these issues, Fallows suggested for private firms office buildings to eliminate the ID checks in parking areas and the sign-in sheets; for the government to start issuing visas the way it did prior the 9/11 incident, which if continued will impede economic growth for the United States; and for the U.S. to undertake a vulnerability study, to prevent attacks where it can, specifically improving public health services that are in the frontline of biological attack, and to repair its physical infrastructure.

            Furthermore, the post-9/11 revealed how the U.S. has lost its strategic communications with the Muslim world. Instead of gaining Muslims trust that the American government defends their freedom and justice, the U.S. actually lost their hearts and minds. It is Osama bin Laden and other insurgents who have won their trusts because studies have shown that bin Ladens favorability rate escalated to 67 percent compared to that of President George Bushs that plummeted to seven percent.

            In answer to this, Fallows suggested that the U.S. needs to understand the movement it is fighting as well as the Islamic public that will either shelter or impede terrorists. Moreover, the U.S could also demonstrate sympathy for and involvement in Muslim societies by refuting the vitriol machine al-Jazeera is broadcasting.

The last major problem pointed out by Fallows is the issue of loose nukes that could instantly kill a number of lives. Howard Baker, a former Republican Senate majority leader, and Lloyd Cutler, a former Democratic White House counsel, stated in a January 2001 report that, the most urgent unmet national security threat to the U.S. today is the threat posed by weapons of mass destruction that could be stolen and sold to terrorists and used against the U.S. Terrorists could either buy smuggled nuclear materials from Soviet arsenal or make their own warheads.

In solution, Fallows recommended implementing a drastic emergency campaign to bring Soviet loose nukes under control, specifically hiring former Soviet scientists for the task; rigid supervision of all existing fissile material, which, according to Ashton Carter, assistant secretary of defense during Clintons administration, should be locked up and treated as if it were already a bomb; and diplomatic, economic, and military measures to prevent the manufacture of any new fissile material.

Fallows has pointed out significant information on how present and future American paranoia and fear caused by 9/11 could be minimized. If we think bin Laden and other insurgents were unsuccessful in their goal to destroy our freedom, we are mistaken because they have succeeded in fostering terror what terrorism primarily and truly aims to do. Not that we should not fear at all; its just that we should not be too paranoid and extra careful because we can never be too cautious. It is difficult to live normally like we used to prior 9/11, but thats what we ought to do so that we will all function effectively and efficiently for our society and for the future generations that will come after us.

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