Nuclear means not always fatal
In recent times, Iran has been all over the news networks because they are adamant about becoming a nuclear power. They claim to be enriching only enough uranium to use in power plants. But the problem remains that a state such as Iran, as much as any other nation, needs to approach this process very carefully. Any country with near-nuclear capabilities should immediately spark a red flag in the international community, as it could result in a catastrophic event. But According to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Act, the United Nations only recognizes five countries as possessing nuclear weapons — the United States, China, Russia, France and the United Kingdom.
Becoming a nuclear power in the world is a difficult process. For countries like Russia and America, there was no resistance, because they were the forerunners in the development of nuclear arms and nuclear power. Unfortunately, there is no way to know if a country is enriching uranium in order to power a nuclear reactor or to become the deadly fuel in an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile. At what point does the international community come together and say enough is enough? Nuclear technology is a classic duality of good and evil. It offers great potential to provide energy and a higher standard of living to those who have access to it while also having a great potential for world conflicts.
These five countries are also the permanent members of the UN Security Council, emerging after World War II. How can we trust these countries more than any other country to be responsible with the power they wield? The U.S. is constantly at odds with Russia and China. The Cold War lasted about 50 years, but it could be argued that it is still winding down. During the 2008 Summer Olympics, Russia broke a global precedent by invading Georgia, even as both countries had delegates competing in Beijing.
I think it is clear that Russia wanted to flex its muscles and show the world it is still a global power. Unfortunately, it is this arrogant attitude that perpetuated the Cold War and keeps nuclear destruction a distinct possibility. It is unfair to single out any state for trying to bring advanced technology to their people. To assume on the U.S.' part that Iran cannot be trusted with this power is hypocritical, seeing as we are the only country to use an atomic bomb — twice. Regardless of whether it was necessary does not make us the judges of who can and cannot have access to this power. The same goes for the U.N. I believe every country currently without nuclear power wants it. It can change the landscape of any country from that of farming to an industrialized nation capable of producing at a competitive level with the world.
Since the acquisition of this technology is so heavily frowned upon, it is no surprise that a country like Iran is facing such a backlash.
India is one country that has developed nuclear technologies and also faced resistance from the global community while they were developing them. They are currently in possession of nuclear reactors and nuclear weapons, but not ICBMs. The resistance came from the UN and, specifically, the UN Security Council. It does make sense that those with power want to keep it from those without. Yet India persisted, and now there is little the global community can do about it. No country wants to start a war with India because of their nuclear capabilities — it would only cause destruction and force someone to use their weapons first. This mutual assurance destruction between the counties is what keeps the global community away from a nuclear imbalance.
Iran has learned from India's example. They know that once they have the uranium, if they do not already, it can effectively prove their presence in world politics. Iran is only doing what they see as necessary to ensure their country can keep up with the world powers, if only technologically. Their end goal may be the betterment of their society and their people's lives. There is great potential for civil rights and democracy in Iran, and what restricts it is poverty and squalor. It crushes the collective soul and keeps people from caring about the changes that need to be made for their community.
Currently, the U.S. is involved in the Middle East, and it would make sense that any country developing nuclear capabilities in that area, especially one with issues with our country, would pose a threat to our troops, allies and, potentially, our nation. Yet the world continues to turn, and I have lived 21 years without facing any nuclear fallout. I would go as far as to say that this international balance has helped my country, and me perhaps, to remain in a world of competition and progress amid a mutually assured destruction. Perhaps Iran is just looking for their niche in the global community.
Neil P. Kypers is Editor-in-Chief of The Daily Targum and a School of Arts and Sciences junior majoring in political science.