Whether we should continue to use nuclear weapons is a question that is as old as mankind itself. While we are able to destroy the likes of the other side by conventional means, we are limited in our destruction radius. Nuclear weapons are not limited in their destruction radius, but can be extremely destructive. This is one of the primary reasons why nuclear weapons are necessary. A smaller force structure also makes it easier to maintain the existing weapons.
Conventional weapons have limited effects on hard targets, and are therefore not suitable for many missions that nuclear weapons can perform. These weapons can’t destroy command and control structures, airfields, or naval bases. Even if they do manage to destroy hard targets, conventional weapons are ineffective against these structures. Therefore, nuclear weapons can be used to sabotage these hard targets without affecting the other side’s ability to survive.
The world is now facing a rapidly changing international situation, and the rapid spread of nuclear weapons is one of the main concerns. However, we are fortunate that we have been able to control their spread through life-extension programs. While it’s not possible to prevent every nuclear weapon from spreading across the world, we must be prepared for the worst-case scenario and take the necessary measures to prevent it. This includes war.
Even though nuclear weapons are useless in conventional warfare, they have been a useful tool in maintaining peace between major powers. While they might have been useful during the Cold War, today, most major states are unlikely to go to war with each other. In the meantime, nuclear weapons have provided postwar stability as an insurance policy. However, there is a more fundamental question to answer. It is this: Are nuclear weapons necessary?
There is no one way to determine. There is no way to know who has nuclear weapons in their country, but we can’t ignore their threat. There are many other factors that must be considered before any state decides to develop a nuclear weapon. For example, does the country want to use its nuclear weapons against another nation? If it does, what would happen? Is this a dangerous game to play?
While many experts have questioned whether nuclear weapons are necessary, the question remains the same. In the nuclear age, the central tenet of Clausewitz still holds true. First, states cannot know with certainty that a disarming strike will destroy the opposing force. Second, they cannot predict how much destruction even a few warheads will cause. If one of their soldiers are attacked by nuclear weapons, there is a chance that they will respond by using a nuclear weapon in that way.
Third, nuclear states will likely face many problems, including instability of regime and succession. The weaker state will still rely on the stronger state in various ways. If it is forced to use nuclear weapons, the weaker state will no longer be able to do so. In this case, it would be in the interest of the weaker state to develop nuclear maturity, as the two countries will continue to depend on each other in various ways.
Fourth, the spread of nuclear weapons threatens to make local conflicts more intense. War at the highest intensity level has been a problem for decades. Nuclear weapons may make wars between weaker states more costly, but they do not necessarily lead to escalation. Moreover, these weapons will make the weaker states live in fear of the repercussions of a nuclear war. The use of nuclear weapons will lead to a weaker world where the nuclear states will have less power.
Furthermore, the presence of nuclear weapons will slow the arms race. The more defensive and deterrent capabilities a country has, the lesser the risk of war. As long as states have the means to communicate convincing deterrent and defensive messages to the other side, there is a possibility of a peaceful nuclear world. The question remains whether nuclear weapons are necessary. They can help achieve this goal. And if we decide to have them, we should.