“The world would be a better place if” Mutual Assured Destruction. Nuclear holocaust. The destruction of whole nations in the blink of an eye. We cannot hide from the threat that nuclear weapons pose to humanity and all life. These are not ordinary weapons, but instruments of mass annihilation that could destroy civilization and end all life on Earth. Nuclear weapons are morally and legally unjustifiable.
They destroy indiscriminately – soldiers and civilians; men, women and children; the aged and the newly born; the healthy and the infirm. The world would be a far safer and better place if the Pandora’s Box of nuclear weapons had never been opened. Many historians argue that the United States began the Cold War by ending World War II with the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan. Four years later, on August 9, 1949, the Soviet Union developed its own nuclear weapons. At the time, both sides lacked the means to effectively use the nuclear devices against each other.
However, with the development of aircraft like the B-36 Peacemaker, both sides were gaining more ability to deliver nuclear weapons effectively. The official nuclear policy of the United States was one of “massive retaliation”, as coined by President Eisenhower, which called for massive nuclear attack against the Soviet Union if they were to invade Europe. It was only with the advent of ballistic missile submarines, starting with the George Washington class submarine in 1959, that a survivable nuclear force became possible and that a second strike capability became credible. It was generally assumed that any combat in Europe would end with apocalyptic conclusions.
An idea that has not sunk into the politicians and generals of the nuclear powers skulls is the fact that nuclear weapons are expensive. In 1983, a missile submarine cost more than the education budgets of twenty-three 3rd world countries. A comparison for nuclear weapons would be akin to that of computers: It becomes obsolete very quickly, and the state of the art technology used is astronomically maintenance expensive.
Building nuclear weapons is like dumping your money in a hole: It is not going to be coming back. The world would be a far safer place had nuclear weapons not been developed. The possibilities of a small terrorist cell building a nuclear bomb and detonating it in a city are probable within the next twenty years. The cost in repairs and human life would have been astronomical if such an event happened in a major metropolitan area. An atomic bomb of 150 kilotons would be enough to kill roughly a million people if set off in a large city, such as New York. Cities with a higher population density (I.
e., Tokyo), would have a much higher toll. Ten years have now passed since the end of the Cold War, and yet nuclear weapons continue to cloud humanity’s future. The only way to assure that nuclear weapons will not be used again is to abolish them. There is no middle ground in this instance.
Nuclear weapons are expensive. They have the capability to eradicate the entire human race. They can also be put into the hands of motivated terrorist cells to wreak untold havoc upon the world. It would have better if they had never been made.