Cold war and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction - Essay Example

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Instructor Cold war and the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction The main characteristic of the world in the twentieth century was wars. In line with this, the most memorable wars are the First World War, Second war, and the infamous Cold war…
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Cold war and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction
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"Cold war and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction"

Biological and chemical weapons are a popular strategy of defeating an enemy. Biological weapons include the use of plague, pneumonic exposure, Epsilon toxin, Tularemia, Smallpox among others. Smallpox, scientifically known as Variola Major, is a fatal infection without a known cure with the only form of prevention being through prior vaccination of an individual. In the 20th century, smallpox has been responsible for an estimated death of 300 million people, which effectively means that the world cannot underestimate the threat posed by smallpox (“Terrorism and other Public Health Emergencies”). During the Cold War era that stared after the Second World War to the early 90s, there was little evidence regarding the use of Small Pox by nations. Nonetheless, there is evidence that a number of nations developed and stockpiled the virus responsible for small pox with Russia leading at the frontline of developing the bio-weapon. Importantly, Russia was reportedly developing this weapon at a time when the world was conducting a global campaign to eradicate the disease with Russian doctors using the samples collected to develop weapons. Nonetheless, Russia managed to keep the development of the weapons a secret until 1992 when a Russian defector revealed the plan much to the dismay of the US and the UK (Flight). Chemical warfare has also dominated the world scenery. Among the chemical weapons is a highly poisonous herbicide popularly known as ‘Agent Orange.’ The chemical was popular during the Vietnam War of the 1960s and 1970s whereby approximately 3 million US soldiers took part. Considering that, the US soldiers faced a handicap regarding their familiarity with the Vietnam terrain; the Vietnam soldiers took advantage of this factor and hide in this unfamiliar terrain. This unfamiliarity of the US soldiers remained a perfect opportunity for the Vietnam soldiers to eliminate their foes (Frumkin 1). However, the US soldiers employed the use of ‘Agent Orange’ in defoliation of the Vietnam soldiers from their hiding places-among them “in rice paddies and fields.” In this approach, many Vietnam soldiers lost their lives. Consequently, the US performance in the war remains impeccable. Therefore, the role of Agent Orange in the war will always be notable in the history of chemical weapons (Frumkin 1). In the contemporary world, nuclear weapons remain the biggest challenge for world governing bodies like the United Nation (UN). Through treaties such as the Non Proliferation Treaty on Nuclear Weapons (NPT), the world governing body has been able to restrict the possession of nuclear weapons since the treaty reserves the right of admission of member states. Today, five member states the US, Russia, China, France, and the United Kingdom control admission of other nations to NPT, which further controls all the stockpile of nuclear weapons (U.S Department of Energy 12). During the cold war, nuclear warfare was the order of the day as nations tried to show case nuclear weapons supremacy. For instance, the US first used nuclear weapons during the Japanese invasion of its territories. In 1964, the world arsenal statics shows that the US possessed 10,300 metric tons while Russia possessed 16,000 metric tons. However, the US and Russia nuclear arsenals remains at “cold war levels” and this call for further investigations into the reasons for such immense piles. Read More
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