Can having Nuclear Weapons be Ethical in a Global Community

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This planet is home to 195 countries with hundreds of different traditions, customs and beliefs but even with all this diversity there is a sense of global community (1). The global community is a concept where every person is part of the global economy, where human rights are protected for all people, and where people can live the life that they choose. Some examples that show the potential of this global order is the European Union and the African Union. The European Union is an economic and political organization of 28 member-states in Europe that started in 1993 and supports over 500 million people (3rd largest population after China and India). The African Union is a continental agreement with 55 countries in Africa and was founded in 2002 in South Africa. The main objectives for the African Union are to defend sovereignty for the member-states, promote African unity and solidarity and to support economic and political integration of the continent to the global market. An obstacle that stands in front of thriving global community is nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons are weapons of mass destruction (WMD) that cause an explosion from fission or fusion of atoms. Nuclear weapons have the capacity to wipe out civilizations and whole countries. The international community has a difficult time with regulating and controlling the production of nuclear weapons. There are two sides of a huge controversial debate about whether we should have nuclear weapons and how would we control who get them and when can they be used. For a global community where people are integrated, and work together nuclear weapons are not ethical and should not be used. Throughout this paper I will examine different aspects that nuclear weapons impact the global community and affect power dynamics throughout the world.

What does it mean to be ethical? The definition of being ethical is the relating of moral principles to decisions that are made. Nations should apply ethics to the decision making to help them find the options that aligned with there moral beliefs. An example when ethics was used is when the President Carter administration provided relief in Russia when they were experiencing a famine. The ethical choice was that they would help because their morals shows that they believed that everyone should have right to food and water and decided that they needed to help. When examining the ethics of war, you have to consider which war theory would support it. Amoral realism theory claims that there are no morals in war and that victory is the most important thing. The just war theory claims that war is not justified but you can apply morals to wars. The use of nuclear weapons for a nation that follow the Amoral realism theory because it will help them reach victory while it would not be part of just war theory. One reason that its not supported by the just war theory (JWT) is because in the jus-ad bellum portion of JWT talks about Discrimination of combatants and innocent civilians and proportionality. Nuclear weapons do not discriminate between solider of the oppression or innocent person when it denote and kill anyone in its path. In 1961 the USSR tested the strongest nuclear bomb ever created(Western nations called it Tsar Bomba)(2).This bomb yield 50 megaton and after dentation the bomb vaporizes anything from 50 to 100 miles way. The only need of this bomb would be if you were playing on destroying large cities such as Paris, Atlanta, and New York. Since destroying whole cites it not means of JWT nuclear weapons are not just approach for just-ad bellum portion of JWT.

Nuclear Weapons are the most controversial and impact WMD on earth today. The debate on nuclear weapons have been going on for decades. There are several pros and cons to having nuclear weapons that both side claim used often to support their topics. One pro is deterrence for major conflicts between nations. Nations would be more incline to avoid war because of the drastic consequences of nuclear war such as increase radiation levels and unlivable cities. Another pro is that it changes improve a countries status and power on the global scale. If a country such as Iraq or South Africa was to start up again producing nuclear weapons their global power could change because now other nations and non-state actors would fear conflicts with them allowing the scales to tip either in South Africa and Iraq favor. Nuclear weapons can be fired remotely with little or no harm to military personal. Back in late 1900s the main concern was how do we drop these weapons where our flight teams do not get effected? Well throughout the year's militaries have learned to build nuclear weapons into missiles where the operators are hundred miles away and safe from the blast. Nuclear weapons can stationed or positioned in various locations such as: naval submarine in the Atlantic, nuclear station in Sahara desert, or a remote island near the Artic. Even at these various location nuclear weapons can be deployed within a couple of hours. The same technology that used to make nuclear weapons has led to some other technologies that benefits today such as nuclear power which shows potential to help with the world energy crisis or nuclear medicine (radiation therapy) which has been used to help millions of people fight different forms of cancer. A negative impact of nuclear weapons is that they have a huge maintenance and productions cost. The U.S congress reported that it cost America 25 billion per year to support the nuclear weapons (6). For context, with 25 billion dollars you can over 50 billion meals to help fight child hunger. Another deterring factor is how ethical is denoting the weapons? Majority of times when a nuclear weapon where used (Hiroshima and Nagasaki) over 50 percent of people were innocent civilians who died from the blast or got cancer from the radiation (5). Very important deterring factors that affect national security would be is how do we deal with nuclear weapons in the hands of terrorist groups such as ISIS or al-Qaeda. Nuclear weapons range in sizes which mean that these groups can move these weapons easily which make attacks more dangerous and imminent. Tragedies such as 9/11and Paris bombing would be relatively small to nuclear bombs in large airport in the states. Many people are concern is what anti and counter terrorism techniques could homeland security used to fight nuclear bombs that can happen in matters of hours after discovering the possibility of a threat. Nuclear weapons reinforce national borders in the aspect where negatively impact globalization. With the growing number of innovations that makes the world more connected and bring people together, while the fear of nuclear weapons will lead to border closing, decreasing amount of information shared, and more isolation among nations. A very interesting point that non- nuclear weapons supporters claim is where will these weapons built and tested? For weapons that can do this scale of damage you must have facilities that can safety conduct test and keep all the radiation from seeking out and have strong workforce that is skilled to work with nuclear weapons. With the current state of the public view for nuclear weapons there would not be strong enough workforce to build to support a nuclear weapons program. Testing is very problematic because majority of the time computer simulation are used to gage what would happen but with these weapons denoting is required to truly see what would happen. These weapons have positive impacts that could benefit some nations however the various negative impacts that are listed cannot be ignored and will arise if we allow the spread of nuclear weapons. Figure 2 shows the mushroom clouds of nuclear bombs dropped in Nagasaki and Hiroshima in 1945.

