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Should Nuclear Weapons Be Globally Banned?

In July 1962,  the Soviet Union began to start placing weapons in Cuba to try to deter an invasion by the United States. Once the U.S. found out they were building ballistic nuclear missile launching sites, they decided to enact a naval “quarantine” of Cuba and told the Soviet Union that they would not permit them to bring weapons into the quarantine zone. The Soviet Union saw this as an act of aggression and ordered their ships to continue, although most ships were stopped at the quarantine. Then, the U.S. was approached by a Soviet agent who proposed that they would remove their ballistic missiles if they promised not to invade Cuba. The U.S. felt this might not be a credible source but after lots of debate, the U.S. decided to accept the deal. Eventually, on November 20, 1962, the U.S. ended its quarantine ending the crisis. These weapons are still around us today, and, if we aren’t careful, this event could replicate itself and humanity won’t be as fortunate.

In our world, we have already seen the devastating consequences of these weapons of mass destruction in the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In these bombings alone, we have seen mass casualties of around 110,000-210,000 deaths, mostly civilians. If we allow these weapons to be around, how much longer will it take for tensions to become so high that nuclear war breaks out? Not only were there mass casualties, but there was severe structural damage 5,700-6000 feet from the detonation spot, causing many buildings to be completely destroyed. Also, it was very hard to bring aid to the survivors since 42-45 hospitals were rendered non-functional.

Currently, we have the Ukrainian Crisis, and according to a survey done by the American Psychological Association and the Harris Poll, “80% of people say potential retaliation from Russia such as cyber-attacks and nuclear threats are a significant source of stress.” The poll also said that “69% of adults said they’re worried the invasion of Ukraine is going to lead to nuclear war and fear that we are at the beginning stages of WW3.” Stress like this is very unnecessary considering many citizens are already under a lot of stress from necessary things such as jobs. The stress isn’t only with the adults: some teachers state that they sometimes hear kids of varying ages discussing the chance of nuclear war, even with the reassurance from the Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov that they would be committed to avoiding a nuclear war.

Some might say that nuclear weapons help us since it stops larger countries from just invading other smaller countries because they have nuclear warheads. According to the Lexington Institute, since the invention of nuclear weapons, there have been 10 million casualties in war, compared to the 70-100 million deaths at war prior to the invention of nuclear warheads. This may seem like a large difference but before the invention of nuclear weapons, there were WW1 and WW2. These contribute a lot to these counters. Plus, we don’t need nuclear weapons to deter larger countries from invading smaller countries since as long as they are in an alliance with larger nations such as the EU or NATO most countries will not engage with them since that will inadvertently cause them to go to war against a larger force. This is shown as no country has directly gone to war against any country in NATO since its creation even though there are 30 countries in NATO, of which 5 border Russia.

So, if two bombs like these can make 110,000-210,000 casualties and flatten cities, cause tensions such as the Cuban Missile Crisis, cause stress for millions of citizens, and cause some countries to become overconfident in their ability to invade others, do the pros really outweigh the cons? Or are we really just going to take the risk of millions of lives just to display power?You make that choice.

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