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Weapons Of Mass Destruction And Its Threat To Global Security

4518 words - 19 pages

On August 6, 1945, the United States used a massive, atomic weapon against Hiroshima, Japan. This atomic bomb, the equivalent of 20,000 tons of TNT, flattened the city, killing tens of thousands of civilians. While Japan was still trying to comprehend this devastation three days later, the United States struck again, this time, on Nagasaki.[1]
The atomic bombings of the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan were conducted by the United States during the final stages of World War II in 1945. These two events represent the only use of nuclear weapons in war to date. [2]
Following a firebombing campaign that destroyed many Japanese cities, the Allies prepared for a costly invasion of ...view middle of the document...

In both cities, most of the dead were civilians, although Hiroshima had a sizeable garrison.[5]
On 15 August, six days after the bombing of Nagasaki, Japan announced its surrender to the Allies, signing the Instrument of Surrender on 2 September, officially ending World War II. The bombings led, in part, to post-war Japan's adopting Three Non-Nuclear Principles, forbidding the nation from nuclear armament. The role of the bombings in Japan's surrender and their ethical justification are still debated.[6] In this paper I would like to discuss what we mean by a weapon of mass destruction and how it affects global security and induces terrorism.
A weapon of mass destruction (WMD) is a weapon that can kill and bring significant harm to a large number of humans (and other life forms) and/or cause great damage to man-made structures (e.g. buildings), natural structures (e.g. mountains), or the biosphere in general. The scope and application of the term has evolved and been disputed, often signifying more politically than technically. Coined in reference to aerial bombing with chemical explosives, it has come to distinguish large-scale weaponry of other technologies, such as chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear. This differentiates the term from more technical ones such as chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear weapons (CBRN).[7] During the Cold War, the term "weapons of mass destruction" was primarily a reference to nuclear weapons. At the time, in the West the euphemism "strategic weapons" was used to refer to the American nuclear arsenal, which was presented as a necessary deterrent against nuclear or conventional attack from the Soviet Union.[8]
The term "weapons of mass destruction" continued to see periodic use throughout this time, usually in the context of nuclear arms control; Ronald Reagan used it during the 1986 Reykjavík Summit, when referring to the 1967 Outer Space Treaty. Reagan's successor, George H.W. Bush, used the term in a 1989 speech to the United Nations, using it primarily in reference to chemical arms.[9]
The end of the Cold War reduced U.S. reliance on nuclear weapons as a deterrent, causing it to shift its focus to disarmament. This period coincided with an increasing threat to U.S. interests from Islamic nations and independent Islamic groups. With the 1990 invasion of Kuwait and 1991 Gulf War, Iraq's nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons programs became a particular concern of the first Bush Administration. Following the war, Bill Clinton and other western politicians and media continued to use the term, usually in reference to ongoing attempts to dismantle Iraq's weapons programs.[10]
After the 11 September 2001 attacks and the 2001 anthrax attacks, an increased fear of non-conventional weapons and asymmetrical warfare took hold of the United States and other Western powers. This fear reached a crescendo with the 2002 Iraq disarmament crisis and the alleged existence of weapons of mass...

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