If we lived in a world where it is acceptable to have nuclear weapons how would nations interact with each other? If every nation had not so secret weapon that would wipe each other completely how would people feel safe? For example, in the 1960 during the cold war America and Russia was inches away from going to nuclear war. The two most powerful superpowers were about were about to start a super war and there was nothing to stop them. This showed the scary reality that with nuclear weapons in military arsenals war becomes deadlier. Wars such as these truly does not have any victor because both sides could possibly have large numbers of casualties and cripple the world economy.

After World War II in 1945 and the international community saw the destruction that nuclear weapons caused in Hiroshima (Aug 6th ,1945) and Nagasaki (Aug 9th ,1945) they decided something needed to be done to make sure that those tragedies would not happen again(2). These have been several treaties and agreement that have called nuclear weapons to not be developed, produced, or tested. There are two key treaties: The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and The Treaty of Prohibition Of Nuclear Weapons(2017)(3).The NPT was enforced in 1970 where 189 nations signed the treaty with the exception of India, Pakistan , and Israel (In 2003, North Korea withdrawn from the treaty). The NPT had three pillars on the treaty: nuclear proliferation, nuclear disarmament, and peaceful use of nuclear power. The pillar of nuclear proliferation states that nuclear weapons should not be used in war or international conflicts. The second pillar is nuclear disarmament which means that the states that signed the treaty will shut down their nuclear weapons programs and work towards decreasing the amount of weaponized plutonium and uranium. The final pillar of NPT is the peaceful use of nuclear energy this gave arise to the nuclear industry where states of the treaty started their nuclear energy programs such as nuclear power plants, uranium mills, and conversion plants (where mined uranium is turned into usable forms for nuclear reaction. Because of these pillars in 1970 made NPT the cornerstone of nuclear proliferation. The most recent treaty for nuclear weapons is The Treaty of Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons which was enacted in 2017. This treaty is the first legally binding international agreement that prohibits nuclear weapons and elimination of nuclear weapon. The treaty was signed by 69 nations and the testing of nuclear weapons in the atmosphere, underwater or any other locations where nuclear radiation can seek out and cause hard to public(4). The opposition of the treaties claims that nuclear weapons can be regulated and used appropriately in the international community. There are many problems like what regulations would-be set-in place? How would international community control the size and magnitude of destructions that the weapons cause? What organizations are in place that would stop nations from destroying each other? What organizations could successfully stop terrorist groups from getting their hands on them? The answers to many of these questions is none or no.

