There are numerous military conflicts, border
disputes and all out wars happening right now. With all of these international conflicts
comes the question of escalation. How far will they go? Could any one of these conflicts
escalate enough to cause a nuclear war? To answer that we first have to look at which
countries actually have nuclear weapons. As of now, there are 8 states known to have
nuclear weapons. And they fall into two categories. Countries that have signed the Treaty on the
Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, or NPT, and countries that have not. The US, Russia,
The UK, France, and China have all signed the NPT. These five countries have agreed
to stop making nuclear bombs. They’ve also agreed to destroy their current stockpile
over time. The treaty has the lofty goal of a nuclear weapon free world. But the treaty
is not enforced by any one governing body, and the five states are basically under the
honor system, so progress is slow if moving at all. Then we have the three nuclear-capable countries
with bombs that are not part of the NPT: India, Pakistan and Israel. These countries refused
to sign the treaty before it was put into effect in 1970, primarily because it capped
the number of countries who were allowed to have nuclear weapons at five. The five countries
that already had them. These three countries had not yet developed their nuclear programs.
India tested their first nuclear weapon in 1974 and Pakistan tested theirs in 1995. Israel
has not confirmed or denied having a nuclear arsenal and there is no solid evidence of
them testing a bomb, but according to the Federation of American Scientists, Israel
may have as many as 80 nuclear weapons. There are also countries that might be pursuing
nuclear weapons. Iran has a nuclear program, but they claim it is for energy use only.
After a series of embargos and sanctions, Iran has agreed to scale their program down.
But they also recently missed a deadline with the U.N. to provide specific information pertaining
to their nuclear explosion experiments, so we can’t really be sure what their current
status is. North Korea, who withdrew from the NPT in
2003, has conducted three nuclear tests and is said to have enough plutonium for 6-10
warheads. But have yet to develop a functional nuclear weapon, we think. North Korea doesn’t
share information so no one really knows how close they are. So, with all that said, how worried should
we be about a nuclear war? Well, India and China have a “no first use” policy, meaning
they won’t use nuclear weapons unless they are attacked with one first. The UK has stated
they won’t use their nuclear weapons unless an enemy state uses a WMD against their troops.
The U.S. is vague about it but claims to have nuclear weapons as a deterrent. Russia dropped
their no first use policy in 1993, and now claims that they will only use their nuclear
weapons if the Russian Federation is under threat. France and Pakistan have policies
similar to Russia’s. Which just leaves Israel, who has not made an official policy yet, because
they haven’t officially acknowledged that they even have nukes. But that doesn’t change
the narrative. No one wants to be the first nation to strike.
Using a nuclear weapon in this day and age would bring large scale retribution from the
international community, and possible nuclear counter strikes. As it stands now, the main
argument for nuclear weapons is to prevent attacks by nuclear weapons. Add in all the
agencies actively monitoring and preventing the proliferation of nukes, the successful
dismantling of Libya’s nuclear program in 2004, South Africa intentionally dismantling
their own program and weapons in 1991, Israel eliminating Syria’s nuclear reactor by bombing
their facilities in 2007, and the threat seems even less real. If you still have questions about world conflicts
please check out our world at war playlist to get an update on situations like the war
in Syria or Iraq. If you found this video informative please subscribe. It is a great
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