1. Why don’t we use our nuclear weapons? It isn’t because there is a shortage and it is not that we
have not been at war – we pulled out without a victory in North Korea when we should have
used nuclear weapons to end and win the war. Reasons…
1. They are destructive? This is not the answer in and of itself. Weapons are designed to be
lethal. Japan bombed Shanghai in 1937, Germany bombed Warsaw in 1939, and the U.S.
bombed Tokyo, killing 120,000 people. Warfare strategy: hit civilian centers, break
enemy’s morale, and end the war.
2. - Firebombing: using an incendiary bomb. Used in Dresden and Hamburg.
3. -Daisy Cutter: bomb with a trigger device that explodes prior to impact and creates a
massive horizontal spread with a greater capacity to kill.
4. Nuclear weapons don’t have battlefield utility? Not true – can take conventional
weapons and fit them with low impact, tactical nuclear devices to be used on the
battlefield. Nuclear weapons could be deployed on a limited scale, but they haven’t
5. - Depleted uranium has been used. It has a harder shell and as a result can be used in
tank armor artillery shells. This also leaves a low level of radiation behind.
6. They are wrong/immoral? A country that used these would be universally condemned
by the international community. This is also seen as wrong by the state’s own domestic
population. 80% of Americans were in favor of our use of the atomic bomb after WWII.
7. A shift in world opinion occurs: the human tragedy of Hiroshima & Nagasaki (August 6,
1945) allowed us to see how destructive these weapons are – areas were picked that
had not been hit by bombs before. The mushroom cloud was the only thing to tell us
this was different from other bombs.
8. -Shadows were burned into walls. Long term effects of radiation and the concern of
atmospheric contamination. There was a human toll – clothing was embedded into skin.
Radiation continued to kill – 70,000 died on impact. By the end of 1945 the number
doubled to 140,000, and by 1950 200,000 had died. Children were born with horrific
2. New norm of deterrence: after WWII more militaries and states looked towards nuclear
weapons. There was a shift away from civilians as targets (Geneva Convention, weaponry more
precise) and nuclear weapons were seen as wrong. McArthur wanted to use nuclear weapons in
the Korean War, but Truman said no – non-use stance. Other countries were developing and
there was fear of retaliation. The atom bomb developed into the hydrogen bomb, and a new
norm of deterrence developed. In the Cold War there was a balance of power and a balance of
terror. Both nuclear powers had the ability to destroy each other.
3. Effects on Policy: policy developed to contain these weapons and their uses. Some wanted to
ban them, but neither the Soviets nor the U.S. were willing to do this. Rather, control & contain
1. 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT): banned the use of nuclear weapons and
limited their possession. Every country was a part except for India, Pakistan, Israel,
North Korea, and South Sudan. Goal of stopping proliferation through monitoring. 2. Focus on other non-conventional weapons with exceptional capacity to kill after WWI:
Biological (1972) and chemical weapons (1993). Attempts to limit impact on civilians:
3. -1925 Geneva Convention prohibited the use of gas in warfare.
4. -1972 Biological weapons ban
5. -1993 Chemical weapons convention. Followed Iran/Iraq War – weapons used against
6. Approaches to controlling the possession of nuclear weapons
1. Disarmament (liberal): get rid of weapons and rely on diplomacy. Neither
Russians nor Americans willing to disarm (Prisoner’s Dilemma) – focus had to be
2. Deterrence via Extreme Build-up: Deter Russians by developing as many nuclear
weapons as possible. Greatest stock-pile, greatest advantage. Feat: might create
war (trying avoid this) – increasing security dilemma
3. -Nuclear triad: being able to deliver nuclear weapons amongst all branches of
the military -- by land, sea, and air. Important to maintain this.
4. Deterrence via Arms Control: dominant after 1950s in Cold War. Not eliminating
our capabilities, but reducing stock piles. Ensure balance of capabilities. We
have the ability to destroy Russia, they have the ability to destroy us à M.A.D.
(mutually assured destruction). Neither side can win. Second strike capabilities –
could still hit back because of the nuclear triad.
5. -Maintain vulnerability to a nuclear attack through policy – ultimate restraint
system. Neither side can win, why would we push the button first? Both
4. Arms Control History: From MAD to MAP
5. -1963: Partial Test Ban Treaty – no atmospheric testing
6. -1968: NPT
7. -1968: SALT I – Strategic Arms Limitations Talk
8. -1972: ABM Treaty – Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. Limited ICBM (inter-continental ballistic
missiles) interceptors. Agree to limit our defenses à increasing our vulnerability.
9. -1979: SALT II: agreed to limit and not develop new ICBMs. Offensive capabilities, not ratified by
10. -1996: Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty – no testing of weapons
11. -19902-2000s: START – Strategic Arms Reduction Talks. Agreed to start destroying weapons we
have, greatly reducing our numbers.
12. -Shift again towards defense – M.A.P. (mutually assured protection): less offensive capabilities,
1. “Nuclear Taboo” (Nina Tannenwald)
1. Nuclear weapons are “peculiar monsters” created by us and it would be damaging to
our reputation if we were to use them. 2. Nina Tannenwald wrote “Nuclear taboo” and argued that weapons had become taboo.
The norm of non-use was so widespread that just not using them, but even the threat
should be left off the table completely. Insurance purposes.
3. The Cuban Missile Crisis was the closest we came to using these weapons.
2. Meaning of Proliferation: Spread of offensive nuclear capabilities, specifically now to states not
recognized as nuclear weapon states by the NPT. This has to do with motives: Why would a
country want to have nuclear weapons? What do they want to do with them?
3. -Rogue states: pursue nuclear enrichment/acquire nuclear weapons of international treaties.
North Korea: began in the 1990s. 1993: pulled out of the NPT, pursued nuclear enrichment, and
sanctions were implemented from the international community. Successfully tested weapons in
2006. Continued testing, the international community cashed out. Motives: would not have
been good – attack US South Korea, or Japan. Iran: not there yet, but on the path towards
nuclear enrichment. Disconcerting rhetoric – talking about destroying Israel.
4. Deterrence & small/new states: proliferation of nuclear capability to new states has been a chief
concern since WWII, when new states formed. This would have only increased the security
1. Preconditions: 1) a strong, stable government, 2) possession of advanced technology, 3)
an advanced communication system, 4) large, spread out stock piles (Nuclear Triad: in
order to provide deterrence, a state must maintain second strike capability), 5) excellent
precautions against sabotage and/or accidents, and 6) solid security
2. Problems: If a state gets weapons but doesn’t have these things, it’s not a stre