“Now is the time for a strong international response, and North Korea must know that the path to security and respect will never come through threats and illegal weapons.” — Barack Obama, current US president
I wonder if Obama holds the legitimate authority to issue certificates of legality over keeping nukes. Patronizing the states with Allied bonds and launching sanctions against those whom US perceives as potential rivals with likely chances to disobey the superpower.
Obama’s vigorously sought global zero campaign to bring the manufacturing and stockpiling of nukes worldwide to a naught primarily with considerations that the nuclear weapons may not fall into wrong hands (terrorists or ideological extremists ) is vehemently resented by a series of third world states.
The reasons why Obama’s campaign for global zero is destined to stay unproductive are multifarious in nature.
Henry Kissinger mentioned in his article titled as “Strategic stability in today’s world” that considerably reducing the number of nuclear warheads will intensify uncertainty and generate the probability of accidental strikes which instead of strategic stability can be provocative for catastrophic human loss.
Obama’s robust anti-nuclear propaganda has invited severe criticism from states that see the current US maneuvers towards a world free of nuclear weapons as an instrument to develop and maintain US nuclear monopoly. The skepticism shown particularly by North Korea, Iran, Pakistan and Israel glaringly indicates an unbridgeable trust-deficit among each other and toward US. They argue that there lies no supreme body in international system to ensure if US and Russia actually cut-down nuclear warhead stockpiles to the minimum decided in the New START of 2010. They suspect US may hold a secret stockpile of nukes even after the whole world has dismantled their all WMD’s. Their suspicion is not only contained to ‘Global Zero Movement, but the failure of several disarmament or arms control agreements in South Asia and Middle East like FMCT and NPT is predominantly the by-product of understanding gap.
Geographic realities too have hardened the probability of universal acceptability and compromise over disarming nuclear warheads. Signature and ratification of Global Zero Agreement by leaders of 100 states will never be regarded as success, but the success will be to bring rest of the skeptical states under the umbrella and the universal execution of the agreement, which seems quite arduous if not impossible.
Not all states enjoy the concept of mutually peaceful co-existence. Border disputes and ideological differences added by the ambition for regional hegemony in South Asia between India-Pakistan and between two Koreas in Asia-Pacific have made Obama’s vision something far away from reality.
Pak-India nuclear race is the result of decades of rivalry and dispute over Kashmir, the recent water crisis looming large in the Kashmir valley is catalyzing production of nuclear arsenal. And it will persist as long as these ground realities are brought to a mutually agreed upon resolution. To these hostile neighbors, Obama’s vision carries no weight, what they realize is the presence of an existential enemy across the borders.
Lack of proper mechanism, another factor, is instrumental in isolating the technologically-starved states who are preoccupied with the fears getting caught under a pre-emptive strike from a nuclear state on the grounds of human rights, democracy or instability. This fear has divided the world into nuclear haves and have nots. The given lack of mechanism if present could at least define precise qualifications fulfilling those every state should have been permitted to acquire nuclear capability to create deterrence. However, Obama has ignored this factor. Without certain measures bringing these fear-occupied states into mainstream dialogues on global nuclear cut-off will be challenging for Obama and like-minded leaders.
About the author: Jameel-ur-Rehman Baloch is a Student of MSC International Relations NUML, Islamabad, Pakistan. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org