Nuclear Weapons and World War III


The head of the United Nations recently warned that the world is just one misunderstanding away from nuclear annihilation. Antonio Gurress spoke at the conference on NPT in New York and emphasised: “We have been extraordinarily lucky so far. But luck is not a strategy. Nor is it a shield from geopolitical tensions building over into nuclear conflict.” The UN Treaty on Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons came into force in 1970 which classified the US, the UK, France, China and Russia as the legitimate nuclear weapons states. Pakistan, India and Israel are the only three states that possess nuclear weapons, but did not sign the treaty.

Gurress warned the world a few days after Kim Jong Un, the North Korean leader threatened to mobilise a nuclear arsenal. Gurress further explained the risks of proliferation are growing and guardrails to prevent the escalations are weakening. Although the overall number of nuclear weapons has decreased from 70,000 in 1968, to 14,000 the chances of a nuclear war can never be taken for granted.

Russia uses the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant located in Southern Ukraine as its base to launch attacks. The biggest power plant in Europe is the only working nuclear power plant in history to be occupied by an invading army. Russia is using the plant to fire shells on the Ukrainian forces. President Putin also hailed the country’s troops for fighting with courage and like true heroes. He elaborated:  “We will continue to develop and strengthen our armed forces, taking into account potential military threats and risks,”

On the other hand, China’s missile drills around Taiwan, and the tensions over South China Sea has worried the US. The US government issued a statement:  “China’s militarisation of the area as a transparent rewriting of the international rules”. The Pentagon is wary about China’s activities in Taiwan, and believes China might start a conflict in the Taiwan Strait “sometime in the next decade”.

Another major actor in nuclear proliferation and World War III might be Iran. British Intelligence has kept its eye on Iran. The MI6 chief Moore said that Iran has embraced an explicit doctrine of conflict with both Israel and the West”. Gulf states have joined Israel for the first time in a joint military exercise over their concerns with Iran’s activities.

Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal began last year, three years after Donald Trump pulled the US out of the agreement. Some security sources are dubious about the new deal being of any benefit to the US as the Biden’s administration hopes. After more than a year of “on-and-off talks” the European Union’s foreign policy chief said on 26 July that he had proposed a new draft text to revive the deal, “saying there is no room left for further major compromises”




By Amna


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