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US Foreign Policy and Nuclear Proliferation - Research Paper Example

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The superpower arms race between the US and the Soviet Union increased the possibility of nuclear war. By the early 1960s, the search for peaceful applications of nuclear…
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US Foreign Policy and Nuclear Proliferation
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Download file to see previous pages An examination of the US foreign policy in modern times highlights the significant role of nuclear weapons. The reason is that nuclear weapons constitute an important part in the achievement of the United States foreign policy and defense policy goals. There are two arguments that rationalize this. First, is that nuclear weapons are seen as valuable instruments of statecraft and the foundation of global stability by serving as a deterrent to a wide range of threats. Secondly, the American Cold War policy still has its imprint on modern foreign policy particularly in regard to the emphasis on the importance of being ready to deliver a quick and massive attack against opposing nuclear forces. According to a Harvard Nuclear Study Group:
[The United States] wants from them many of the same things it wants from its conventional military forces. The basic goal is to protect the security of the United States and its allies from attack or coercion by a hostile power. Nuclear weapons should serve that primary purpose. (Carnesale & the Harvard Nuclear Security Group 134)
During the Cold War nuclear weapons is at the center of the American security strategies. The US, as part of this strategy, developed large, diverse and dispersed nuclear forces that were maintained at high alert levels. The officially stated rationales for these forces were to deter the Soviet Union from attacking the United States and its allies with either conventional or nuclear weapons.
The disintegration of the Soviet Union after the Cold War changed the nuclear policy due to three fundamental factors: 1) the likelihood of all-out war between the United States and Russia has drastically diminished; 2) the increase in regional conflicts no longer calls for nuclear deterrence; and, 3) the conventional forces are sufficient to deal with potential adversaries. (National Academy of Sciences 16-18) And ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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