Why and how are nuclear weapons relevant to world politics in the late 1990's?

Essay by plus73University, Bachelor'sC, July 2004

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Why and how are nuclear weapons relevant to world politics in the late 1990's?

The detonation of the first nuclear bomb by the United States in 1945 totally transformed the nature of military and political relations on the global scene. There have been various dilemmas resulting from the threats of nuclear weapons since 1945 which has placed immense pressure upon the international system, and the consequences of serious conflagration could ultimately threaten the existence of the all species. Consequently the actions of traditional State actors concerning this issue have been closely scrutinised over the years and has demonstrated the need for greater co-operation between them if stability and order is to be brought to the World. More recently however the nuclear weapons debate has also illustrated how the actions of non-State actors affects the system of world politics. Demonstrating that this problem or issue extends beyond merely the actions of States and that there has been the development of a mixed actor system, where non-governmental organisation have as much responsibility to solving problems and creating them as do States.

The nuclear weapons debate centres mainly on the issue of security. States seek to obtain and develop weapons of mass destruction in order to protect and preserve national security. While other States see the armament of actors as a threat to their own security. It is widely accepted that there have been three phases to the process and motivations for nuclear armament. Directly after the Second World War States researched into their own development of nuclear weapons as they were seen as war fighting or war winning weapons. The evolution of the notion mutually assured destruction (MAD) however has meant that nuclear weapons role changed significantly to that of deterrence. More recently States have begun to believe that by becoming a...