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According to Ferkiss et al (1993) Technology today affects almost every aspects of people's daily life from banking, shopping, health care, communication, education and other sectors of human daily affairs. Technology has brought about several benefits such as convenience, as it works in expediting a lot of and transactions whether business or personal such as banking, paying bill etc. Technology also increases speed, from making payments, sending gifts, communication among other issues it provide things very fast and in a very efficient way. Communication, with technology the world has become a vey smaller place. Technology has allowed people to keep in touch at a cost that is affordable. Technology has also improved accuracy, by it reducing errors that are made in monotonous and mundane, thus working in saving of time and cost. Technology has also brought about enormous development in many fields such as government, medicine, education, business, etc. Everyday technology is evolving and in the process it has transformed the lives of the people and the society. Technology has brought tremendous benefit and growth to the society.
Though the society has had a lot of positive influence in the society, it has also brought suffering to the people if it is misused or not well handled. Some of the negative effects of technology include increase in global warming, spread of bad morals such as in pornographic materials, job losses due to changes from a labor intensive to capital intensive, and a lot of other problems in the society (Hjorth 2008).
I would like to base this study on the destructive effects of technology in the society, and specifically focus on nuclear weapons that have been developed by use of technology and have a lot of effect on the society.
A nuclear weapon also referred to as a weapon of mass destruction can be defined as a weapon that causes unimaginable immense destruction to human beings and other life forms in extremely large numbers. It causes destruction to nature and ma made structures as well as the biosphere as a whole. There are different forms of nuclear weapons especially due to evolvement of technology with time. These weapons can be chemical, radiological warfare, nuclear matter or biological. Either type, nuclear weapons should not even exist and the United States Federal Government is determined to make sure persons or nations engaged in their production are disarmed to combat nuclear warfare.
The most famous recollection of what nuclear weapons are capable of is of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings. Millions of people were affected and the effects are felt to date where the people living there give birth to deformed babies or babies with defects. The chemicals from the nuclear bomb were lasting and the appalling slaughter sickens the heart when you think of the untold suffering and misery it brought to the people of Japan.
When the cold war ended, the United States shifted its focus to disarmament of nuclear weapons as opposed to using them as a deterrent like they did before. Coincidentally this period became one that brought an increase in threats to the US from Islamic nations and those other Islamic independent groups. The first Bush administration became concerned with these chemical warfare especially from Iraq with the invasion of Kuwait in 1990 and the Gulf war of 1991 (Adams 2002). Clinton and his administration also continued with the efforts to bring apart the weapons programs of Iraq. The 2001 anthrax attacks and the Global shocking events of September 11, 2001, brought to light the reality of these non-conventional warfare methods and the whole world was on high alert as to the existence of terrorist threats. The alleged presence of weapons of mass destruction in 2002 brought a crisis between the US and Iraq that led to Iraq's invasion by the super power bit no weapons of mass destruction have yet been proven to have existed in Iraq.
This paper will look closely at the various weapons of mass destruction out there today, the countries that have used, accessed and possessed these weapons, the damage nuclear weapons cause and the measures that the Unites States should consider as policy in disarmament of these weapons. To this I now turn
WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION TO THE 21ST CENTURY
The most devastating effects of mass destruction are those of nuclear detonation. The radiation released unleashes horror as can be seen from pictures from the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings. The nuclear explosion energy is distributed to the area in three forms which are nuclear radiation, thermal radiation and blast. Due to the immense energy the temperature shoots up to tens of millions degrees centigrade. Harmful x-ray radiation is detonated which is absorbed by the surroundings (Bernstein 2008). The bomb fragments and debris cause immediate death, seconds to minutes. They cause long term serious neurological damage almost immediately for survivors and radiation cause longer effects for example in contaminated water and soils for growing food and anything that comes from the environment for years to come will affect those that are in direct contact or ingest it. Nuclear weapons not only destroy lives immediately but they keep killing for years and years to come if not deforming (Jones 2000). It creeps up on people and is an incurable cancer. Upon detonation, millions of people can be reached over kilometers away causing instant death. Body parts are taken apart and bodies will lie without their skin. Inhalation of the chemical alone or contact shuts down the body and it is a painful death as victims choke and begin to have neurological damage as well as physical. It is highly contagious and modern day methods of dealing with victims of nuclear carnage have greatly improved with protective clothing and quarantine. For the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, they did not have a chance.
