Global Security Essay

Since the US atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki one of the foremost global concerns has been the peaceful use and control over atomic energy and nuclear power. When the US dropped nuclear bombs on Japan in 1945 approximately 70,000–80,000 people were killed immediately and another 70,000 were injured. These two atomic bombings resulted in calling global attention to the misuse of atomic energy and as a result, denuclearization and non-nuclear proliferation eventually gained importance in world politics. Ultimately we have seen the emergence of the concept of global governance.

Since the beginning of the Cold War, “global governance” (GG) has played a major role in world politics and GG is particularly important in the new millennium as the world faces threats to global security, pandemics, and a growing oil crisis. Consequently, new actors have been created to deal with growing global problems, such as transnational organizations, and international government organizations (IGOs). Many of these organizations have proved effective in resolving global matters but on occasion they have failed to do so.

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Three important international relation theories have helped GG theorists obtain better insight on the term global governance by initiating different approaches towards the subject. These IR theories have conducted distinct analytical methods in managing global problems such as environmental issues, financial crises or global health issues. For the purpose of using nuclear/atomic energy for peaceful causes and non military motives the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was established in 1957 within the United Nations family.

The IAEA has been a significant example of global governance and as of December 2009 it had 151 Member States. The organization was designed to create confidence about peaceful nuclear activities within member nation-states that had already acquired nuclear weapons and to reduce the proliferation of nuclear weapons in non-nuclear nation-states. Liberalism has always been the best IR theory to identify instances of governance and explain when and why governance has been achieved or not. Contrary to popular belief, liberalism has, on occasion been unable to explain the failures of international agencies to resolve world issues.

IAEA, like other international agencies has also had similar limitations. Thus, this essay will examine the way in which neo-realism theory is a better way to explain why global governance agencies have limitations in managing world issues by investigating what kinds of limitations the IAEA has had in curbing the spread of nuclear weapons. The IAEA’s initial task was to work with its Member States and multiple partners to encourage safe, secure and peaceful nuclear technologies. The IAEA Secretariat is a team of 2200 multi-disciplinary professional and support staff from more than 90 countries.

The IAEA Secretariat is headquartered at the Vienna International Centre in Vienna, Austria. Operational liaison and regional offices are located in Geneva, Switzerland; New York, USA; Toronto, Canada; and Tokyo, Japan. The Agency sets its programmes and budgets through decisions of its own policymaking bodies such as the Board of Governors and the General Conference of all Member States. One can see that the Agency has been working under corporate imperialism, governments of nation-states and international organizations working together on a mutual goal. this needs further explication}At the onset the Agency’s intention was to discourage any states from possessing nuclear weapons although by that time it was known that five states possessed nuclear weapons; the USA, USSR (Russia), the UK, France and China. As a result, US President Eisenhower emphasized the concept of “Atoms for Peace” at the General Assembly of the UN on 8 December 1953. This indicates that these five nuclear weapon states (NWSs) feared that states, especially developing ones might use atomic energy in order to possess nuclear technology.

The IAEA Statute, unanimously approved by 81 nations came into force on 29 July 1957, was to ensure that other nation states did not acquire nuclear weapons. This Statue was shaped under the three pillars of the Agency’s work; nuclear verification and security, safety and technology. In addition, a safeguards system, prescribed in the Statue, was designed to account for all nuclear material in the Member States of IAEA. By the assist of safeguards, the IAEA gained the power to track all the nuclear material in a country as it flows into, through or out of the national fuel cycle.

Moreover, plant managers report every month to the IAEA via their national authorities. However, there have been disputes on the implementation of safeguards. For instance, India insisted that nuclear energy could enable the developing world to accelerate the process of development thus resisted the West’s proposals and in the end refused to join the Agency. Furthermore, the US wanted safeguards to apply to all supplies except those made to them and Britain and Soviets persisted in their opposition to the safeguards until mid-1963. THIS IS AMBIGOUS ; DO YOU MEAN THE US WANTED ALL SAFEGUARDS TO APPLY TO ALL SUPPLIES EXCEPT THOSE MADE TO THE US AND BRITIAN AND THE SOVIETS OPPOSED THIS? ] This proves another realist principle; states seek their own national security at the end of the day. The basic tenets of realism are anarchy and self-help and lead one to the assumption that once the splitting of the atom had been achieved, any state with the scientific and economic means to obtain this ultimate tool of deterrence would do so.

As leading theorist John Marsheimer argues, anarchy and self-help combine to create powerful incentives for states to strive to get the maximum military capability. Realism says that a potent nuclear arsenal is the guarantee of absolute security. Moreover, Kenneth Waltz , a leading realist theorist, argues that the value of nuclear weapons is greater for states seeking security in an anarchic political system since nuclear weapon states would be reluctant to attack other nuclear weapon states because of the cost of such a war.

Therefore, states constantly strive to deter their rivals and to gather power at their rivals’ expense. World politics has seen many examples of states fearing other states about the possession of nuclear technology. For instance, Egypt has worried that if Iran had nuclear weapons it could assert hegemony over the entire Gulf area. Israel, in fact, acquired nuclear technology to avoid an Arab invasion, especially from Egypt. Moreover, in the Asian continent, Japan has begun to argue that it too should have nuclear weapon capability to confront any threats from China or the United States.

