Nuclear Superpowers

International Relations / April 23, 2015 / No Comments /
This paper looks at the world’s leading nuclear superpowers.

The writer asks the question whether a country can remain superpower if it does not have nuclear weapons. A few countries are analyzed such as United States, Soviet Union, Japan and Korea. It also looks at the move for nuclear proliferation and examines this trend.

Table of Contents:
I. Question and Thesis
II. The Move to Multipolar Notions of Power in the World
III. The Specific Example of the Soviet Union: Military Strength, Economic Failure
IV. Japan: A Small Land still Rising
V. Nuclear Proliferation
VI. The Middle East, The Common Market;Uncertain Kinds of Economic Strength, Millennial Ways of Becoming a World Power.
V. Conclusion
The cost of developing a nuclear capability, the political costs associated with their use, and the difficulty of hiding their development make them less likely to emerge as a primary method of state policy, says the U.S. Commission of National Security for the 21st Century. Thus we are assured we have less to fear than we ever had from a nation using a nuclear threat as a deterrent. (51) As any good student of rational-actor theory knows, the fear and threat of actual nuclear war is so great, it would be ridiculous, not to say M.A.D. for any nation to embark upon mutual destruction with another nation, should that other nation have nuclear weapons.

This attitude discounts the increasing concern over the proliferation of nuclear weapons among nations in a world not dominated on every level by two major nuclear powers. It also does not take into consideration the possibilities of actors with vastly different interests than nations, such as terrorist groups, gaining access to such weapons. And from a less vital point of view security-wise, but of equal theoretical interest is the notion of how nuclear weapons function as bargaining chips in negotiation, regardless of their likely use as weapons, and as symbolic examples of state power.”


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