The continued international development of weapons of mass destruction with varying degrees of political opacity highlights the underlying threat of such practices to the stability of international relations.

Ever since the first nuclear test in New Mexico in 1945, weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) and their proliferation have been contentious issues which remain central to the tensions of modern international relations. The recent news of a planned military alliance between South Korea and the US with the intention of destroying North Korea’s nuclear weapons in the event of a major conflict highlights the imbalance of liberties of certain states and their hypocritical behaviour regarding the acceptability of possessing and potentially employing these extreme weapons.

The arms race and subsequent chaotic tensions between Western and communist superpowers during the Cold War illustrated the inevitable impasse with which opposing nations with excessively powerful weapons are necessarily presented, due to the indiscriminate and equalising nature of weapons which are capable of total annihilation.

Consequently, the deterrent effect of WMDs is contingent upon an imbalance of capabilities and the consistent domination of certain countries over others. The global acceptance of WMDs consequently affirms the accepted political priority of individual domination over collective peace, by inherently requiring inequality between nations.

The US and UK governments have also recently taken further action to reaffirm their access to intelligence regarding weapons of mass destruction by updating the Mutual Defence Agreement (MDA) of 1958. The new amendment will facilitate intelligence exchanges between the two nations regarding nuclear technology and development of military reactors.

While the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) of 1970 attempted to reduce any further development of WMDs by requiring any signed states which did not already possess such capabilities to refrain from attaining or developing WMDs, it did nothing to eradicate the existing stockpiles of various countries. This has enabled countries such as China, France, the UK, the US and Russia to be recognised as ‘nuclear weapon-states’, while states such as India, Pakistan and North Korea have openly declared their active rejection of this treaty through their contrary activity regarding WMDs, and Israel maintains a policy of opacity surrounding their own nuclear capabilities.

The international disparity between the sanctioned and unsanctioned development of WMDs, and the inevitable secrecy which this military strategy requires, effectively asserts international distrust and the dispensable nature of the civilians as realities of modern foreign policy.

– Meredith Lloyd, Correspondent (Our World)

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