In the war, the country that was the only one to use a weapon of mass destruction was the US. They are the ones who caused unimaginable destruction in Nagasaki and Hiroshima by the two atomic bombs dropped there during the Second World War. There are other eight countries that have not denied that they have nuclear weapons and in fact have tested these weapons. These countries include China, Russia, The UK, US, India, France, Pakistan and North Korea (Miller, 2008). Countries like Israel remain ambiguous about possession of these weapons but most analysts consider them to be in possession. Iran is also a major suspect but it denies these claims. A country that gave up development of nuclear weaponry known is South Africa. It had one in the 1980's but completely gave this up in the 1990's. When the Soviet Union dissembled, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan were left with piles and piles of arms of a nuclear nature but later gave them up to the Federation of Russia (Miller, 2008). There are countries that have access to weapons of mass destruction and include Germany, Netherlands, Turkey and Italy but through agreements of nuclear sharing. This is however controlled and in check and not intended for warfare at all by these countries.
Today in the United States, the most threat of concern is not from other major powers in the world but if we were to prioritize these threats, my opinion would be that they fall in the following order. Nuclear Terrorism: nowadays, suicidal bombers are the order of the day in the media. These perpetrators especially from the Islamic community are fearless and in fact believe that upon death they will be rewarded in heaven for doing Allah's work. They find it as a duty in defense of Islam and its enemies in the name of Jihad or holy war as they call it. These are hard to note as they are very discreet about their premeditated violence (Neary 2008).
Instead of the United States concentration on control of the nations that these terrorists come from, who provide the weapons and support financially to would be terrorists, the US should concentrate on policies that secure or deny access to loose weapons that in the end are readily accessible to any terrorist, they should focus on strong defenses that make it impossible for attacks by terrorists to be successful and prevention techniques that are able to foresee these attacks as well as disruption of terrorist organizations or groups however trivial they might appear for example the cliques formed in schools that might end up being terrorist groups if not monitored closely.
The second threat would be proliferation of nuclear weapons: the presence of weapons of mass destruction and their increase in production should seriously be prevented to avoid spread which eventually occurs. This could even be at the regional level and these weapons are transferred to the common person or community and pose a danger of use in regional crisis (Lambers 2006). States such as Iran which is a major suspect in production and testing of nuclear weapons if prevented would reduce transfer to non state actors and they will end up being the weapons of choice in replacement of 'normal' weapons like guns. This would definitely be the end of the world . Proliferation would also occur in cycles of fuel and programs of nuclear weapons.
The next imminent threat in line would be the threat against the allies of the US and their friends: the United States influences many regions' decisions regarding nuclear weapons. When other regions form allies with the US, the enemy will view them as one in their efforts to bring them down or invade their countries. The US should thus consider their interests in their assurance of security and extend their nuclear prevention to their regions of interest. Another threat is by those regional states that are nuclear - armed: these enemies especially those with ideologies on revolution could prove to be less stoppable compared to those adversaries of the past. In their bid to provide security to their regional interests, the United States will find themselves in a complicated position if their regional adversaries were to acquire weapons of mass destruction.
Another threat would be the threat of cold war from major power that was nuclear armed: this immediately brings Russia to mind as a power to be cautioned about. Russia has got modernization programs of nuclear that are ongoing and their security policies rely on nuclear weapons. There was a recent threat to its neighbors for their support on the United States defense deployment of ballistic missile. China as well is another power to watch. They are in the process of accumulating submarine launched missiles in a bid to modernize and extend their nuclear abilities. This would affect the relationship that these powers have with the United States which is okay at the moment but if not watched it could turn ugly and tensions would be all that is left. China and Russia both consider themselves great powers and when faced with an adversary, they can tackle them with no outside help. If these two super powers were to come together against the United States for interfering with their modernization and what they consider their business, there would be unimaginable destruction. Policies between the US , China and Russia should be formulated through dialogue to prevent these weapons of mass destruction from reaching a point of no return in the event of a disagreement. All powers should come together and agree as to the extent of modernization and development of nuclear weapons and measures to be taken in their deterrence.
