It’s the topic we don’t often bring up, but it’s always somewhere in our minds. With all that is happening in the world one might think it is just a matter of time till we see the use of some form of a nuclear weapon. It’s a terrifying thought and quite frankly one that makes no normal person happy, regardless of where it would be used. We can choose to ignore the subject, a decision I would understand because of how frightening it is to imagine, but what I am going to do in this piece is break down the numerous scenarios in which it could happen.
I’ll start with the 5 countries that are members of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. They are the United States, Russia, United Kingdom, France and China. I believe the least likely of the to be presented with an option in which to go nuclear is China. Of the remaining 4, only Russia finds itself in a conflict close to home, but the fact that it is so close to home is the very reason not to use it. The concerning thing about Russia has always been that after the break up of the Soviet Union there was a concern that weapons were scattered in various locations. That fear has dissipated somewhat with the control Vladimir Putin seems to have over the area, but that being said, Russia is the country on the list I see as most susceptible to terrorist infiltration. The remaining three are all facing the potential threats of terrorist attacks by Islamic terrorists and should an attack be serious enough and the source identifiable, one can’t take a nuclear response off the table. That is something all would be reluctant to do unless the attack on them was nuclear, and even then it would be uncertain.
There are four other countries that are nuclear powers, three declared and not members of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and one which is not a declared nuclear power but widely known as being one. There are more scenarios here and they are all quite terrifying. The first two, India and Pakistan, are the ones that might be seen as most likely to use a nuclear weapon on the other. Although the tensions between the two have calmed somewhat over the years, these 2 countries still don’t like each other and have very different global interests. I believe India would only consider doing so if forced into it and I believe Pakistan under its current leadership would not use it. But this is where it gets interesting. The Taliban has a significant presence in Pakistan and with neighboring Afghanistan still unstable and dealing with its strong Taliban force, no one wants to even think about what would happen should Pakistan’s government be replaced with a government aligned with Islamic extremists, or even worse a Taliban government. That would without doubt be a global game changer.
There are 2 countries left to speak of, one of which is the one undeclared nuclear power, Israel. Israel, like the nations in the Non-Proliferation Treaty, will only go nuclear if absolutely necessary, meaning if it is a matter of survival. Israel would not need nuclear weapons to wipe out Iran’s nuclear program and is more likely to keep Iran in check with the threat of reprisal should Iran get nuclear weapons and use one of its proxies to attack Israel.
I left North Korea for last. This was not an accident. It is unquestionably the most dangerous of all the nuclear powers. Besides the fact that their dictator Kim Jong has repeatedly threatened the U.S., it’s believed that North Korea helped fund the building of Hamas’s terror tunnels from Gaza to Israel. No one finds it hard to believe that Kim would have a problem providing Hamas or any other terrorist organization with a nuclear weapon. Like Hamas, Kim Jong’s Korea doesn’t care about his own people so he would have no problem contributing to a genocide of another people. I have no doubt Israel is watching him very closely.
The terrorism scenario is always out there of course, be it a conventional bomb or dirty bomb, especially since there are groups that have declared their willingness and desire to cause devastation in large western cities, most notably New York City.
All this is conjecture, but with all the conflicts going on today anything can happen at any time. Let’s hope this doesn’t.
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