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Running head: Nuclear Disarmament 1

Nuclear Disarmament

Mike Allen C. De Pacina

Covenant of Grace School

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With the great power infamous nuclear weapons possess, what have we done to limit or

prohibit them. What are the various initiatives undertaken through disarmament talks and

international treaties to limit or control nuclear weapons proliferation? Is the complete ban of

nuclear weapons feasible?

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“Since the first test (of a nuclear weapon) in New Mexico by the United States in 1945,

2,475 nuclear weapons have been detonated across the globe…(however) only two of those

thousands of detonations were ever used in a war-- the ones dropped on Hiroshima and

Nagasaki during WWII by the United States.”​ (RealLifeLore) The first nuclear detonations in

Japan was enough to intimidate the world with such great power it possesses -the capability of it

to cause mass destruction and horrific catastrophes.

However, those detonated in Hiroshima and Nagasaki are ​“very small compared

to modern weaponry. The Hiroshima bomb produced an explosion of 15 kilotons or

15,000 tons worth of TNT. The bomb dropped on Nagasaki had an explosion of 21

kilotons… In October 1961, the Soviet Union created the largest man-made explosion

ever in human history. When they detonated the Tsar Bomba. The bomb detonated with

an astounding force of 50 megatons, or about 3,333 Hiroshima blasts… Although never

tested, the Soviets did have plans to create a bomb that would be twice as powerful as

even the Tsar Bomba-- a bomb so powerful that it would have produced a mind-boggling

100 megaton blast, or about 6,666 Hiroshima blasts all together… in total, (there are)

estimated to be around 15,600 nuclear weapons in the world currently-- enough to

destroy the entire planet dozens of times over.”​ (RealLifeLore)

Modern nuclear weapons are clearly superior to those dropped on Hiroshima and

Nagasaki, and the number of nuclear weapons that still exist is threatening to both the planet and

the entire human race. So what steps have we taken and currently taking to avoid a nuclear war?
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What are the various initiatives diplomats have undertaken to limit or prohibit nuclear weapons?

And is complete nuclear disarmament the solution to have peace and content in this world?

Only nine countries control the nuclear weapons stockpile of 15,600, ​“and 92% of those

weapons are controlled by only the United States(6,970) and Russia(7,300). The other 8% of the

global nuclear arsenal is controlled in descending order of numbers by France(300),

China(260), the United Kingdom(215), Pakistan(125), India(115), Israel(60-400 they’re highly

secretive about their nuclear program), North Korea(<10).”​ (RealLifeLore) Why exactly do

these countries feel the need to hold on to their nuclear weapons?

The Cold War era put the world in a competitive phase, though the Soviet Union and the

United States were the two powerhouse at the time, a lot of the other countries/nations were also

trying to outdo one another. France’s, as well as Israel’s, motive for pursuing nuclear weapons

was their insecurity of being inferior to their neighboring countries. Another reason why some

countries are hesitating on giving up their nuclear weapons is because of the fear of being

attacked.​ “North Korea illustrates this nicely,”​ (Keck Z. 2013) during the Cold War the United

States had nuclear weapons set in South Korea, in response to this North Korea started their own

nuclear program. Nuclear weapons is a good representation of the saying ​“defense is the best

offense,”​ which is true in this case. The countries who hold parts of global nuclear stockpile

“were engaged in a spirited competition to develop and build more powerful weapons

supposedly for the purpose of deterrence.”​ (C.R.T.A) A recent incident that only makes other

countries reluctant to give up their nuclear weapons is the invasion of Russian of Ukraine in

2014. When Ukraine gained its independence in 1992, it found itself in a particularly awkward

situation. Breaking away from the Soviet Union, Ukraine was in possession of about 5,000
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nuclear weapons, but ​“they agreed to hand them all over to Russia in exchange for a super

serious promise that nobody would violate their territory or borders in the future. And we all

know how that turned out.”​ (RealLifeLore)

In the midsts of these, diplomats around the world are putting in the effort to try to

resolve the old problem of complete nuclear disarmament or at least nuclear non-proliferation for

the common good, but how successful have they been in their mission to a world free of nuclear

weapons/ or contained nuclear stockpile? To my advantage, my father, who was part of the UN

General Assembly First Committee, explained to me all of the various initiatives that diplomats

took to contain or prohibit nuclear weapons. During my dad’s six-year term in the Philippine

Mission To The United Nations, he was part of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty or the NPT.

