Regarding Robert Spalding Oct. 9 article, “Nuclear arms also serve as instruments of peace“: Spalding’s argument that the possession of nuclear weapons actually helps to maintain peace among states may convince some people, but what he seems to miss is that such deterrence works only in an interstate security paradigm or in a conventional security model.
What we have seen in recent history is the emergence of powerful nonstate actors whose reach and agenda is not confined to their regions but extend through trans-global networks. States face threats to their security by these entities, and having nuclear weapons does not eliminate threats posed by such a network.
Even in the context of interstate conflict, the deterrence doctrine has proved insufficient. In 1999, India and Pakistan engaged in a military confrontation in Kargil (over disputed Kashmir) after testing their nuclear weapons in May 1998.
That these two countries could repeat such military adventurism does not seem out of the question if we observe their behavioral pattern. Like the democratic peace theory, the nuclear deterrence doctrine has exceptions.
Spalding’s advocacy of states maintaining their strategic nuclear weapons arsenals defeats the very purpose of nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament endeavors. There is the danger that more states will seek these weapons, creating a perilous condition for the world.
More importantly, the threat of nuclear weapons falling into the hands of lunatic forces that would not balk at using them against their perceived ideological adversaries makes it all the more important that the remaining stockpiles of these weapons of mass destruction be destroyed. If not, we remain a perpetual threat to our own survival as human beings.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.