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Consequences of Weapons of Mass Destruction

Updated on February 2, 2013

Zeeshan Esack

Consequences of Weapons of Mass Destruction

Possession of nuclear weapons by any form of government regardless, is dangerous. For countries which currently possess nuclear weapons, their likeliness of usage depends on the type of government. Firstly, democratic government’s that their governments be limited, in order for the people are well represented. A democratic political system, government power is legitimized by the consent of the governed. Consent is expressed in a variety of forms, including annual election of government leaders and citizen participation in governing processes. The roots of American democratic culture can be traced to the direct election of many colonial legislatures, as well as the practice of democratic governance in many localities. The American Revolution was animated by the idea that the colonists were defending the principle of democratic self rule and that the American struggle was analogous to the English Parliament's struggle against the monarchy.Checks and Balances are also a necessity in democratic governments. One of the most important contributions to democratic practice has been the development of a system of checks and balances to ensure that political power is dispersed and decentralized. It is a system founded on the deeply held belief that government is best when its potential for abuse is curbed and when it is held as close to the people as possible. Among a democracy's most important decisions is the method of electing its leaders and representatives. Voter turnout and political participation is greatly encouraged and needed for democracy to be effective. Generally democracies enable a country and its citizens to be free, safe, and equal. The following two governments totalitarian and authoritarian, are quite opposite in many respects.

In a totalistic government the state involves itself in all facets of society, including the daily life of its citizens. A totalitarian government seeks to control not only all economic and political matters but the attitudes, values, and beliefs of its population, erasing the distinction between state and society. The citizen's duty to the state becomes the primary concern of the community, and the goal of the state is the replacement of existing society with a perfect society. This is a form of government which subordinates all aspects of its citizen’s lives to the authority of the state, with a single charismatic leader as the ultimate authority. It is distinguished from authoritarianism by replacing its political institutions and all old legal and social traditions with new ones to meet the state's needs. Through a totalitarian government, organized violence may be legitimized. The police operate without the constraint of laws and regulations. Where pursuit of the state's goal is the only ideological foundation for such a government, achievement of the goal can never be acknowledged. In some respects totalitarian government is similar to authoritarianism.

In an authoritarian form of government, citizens are subject to state authority in many aspects of their lives, including many matters that other political philosophies would see as erosion of civil liberties and freedom. Authoritarian governments have a government that has the power to govern without consent of those being governed, while totalitarianism describes a state regulates nearly every aspect of public and private behavior of the people. In this sense, authoritarianism is a government without people's consent, democracy is a government whose power comes from people and totalitarianism is a government which controls every aspect of people's life.

Countries respect other countries with nuclear bombs, they know the detrimental outcome if they are used. Hence they are less likely to opt for nuclear battle and confrontations. Nuclear power countries try to avoid confrontation as much as possible for example the UnitesStates and Russia. Pakistan and India try to negotiate frequently even though their religious and political ideologies clash. Nuclear confrontation is definitely the last resort. Implicitly to say the effects of such weapons are catastrophic. With nuclear weapons, the stakes are higher, the democratic countries are less likely to use nuclear weapons because of various treaties and ally agreements, but totalitarian and authoritarian governments are more military and trigger happy. France for example is a democratic government with the capability and possession of nuclear weapons. The use of nuclear weapons has to be consensus in a democracy; it simply cannot be one person or administrations decision. However, if a country is totalitarian regime like Pakistan, the possession of nuclear weapons is more dangerous. Since the government has a tight grip on power and can use it without any rationalization. It is reasonable to assume North Korea has nuclear weapons and for such a authoritarian government. If North Korea has the capabilities, South Korea and America will feel threatened, because the characteristics of the government and the leader are well known. North Korea would be more likely to use such weapons with less concern for effect on other and its own wellbeing. This is the case currently with Iran. To ensure its own safety and longevity, Europe wants to offer economic incentives to Iran if they abandon their ambitions, they will also guarantee their safety. All the countries with Nuclear weapons give an impression that if attacked they will respond swiftly, that's why nobody is willing to take that risk. In some respects the type of government does not matter because having them is ensuring no one will use them. To assume this would be ignorant, in all forms of government the possession of nuclear weapons is risky. However authoritarian and totalitarian governments are more likely to use them because of their governmental characteristics mentioned above. The international community has come to an understanding of this issue and therefore has founded institutions such as The International Atomic Energy Agency, tries to make nuclear weapons safe. According to their website ( The Agency works with its Member States and multiple partners worldwide to promote safe, secure and peaceful nuclear technologies. The agency through agreements and treaties limit other countries from acquiring nuclear weapons or capabilities. These limitations are the reasons for the pressure on countries such as North Korea and Iran. The International Atomic Energy Agency has also offered countries such as South Africa, Libya and Brazil economic incentives in exchange for them to abandon their nuclear plans. There is no certainty that these incentives will prevent or stop a country from reaching nuclear capabilities. Through treaties, allies and constant communication between nuclear capable powers can conflict be avoided, but even that cannot foresee the unpredictability of some nations and its governments.


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