Regardless of any states’ will to obtain nuclear technology, the IAEA came up with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1968 to freeze the number of declared NWSs at five; USA, USSR (now Russia), UK, France and China. NPT came to force in 1970 and it is now the most universal disarmament treaty with 187 members. In the treaty, non-nuclear weapon states (NNWSs) are required to forswear the nuclear weapons option and to conclude comprehensive safeguards agreements with the IAEA on their nuclear materials.

The NPT’s main goal has always been to ensure that no new states should be allowed to obtain nuclear weapons and that states with nuclear weapons should work to reduce and eventually eliminate them. According to the NPT, non-nuclear weapon states have to accept IAEA safeguards on all source and special fissionable material in all peaceful nuclear activities of the state. However, some of them refused to do so such as, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea.

Under a realist perspective, these refusals were understandable since NPT tried to oblige its members to share their information on nuclear activities with the IAEA and compel them not to have nuclear weapons. These four countries felt that they required nuclear technology for their national security and hence refused to sign the treaty. The IAEA has had some limitations on forcing NNWS’s not to obtain nuclear weapons. This ranges from its own limited authority, the inability to compel acceptance of inspectors, limited access of inspectors and having no say over the capacity of national nuclear programmes.

The IAEA has no power to compel any government to take any action or to refrain from doing so. Governments are also free to reject an IAEA proposal to appoint a particular individual to inspect plants in their country. Many governments still regard certain IAEA inspectors as agents of a foreign power rather than as international officials. For instance, on 10 June 2010 the Agency received a letter from Iran objecting to the designation of two IAEA safeguards inspectors. Furthermore, inspectors may not roam around freely in search of undeclared plants and they must give advance notice of an inspection.

This limits the IAEA’s ability to take any action when a state prepares or develops nuclear activities which do not fit into the declared program of normal civil activities. Finally, the last limitation is that the Agency cannot direct nor officially predict the future nuclear programmes of any nation. Realists also argues that most non-nuclear states eventually will feel threatened by one or more other states which already acquired nuclear technology hence they will decide to build nuclear weapons. Moreover, realism claims that because of scepticism of anarchic international politics states do not fully trust international organizations.

For instance, IAEA’s policymaking bodies do not represent all the Member States. The Board of Governors is composed of only 35 Member States. Even though the General Conference, composed of representatives of all Member States of the Agency, decides and elects the Board of Governors. This actually caused a conflict during the meetings of the IAEA Statue since delegations were unhappy because the concentration in the Board of Governors consisted largely of states advanced in nuclear technology and likely to be dominated by the USA and its allies.

Therefore, it is understandable that the IAEA’s limited representation of the policymaking has upset some developing NNWSs and has encouraged these states to acquire nuclear technology. Another argument proposed by realists is that while strong states may be able to balance against nuclear threats by developing their own nuclear capability, weaker states may instead seek to balance by aligning with a powerful, nuclear-armed ally.

Consequently, the US nuclear umbrella may be a better explanation for nuclear restraint of the weak states. Furthermore, Mearsheimer states that nuclear alliances on non-proliferation are only temporary marriages of convenience, where today’s alliance partner might be tomorrow’s enemy. One could justify this statement by pointing to the withdrawal of the Democratic People? s Republic of Korea (DPRK) from the IAEA in 1994 even though they joined the Agency in 1974.

Despite the incentives to proliferate the usage of nuclear weapons in the world by realists, the IAEA started contributing to international security and began to cooperate with other international institutions such as the World Bank and the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) in assisting developing countries to gain peaceful nuclear science techniques and to protect people and the environment from harmful radiation exposure. As a result the demand for new nuclear power plants had declined sharply in the most Western countries and it shrank to almost zero after the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident.

In addition to the Chernobyl disaster the Three Mile Island crisis persuaded governments of nation-states to strengthen the IAEA’s role in enhancing nuclear safety. Finally, in 1995, the NPT was made permanent. However, states have never abandoned their scepticism on the nuclear issue. Nuclear weapons have always been the ultimate tool of national security. Yet, why have so many countries refrained from having nuclear power plants? Realism offers several possibilities in answering this question. For instance, if states have no threats from their enemies including regional ones, they will not seek to acquire nuclear weapons.

Likewise, if states have security guarantees like a nuclear umbrella, they will more likely forgo nuclear weapons. A different possibility might be that if states have stocks of chemical and biological weapons they have no need to seek nuclear technology. Moreover, they might be unable to commit the economic resources needed to have a nuclear program or they might be concerned about the political and diplomatic costs of a nuclear weapons capability. Consequently, states might have refrained from having nuclear power plants.

However, realists think that these reasons will not alter the states’ sceptical behaviour on acquiring nuclear weapons in order to secure their national interests and eventually they will decide to have a nuclear program on the purpose of deterrence against their rivals or they will align with a powerful NWS. In conclusion, since World War Two, states have been worrying about the use and misuse of nuclear technology. Globally, various nation states and IGO’s have been trying to figure out how to stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons and to reduce the NNWSs’ will to acquire nuclear technology.

International organizations such as the IAEA have been aiming to achieve this objective. However, they have not been fully successful in doing so. For realists, the reason why such international organizations failed to manage world problems is the anarchic political system and states’ self-help and sceptical behaviours. Therefore, the nuclear non-proliferation has not fully stopped NNWSs from having nuclear weapons. In fact, it has been giving countries access to nuclear technology and diplomatic cover to develop nuclear weapons programs for their national security needs.


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