US President Barack Obama has expressed his vision of a nuclear-free world. Speaking in Prague, during his first official visit to Europe, President Obama explains that although the goal may not be achieved anytime soon, the United States, as the only country in history to have ever used nuclear weapons, has the moral responsibility to lead the mission and ensure the framework is firmly laid for other countries to follow.
Albert Einstein was the man who was partly responsible for the invention of nuclear weapons. He did not make them of course, but it was his theory of relativity which inspired the idea of such a ferocious weapon of mass destruction. He did however, at the start of World War II, encourage the Americans to develop the bomb. He even exerted some pressure on the Americans to do so as quickly as possible due to his fear of what might happen if Germany and Hitler managed to build it first.
Einstein nonetheless never expected the weapon would be used. He wanted the bomb to be made to scare the Germans off, to prevent them from pursuing their world conquering ambitions. In other words, the bomb was made to make the world safer from the dangers posed by the Germans.
When the bomb was eventually used on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Einstein became a very troubled man. He later on said, President Roosevelt (had he been alive) would never have authorised the use of nuclear bombs especially on civilian targets. And a few months before he died, Einstein was quoted to have said that the role he played in the creation of nuclear bombs was the "one great mistake in my life" (quoted in Robert Clark's book Einstein: The Life and Times)
Einstein's initial justification on why the bomb must be made is the exact same logic applied by countries with nuclear weapons today. They acquire nuclear arsenals allegedly not with the intention of using them, but to make their countries safer by preventing others from threatening and attacking them. On a smaller scale, the same justification is used by many countries to build up their military capabilities by allocating billions of dollars annually for their militaries.
Those who are for nuclear weapons and continuous military investment would often argue that the world is infested with bad and evil people. Weapons are needed to battle them. If we don't develop weapons, they will and the world will be in danger. So the good guys must have some weapons to prevent the bad guys from attacking others. And the good guys must also have the most powerful weapon, not for them to use it of course, but to scare the bad guys from causing massive destructions. Therefore, only the good guys must have nuclear weapons, and the bad guys should not.
Problem is, who decides who are the good guys and the bad guys? Who decides that the Indians are the good guys and the Pakistanis not? Who decides that Israel can have nuclear weapons and Iran cannot? What are the criteria used to decide who can and cannot have this and that?
I firmly support President Obama's call for a nuclear-free world. Since we can't really decide on who should and should not have it, everyone should not have it then. Unless of course, some people think we need the bomb to prevent alien invasion!
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