Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Nuclear Weapons...who should have them?

Anyone reading the newspaper, listening to the radio or watching television will know that one of the hottest discussion topics in the world today is North Korea becoming a nuclear power after their (supposedly) partially-successful nuclear detonation experiment held on October 9 2006. The world went into shock because of the unspoken consequences (horrors!!!) that this Stalinist country could unleash with their new-found power. Countries, especially USA, were quick to condemn this improvised country.

In my mind, my first reaction was fear and I thought to myself:"Damn the North Koreans! Their people are living in poverty, half starving and yet the government spend their money investing in nuclear weapons. Pyongyang is reputed to have few lights on at night because they do not have enough power for electricity. So minimally, I thought, if North Korea had nuclear knowledge then I would think that their priority would be to use it for some good such as generate electricity for their people and not for mass destruction weapons. So..what kind of half-baked logic is that? Damn Kim Jong II, this stupid mad man."

Everyone still remembers the mass destruction in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Towards the end of world war II, in 1945, USA dropped two bombs comically called "Little Boy" (uranium) and "Fat Man" (plutonium) on Hiroshima and Nagasaki respectively. Sure, there are arguements that this action resulted in a quick end to the war. Yet, no one can deny that these weapons resulted in immediate deaths of 100,000-200,000 and more over the years. The radioactive "harm" that lingered through the years created many genetically deformed people in those 2 islands. In addition, who can forget the disasters during the failure of the 2 nuclear power plants now known as the Three Mile Island (1970s) accident and 1986 disaster at Chernobyl.

Remembering these "well-loved" moments, countries around the world including N.Korea's well-known ally, China, signed an agreement to implement trade sanctions on North Korea until North Korea will come to the table for talks on disarmament. No one could trust them to hold onto this power.

And then the story unfolds and the hyprocrisy surfaces. The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (signed in 1968 with a participant of 188 soverign states - out of which Malaysia and Singapore are one of them :)) can be summarized in 3 pillars.

First Pillar - Non proliferation
5 states are permitted to own nuclear weapons: France, Russia, China, USA and United Kingdom. (Reason being at the time when the treaty was signed, these countries already possessed these weapons, I believe). The first pillar basically indicates that these 5 states will not transfer nuclear weapon technology to other states while other non-Nuclear Weapon states (WPS) will not seek to develop or acquire these nuclear weapons.

However, many people argue that USA does not abide by this guideline because it is sharing its technology with NATO states. For more information, please refer to Wikipedia - First Pillar

Second Pillar - Disarmament
The second pillar basically states that the 5 WPS will pursue plans for eventual disarmament.

However, in reality, over the past 3 decades, disarmament plans have been rejected by the 5 states for one reason or another.

This I believe has caused many non-WPS to become disillusioned and start to withdraw from the treaty and seek ways to arm themselves. Case in point: North Korea.

Third Pillar - Right to peacefully use nuclear technology
Obviously, due to the relunctance to abandon nuclear alternatives, a way must be decided to allow nuclear power to be harnessed and used for the good of man. And this includes generation of heat, electricity and others.

However in reality, it is only one small step for moving from nuclear technology for constructive purposes to generating weapons. USA has constantly criticised Iran for developing nuclear weapons under the pretense of using nuclear power to generate electricity.

I am by no means an expert on this topic but I do know that I hear the common people on the street comment that the easiest solution for the nuclear problem is for everyone to disarm (including India and Pakistan who have nuclear weapons althought they are not permitted to have). This will give NO further excuses for other nations to arm themselves.

Note: In North Korea's case, they were actually a signatory to the Treaty for Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons up to Year 2003 when they made a withdrawal. Reason at that time: North Korea felt that USA was becoming a threat to them.

Ultimately, I still condemn the fact that North Korea has nuclear weapons and are continuing to strive to perfect their technology. At the same time, they are constantly using this as a threat for the world to back off.

Yes, I do NOT think that weapons in the hands of HALF CRAZED man allow me to sleep easy at night. Yet, I would also like to highlight the hyprocrisy that I see with these so-called established countries (WPS) refusing to disarm and also pointing the finger at North Korea.

My view is that everyone will become a mad man when they become the ultimate power..........Even more so, who can bear the consequence if this technology lands in the wrong hands such as insane religious fanatics or extremist (-we won't say who-) and then used for terrorist means.

Nations need to make a stand to disarm so that the world can be a safer place to live in. We need someone to make the first step and then, we won't have to answer the question: Nuclear Weapons.....who should have them?


FF said...

Well written aritice. I 100% agree with your view, especially "I would also like to highlight the hyprocrisy that I see with these so-called established countries (WPS) refusing to disarm and also pointing the finger at North Korea". Unfortunately, I feel that the nuclear proliferation is inevitable...

Jamie Tan said...

Thanks FF for your comments. It saddens me deeply to agree that nuclear proliferation is indeed inevitable if this situation carries on. I come to think of it like this: The smarter we get (in terms of technology)......the dumber we become. (in terms of common sense)

FF said...

According to entropy theory, the world/universe is only stable when it is totally disordered where the entropy is maximized. I see same thing happens to society. With the fast advance of technology/science, tech. becomes more and more accesible. this is good and bad. Good in the sense that normal people could benefit easily from the readily available technology, however, it is bad as well as it is easy for people with devil intention to mess up with it. anyhow, back to the same point you raised in your newer blog, are we really getting happier with all these civilization? maybe people living in Tang or Song dynasty enjoys life more than we do!