Peaceful Prevention of Nuclear Proliferation
Unilateral military force by the United States to prevent nuclear proliferation is not justified.
To begin, unilateral military force won’t stop nuclear proliferation in a country. In fact unilateral military force makes nuclear proliferation more likely as seen in Israel’s unilateral military force of bombings nuclear reactors in Osirak, Iraq on June 7, 1981. Iraq recovered and continued to pursue their nuclear program. This preemptive strike did the exact opposite of stopping Hussein’s nuclear program but actually accelerated it.
“By demonstrating Iraq’s vulnerability, the attack on Osirak actually increased Hussein’s determination to develop a nuclear deterrent and provided Iraq’s scientists an opportunity to better organize the program. The Iraqi leader devoted significantly more resources toward pursuing nuclear weapons after the Israeli assault”(Washington Post)
This shows that Israel’s unilateral military force was not effective at completing its goal of stopping Iraq’s nuclear proliferation. This sets a precedent that unilateral military forces are unjust under the just war theory because they don’t have a reasonable chance of success. Similar reactions are expected if military force is used against the Iranian nuclear program, US Defense Chief Robert Gates believes
“Military force against the Iranian government, which has refused global calls to rein in its suspects nuclear enrichment program, would bring together a divided nation, it will make them absolutely committed to obtaining nuclear weapons”(AlterNet).
This means that attacks on Iran will cause NPT withdrawal and accelerate its nuclear program. These two points prove that unilateral military force does not delay nuclear proliferation but in fact does the exact opposite, making it unjust. Thus if it the US goal to stop nuclear proliferation unilateral military force will not do the job.
To add to this point, there are benefits of using diplomacy over military might. Historically diplomacy has stopped nuclear proliferation as in the example of South Africa and Ukraine. In 1989 South African dismantled its nuclear weapons due to diplomatic pressure from the US, Soviet Union, and France. Similarly, Ukraine exchanged its inherited nuclear weapons to Russia for disarmament in exchange for money from the US all through diplomacy . Diplomacy is a better option than war because it saves human lives from combat, saves taxpayer money, and it creates better relationships with foreign countries.
Recently Iranian President Hassan Rouhini “has pledged to reduce tensions with the West over the nuclear issue”(The Hindu). We should take advantage of the new opportunity for diplomacy due to a new presidency in Iran. These statements can be very promising in stopping nuclear growth in Iran. So why should the US not pursue the promise of diplomacy and but instead jump to the use of military force?
As stated by Rebecca Griffin, the political director of Peace Action, from the Daily Gazette, stated that “U.S.-run war simulations have shown that a strike on Iran is likely to lead to a wider regional war”(Miami Herald). Using diplomacy is more justified than war because it will insure peace not violence and death.
As a third argument, unilateral strikes to preemptively end a future threat are shown to not work throughout history. Examples of this are Pearl Harbor and Hitler’s Invasion of Russia which both ended terrible for the attacking countries. This is even reflected today in US politics. Originally the US was planning on bombing Syria due to chemical weapons because they had the support of other countries. Once other countries jumped off the bandwagon the US knew that their unilateral military force would not be effective which is why our government is turning to diplomacy instead.
“According to the overwhelming majority of international relations (IR) scholars, the costs are very high. We evaluate the key arguments that underlie this assessment, namely that increased U.S. unilateralism will: (1) spur the formation of a coalition to check U.S. power; (2) reduce efﬁciency gains through lost opportunities for institutionalized cooperation; and (3) undermine the legitimacy of the American-led international order. We conclude that the theoretical arguments that IR scholars advance do not show that a shift toward unilateralism necessarily has high costs. Our analysis reveals the need to, ﬁrst, distinguish clearly between criticisms of unilateral policies based on procedure and those based on substance and, second, to recognize the weakness of current procedural arguments”(Atlantic International University).
The importance of this shows that if the US wants to maintain its international power, have less enemies, and reduces cost then it should use multilateral military approaches.
In summary, Military force against nuclear proliferation does not work and is unjust under the just war theory, Diplomacy is more effective in stopping nuclear proliferation than unilateral strikes as seen in history, and Unilateral approaches are faulty battle plans that usually backfire and have high costs. “President Clinton asked the commander of U.S. forces in South Korea about the bottom-line cost if war broke out on the Peninsula. “A million and a trillion,” Gen. Gary Luck replied. Facing the prospect of a million people dead and a trillion dollars in industrial damage”(CNAS). With the cost of such a flawed and pointless approach shown in this quote, and all other reasons, unilateral military force by the United States to prevent nuclear proliferation has been proven to be unjust.
Note: This article is a modified debate case and does not necessarily represent the opinions of the author.