The NPT is the keystone or the main nuclear non-proliferation initiative, it is the first step to

nuclear non-proliferation that is legally binding since it is a treaty. ​“The states parties meet every

five years at a Review Conference to assess the implementation of the Treaty.”​ (Reaching

Critical Will) Actually, in 2010, when Philippines was the president of NPT review conference,

to the delight of most, the NPT conference had a successful outcome document agreed by the

consensus of all member states of the NPT. ​“However, their fulfilment of this action plan, in

particular the disarmament requirements, is so far significantly lacking.”​ (Reaching Critical

Will) Another initiative that is not legally binding (all member states are not obligated to

cooperate) is the Humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons. The main purpose of this meeting is

“to discuss the global and long-term consequences of a nuclear detonation from the perspective

and variables of the 21st century society.”​ (Reaching Critical Will) They’ve held meetings in

Oslo, Norway in 2013, Nayarit, Mexico in early 2014, and Vienna, Austria in late 2014. In each
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meeting they ​“will further explore the humanitarian and environmental impacts of a nuclear

weapon detonation and will take a look at existing international law relevant to this issue.”

(Reaching Critical Will) Another step taken, is the Open-ended working group on nuclear

disarmament or the OEWG. The purpose of the OEWG is​ “to develop proposals to take forward

multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations for the achievement and maintenance of a world

without nuclear weapons. The group met throughout 2013 and produced a final report. In

October 2015, states adopted resolution L.13/Rev.1 to establish a second OEWG to address

concrete effective legal measures, legal provisions, and norms that will need to be concluded to

attain and maintain a world without nuclear weapons.” (Reaching Critical Will) ​And the most

recent legally binding initiative is the Nuclear weapon ban treaty​- “The UN General Assembly

has decided by overwhelming majority to initiate negotiations on a treaty banning nuclear

weapons in 2017. Negotiations are set to take place 27–31 March and 15 June–7 July 2017 in

New York.”​ (Reaching Critical Point)

Now to answer the question, how successful have the diplomats been in achieving world

peace? Pretty successful, I can say. For the most part, the initiatives for nuclear nonproliferation

and nuclear disarmament are effective due to the fact that the majority of the UN members

cooperate. Though we may not notice it because it doesn’t directly affect our daily lives we’ve

actually come a long way thanks to diplomatic meetings, conferences, assemblies. But can we

actually achieve a world free of nuclear weapons?

I feel that eventually, we will live on a planet free of nuclear weapons. I believe that we

will get there. It may not be now, tomorrow or five years from now, but I believe in the

upcoming generation, my generation, to achieve what others have been longing for so long. How
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can I say this? Others may disagree or even think I am a fool for believing this, but I believe that

the world is becoming better, maybe not the planet, but the people that live in it. This is sole

because millennials today are more open to change now than ever. And being open-minded, not

being afraid of change; being dynamic is the best characteristic to have that will produce fruits

and harvests and innovations. We now live in a society where people are more considerate, have

more sympathy and empathy, and most importantly connected. For the most part, we are aware

of what’s going on with our surroundings thanks to social media. And social media when used

properly can be the tool to spread awareness of causes. Being more connected and open-minded,

I believe it is not long until we live in Utopia. The world ruled by hate and fear is slowly

becoming a thing of the past. With such characteristics, I honestly believe it will not take long

before there is peace and harmony on earth.

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“Disarmament Fora.” Disarmament Fora,

Accessed 2 Mar. 2017.

Keck, Zachary. “Why Countries Build Nuclear Weapons in the 21st Century.” The Diplomat,

The Diplomat, 3 July 2013, Accessed

2 Mar. 2017.

The Terrifying True Scale of Nuclear Weapons. RealLifeLore, 7 Oct. 2016, Accessed 2 Mar. 2017.

Panganiban, Evangeline S. “Nuclear Arms Race.” Creative Responses Through the Ages, World

History ed., p. 558. Global Times Living History Series.