Steve Murphy said The bad guys need to be lucky every time. The good guy just needs to get lucky once. However, with nuclear weapons, the bad guys just need to be right once because the damage can be catastrophic, and it only takes one bomb to make a city inhabitable for decades. For many of these regulations that needed it will require the setup of various of international organizations and task force that can magically know when these weapons would be used and have technology that could stop and prevent them from causing harm. When realizing how much work that and cost that they require, you realize that it's a lot safer and less of headache to not have them at all. Human rights are rights that are believed to belong to every human. For the example, the right to life, liberty, and personal security are from the declaration of Human Rights. When these rights are violated it's the job of either the sovereign state or the international community job to intervene to bring the violators to justice and help those affected come to term. For example, during the WWII, the American government took over 100,000 Japanese American from their homes in the west coast and put them intermediate camps because they feared that maybe these citizens still had loyalty of Japan and could be planning an attack(8). After the War, president Truman signed Japanese American Evacuation Claims Act in 1948 which gave 38 million dollars to Japanese Americans for their economic loss because of the removal(7). How would we fight for justice for nuclear weapons victims? First who would we called victims of nuclear weapons. Like discuss early if people are there the point where the weapons makes land fall, they are incinerated, while a farther as you go the 3rd degrees and high dosage of radiation follows. Victims should people that were killed by the nuclear weapons and those that were affected by getting radiation poisoning or developing cancer from the weapon. While the development of the cancer is more of a long-term effect does not take away from the fact that are victims of the damage. A very important question now is how do we give justice to these victims? This question will be something that international community will need to answer if they decide to allow the production and the use of nuclear weapons.

Do we give them monetary payments for years of pains, sorrows and suffering or do you we relocate them to somewhere else because there homes are not safe to live in anywhere? Nuclear weapons can cause huge displacements of people and cause so many cultures, traditions and religious homelands to be lost. Developments ways to deal theses issue will be huge task for international community because it so hard gives to people when they have had so much taken and theses attacks will have implements of generation following it. Another important issue would be the public perception of these incidents where people are dying from nuclear weapons. During the cold war the united states public were on high alert that the Russians was going to destroy them with nuclear weapons that they had nuclear weapons drills for schools, news, and other propaganda techniques to make the public scared and worry if they were living there last days. Now of you take that and give that same fear to everyone in the world it will just lead to cause and lead leaders to think that I need to get to protect my people are bomb whoever seem the mostly likely to attack my people. This huge amount of hysteria would not allow people to exercise the rights to freedom, pursuit of happiness and security. Figure 3 shows an example of the propaganda techniques used to spread hysteria among the general population .

Developing nuclear weapons have benefits like they can deter conflicts, advancement in the technology can be beneficial, and they can be stationed anywhere etc. However, these many of these pros are not guarantee such as they might deter conflicts, they could now increase conflicts. For examples countries that have been fighting over land and territories could use ultimate weapons and cause millions of deaths. The advancement of nuclear energy can still occur without the usage of developments in the forms of nuclear fusion and safe usage of uranium and plutonium. As a community we must not forget that these weapons will change the warfare in a way that we might not be able to come back from. The negatives that were presented are overwhelming and over power the pros because there is so much that can be lost. Major wars in the past tragedies and destructions will be relatively minor compared to a World War where more than one nation is willing to use nuclear weapons. In the Just-War theory nuclear weapons would not be prohibited because if lack on proportionately which will cause many noncombatants to die. From an ethical point of view nuclear weapons are not worth the damage that they bring.

The quotes stated at the beginning of the paper discuss the importance of community and what they can accomplishment. In time of tragedies its communities that come together to pick up pieces and move forward. After every major disaster such as hurricane or earthquake people from near and far come to help their fellow human because we are all people and have right to live in this world together follow our goals. Nuclear weapons are a huge threat to this community because they can cause catastrophic damages to the environmental that could be irrevocable changes. With more nuclear weapons programs starting this will require more agencies and organizations that will have to monitor, regulate, maybe fight irresponsible usage of nuclear weapons which will be almost an impossible task with 195 countries and various terrorist groups to be accountability for. As a community do not have methods to deal with the victims of nuclear warfare. To conclude nuclear weapons are ethical to international community.


  1. Hayes, Marques. How Many Countries Are in the World? World Atlas, Worldatlas, 5 Sept. 2017,
  2. Tsar Bomba. Atomic Heritage Foundation, 8 Aug. 2014, 3. Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki - 1945. Atomic Heritage Foundation, 5 June 2014,
  3. Mackby, Jenifer. The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Nuclear Stability in a Post-Arms Control World | Center for Strategic and International Studies, 10 May 2010,
  4. Hiroshima and Nagasaki Death Toll. Hiroshima and Nagasaki Death Toll,
  5. U.S. Nuclear Weapons Budget: An Overview. Nuclear Threat Initiative - Ten Years of Building a Safer World, 27 Sept. 2013,
  6. Robinson, Greg. "Japanese American Evacuation Claims Act." Densho Encyclopedia. 15 Oct 2015, 01:40 PDT. 2 Dec 2018, 11:42
  7. Japanese Relocation During World War II. National Archives and Records Administration, National Archives and Records Administration,
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Can Having Nuclear Weapons Be Ethical in a Global Community. (2019, Nov 07). Retrieved July 21, 2024 , from

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