The answer to your question, tracer, is no. All countries shouldn’t have nuclear weapons and there are several reasons for this:
Once any particular government gets a nuclear weapon it can consider itself secure because no sane neighbouring country will ever attack it. There are two types of government in this world: Democracies (where the government changes every few years) and Dictatorships (where the government is always the same). If a dictatorship gets it’s hands on a nuke then there would be no way of removing that dictatorship. History has shown that, sometimes, it is necessary to remove dictatorships by force (eg Hitler, Milosovic, Mullah Omar). If any of these dictators had had nuclear weapons then there would have been no way of removing them, they and their ilk would stay in power forever.
So the absence of nuclear weapons allows the world community to gang together and remove governments it doesn’t like. If every country in the world had a nuclear weapon then we would be “locked in” to our current position. And we would be locked into this position for evermore because no country that possesses a nuclear weapon will ever want to give it up (for perfectly good strategic reasons).
So giving everyone nuclear weapons would mean that the world would be locked into it’s current position. But I don’t think we’ve reached a position yet where we want to be locked in. There are still plenty of world problems to solve before we lock ourselves into any particular position. We are still a long way from the Star Trek type universe where cultural and religious difficulties have been eradicated.
If we gave Saddam a nuke then yes he would be able to defend himself, but do we really want to give mad dictators the ability to defend themselves? What kind of world does that forbode where change becomes impossible? If the taliban had had a nuke they would still be there now, and God knows what they’d have got up to if they’d had a nuke.
Having nukes doesn’t forbid low-level conflict (look at India and Pakistan) but it does rule out actually removing a government. India is much stronger militarily than Pakistan but it can never take over Pakistan without eating a few nukes. So a nuke gives your government immunity from attack.
We don’t really want all governments to have immunity from attack. Some governments just have to go. But in a fully nuclear armed world, no governments would ever go. We would be locked into our current situation, and our current situation isn’t all that great. I think we need to sort out our current situation before we start to think about locking ourselves into a corner.
Nuclear non-proliferation is the most important issue facing mankind today. I think it was Arthur C. Clarke who talked about the need for any civilisation to get over the “nuclear barrier”.
His idea was that any advanced civilisation on any world in the Universe would eventually discover nuclear power. The potential advantages of nuclear power as a weapon would be obvious to any civilisation.
But then the dangers of nuclear power are also obvious. On discovering nuclear power it is possible that a war will occur in which the civilisation that discovers it will be wiped out.
As soon as you discover nuclear power your planet is at risk of destroying itself. This is the nuclear barrier, you have to overcome this stage if you are to proceed.
By arming every country in the world with nuclear weapons you increase the liklihood that we will not successfully cross the nuclear barrier.
The fact is we need to occasionally change governments every now and then by outside force, for the good of humanity. If we all had nuclear weapons then this would preclude the possibility of changing any particular government. This would be a bad thing.
In fact, this whole North Korea saga has made me wonder about the idea of nuclear disarmament. Maybe now would be a good time to disarm nuclearly since we no longer face the same threat from Russia and China. I think there has never been a better time for nuclear disarmament than we have right now.
The west will still retain nuclear reactors and I dare say they could make a bomb pretty quick if they wanted, but it strikes me that we no longer need nuclear weapons at all since all the countries that have nuclear weapons are on friendly terms.
The only exception to this is India and Pakistan, but if the rest of the world disarmed maybe some progress could be made there too. I’ve been thinking of starting a thread about this actually:
In the past when the USSR were around it was difficult to argue for disarmament because MAD seemed a sensible policy, but now maybe disarmament is the most sensible policy. Because it may help us overcome the “nuclear barrier”.
hmm I wonder…