There are pressing issues in my opinion that the US needs to keep an eye on in its policies for example we need to prevent these nuclear weapons from spreading to more countries since their increase in production will eventually lead to this and this could be done by putting a serious check on Iran and North Korea. Putting a check on inventories and materials associated with nuclear weapon creation to avoid them from access by terrorist minds. Dialogue with superpowers that use nuclear weapons for their security as with development of technology, new and stronger weapons will be created which is a thought that should not be entertained as it translates to bigger and more ruthless destruction of the world.
Those in congress that are within the policies seem to be divided into four categories or camps according to how they believe or view the importance of Us nuclear weapons on the security of US and they include: the high salience: this group is of the opinion that the Us should engage in the production of weapons of mass destruction as security against powers that could in turn turn hostile and use their nuclear weapons on the United States. They argue that the weapons will have a cold war so to say importance in the future. They should have the capability to protect their people. They argue that in the case of their allies being attacked by their adversaries using these weapons, they can protect or assist them in fighting back.
There are those in the next camp called the moderate salience: this group on the other hand believes that there is a need for the US to have nuclear weapons being the front line for deterrence of these weapons as it provides a niche. They however are against modernizing these weapons as they might cloud the US purpose and standing. They are against the production of new more effective weapons of mass destruction. Next is the Low salience group: they agree that nuclear weapons do contribute in security of the United States since there are states that are still nuclear armed. However they see the stockpile as severely large and argue that defense can be accomplished by a much lower stockpile. They are for nuclear but will be against it if it gets in the way of the United States accomplishing its mission of nuclear threat control and proliferation (Goodwin 2008). They believe that their possession of nuclear weapons should be transparent to other states and when support for their cause to eliminate these weapons begins to dwindle, then refurbishment of their weapons should be dropped or done away with for credibility.
There is lastly the negative salience: this group believes in the utter and complete elimination of all weapons of mass destruction. They argue that the United States should not possess any of these weapons and their presence in itself is a threat to the human race. They argue that modernization is even worse and legitimizes nuclear weapon use. They are for complete elimination from the US and all other states in possession of them. These four groups could well represent the views of the American people as each one of us will find us supporting a particular group. Nevertheless, these groups need to come up with a central policy that caters for all views and come to a consensus as the division could pull those steps back in their quest for disarmament.
President Obama is committed in his vision of a world that is nuclear free. He is faced with the challenge of showing that the US is credible in its deterrent of weapons of mass destruction and control of arms. He has to re - establish the United States leadership in disarmament of nuclear weapons. The weapons of mass destruction alleged to be present in Iran and North Korea is a great test for the new administration and needs to be addressed together with the large stockpile issues possessed by other states. The president has a complex task ahead of him including making sure the weak regimes are enforced again that requires new strategies being formulated and implemented.
The United States could also involve other nations in its policy formulation concerning nuclear weapons. This would encourage trust from other nations as well as seize the opportunity of being the leader through democracy. For example, taking advantage of ongoing dialogue with Russia and convince them and their neighbors to reduce their stockpiles (Steinbruner 2003). There could also be the establishment of an international data bank for forensics where all states can take all their nuclear materials in a transparent fashion. This would reduce the increase of nuclear weapons out there and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction would be barred. Trust could also be improved between these states through exchange of scientific information. This creates transparency and there is confidence in what their mission is as they can trust each other through communication and sharing of vital ideas.
Policies should thus be centrally formulated taking into consideration the views of the high salience, moderate salience, low salience and negative salience to avoid internal problems that could present an opportunity for the sensitive dialogues taking place to lose trust in the United States as a leader in combating weapons of mass destruction. A united house is stronger and more confident with better ideas and manpower. The American citizens will also have trust in their government and have support in their disarmament mission. They need to portray strength and unity for a united nation as well.
It is most unlikely that disarmament will be completely successful in a short period of time. It is an exercise that could span for decades. Many states must view these weapons as an advantage over the others in terms of security and development. Nevertheless, weapons of mass destruction are nothing but a disaster waiting to happen. I am against them completely and I believe not even one weapon should be anywhere in the world. These weapons do not just harm a particular intended individual target, but strap millions of people of their dignity in death. Their innocent lives are grabbed from them in the most inhumane of ways and it is not fair. Children are killed mercilessly and what people have built for years is taken away in a split second. It is a most cruel death that nobody deserves, adversary or not. There should be education of the people other than leaving it to those in power to negotiate our fate. The people should be up in arms all over the world and this would be powerful enough for their governments to listen and act.