Friday, July 27, 2012

International Law, the NPT, and The Nuclear Black Market

Unfortunately, nuclear existence has adapted seemingly well to the chaos of our society; with the break-up of the Soviet Union, nations witnessed the birth of the nuclear black market- selling nuclear capable materials, ranging from low enriched uranium to nuclear triggers. Now, amiss recent US- led Summit talks revolving around nuclear security, nuclear terrorism has surfaced as an absolute threat to all countries.  Where do these rogue rebels and militants acquire their materials?  The black market of course…where anything and everything can be found at cheap rates.  Due to the large stockpiles of nuclear materials in Russia, a lot of the smuggling and trading of nuclear-materials can be found in this country and in/around the Baltic region states. 
            Nuclear terrorism, “the illegal use or threat of use of radioactive materials” spawned like a contagion due to the easy access to the nuclear black market.  Small and moderate homemade bombs are going off daily at the hands of rebel insurgents across the globe: from bombings in the Middle East to large-scale attempts in Russia by the Chechen rebels from the volatile Russian Caucasus.  Hence the hasty attempt by leading countries, both nuclear and non, to strengthen securities against this growing enterprise through centers focusing on training country security forces to detect and take action against unwarranted attack arising from this illegal practice.  If we do not significantly curb the selling of nuclear materials in the black market, which then facilitates nuclear terrorism, the likelihood of large-scale nuclear-weaponry in rogue hands will transpire. 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Is Islam Compatible with Nuclear Weapons?

As the history of Islam tells, in the year 610, the angel Gabriel descended upon an orphan merchant from Mecca named Muhammad. Gabriel revealed the words of God to Muhammad, and for the next 23 years, the revelations from God continued, completing the holy text of the Qur’an, or “the recitation.” The Qur’an and the actions of Muhammed, who became the messenger and Prophet of God, as recorded by the hadiths, have become the foundation of divine guidance and moral direction for Muslims and Islamic jurisprudence. 

Centuries have passed since the death of Prophet Muhammad; mankind has modernized, technology advanced, science developed and the world transformed into a fast-paced, inter-connected and globalized network. The moral issues that confront mankind today are thus of a different caliber than the issues from a thousand years ago.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Government Propaganda: Five Men under a Nuclear Explosion

Today, no one wants to take a risk by being closer to where nuclear weapon test would take place. Nevertheless, 55 years ago, there were five men who volunteered to be filmed while a nuclear weapon was detonated above their heads.  

The video was taken in Nevada on July 15, 1957, during a series of nuclear weapon tests (Operation Plumbbob). When the bomb lunched by a fighter jet was blown up 18,500 feet above the ground, five volunteering Air Force officers and one photographer were standing underneath the blast without any protective gears.

Friday, July 20, 2012

After Independence: Scotland's Accession Into NATO

The now-28-country alliance that makes up the North Atlantic Treaty Organization might grandfather in a 29th prospect that is Scotland: one contingent rests upon Scotland receiving its long waited independence from the United Kingdom.  Scheduled for a referendum in the fall of 2014 to vote on its legal separation from the UK, Scotland’s role in the international world has become a pivotal point of discussion among the Scots and the Scottish National Party (SNP- leading government party)-particularly, its status with various memberships and treaty organizations that the UK is currently a party to and as an inherited function, Scotland too.  Of the organizations, the debate on automatic entry into the European Union and NATO are the most controversial.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Satyagraha: Truth as a Force for Change

“Oppressed people can not remain oppressed forever.”
-Martin Luther King Jr.

            A short hundred years ago much of the world was colonized. Great swaths of land and countless populations lived in servitude to foreign powers who utilized their positions of greater material wealth to obtain more riches for themselves and their homelands. The rapid toppling of empires over the last century speaks great volumes about the human will to self govern; the natural yearning for the ability to express one’s autonomy. Today there are relatively few remnants of the colonial system, and where there remain the people have been granted additional sovereignty and choice in the matter. 

Where Great Britain, France, and Portugal were once the most dominant forces in world affairs, they are now in a position which is much more even with other states. If these invincible empires could fall, just like the empires of the Romans and Greeks, then imagine what will happen to the empires of today? This is not a message that is meant to spread fear, calling for the fall of America or the rising of a new world order, but rather this is a message that change, even in the face of insufferable repression and against insurmountable odds, is possible

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Japan’s Ambition for Nuclear Weapons

The Peace Statue at Nagasaki Peace Park
Japan’s Nuclear Ambition Awaken.” This is the title of the article issued by the Asia Sentinel on June 28. The suspicion of Japan’s nuclear weapon acquirement, which the article talks about, responds to Japan’s amendment of the basic law on atomic energy after the decision to reactivate the high-speed reactor. The revisions include that nuclear power should contribute to “Japan’s national security,” which could imply that Japan has the intention to acquire nuclear weapons in the future.

Nuclear policy minister Goshi Hosono said, “The safeguards are in place to prevent nuclear proliferation. The word 'security' precisely means the prevention of nuclear proliferation.”1

Monday, July 16, 2012

Hunger Strikes: In History and in Los Alamos Today

King, Gandhi and Chavez: the three world icons of nonviolent resistance.
Hunger strikes are powerful, nonviolent weapons in the art of political resistance. The gravity of inflicting starvation on oneself until an injustice is amended is so profound, a hunger striker can potentially compel the perpetrator of the injustice to feel guilt and shame, and consequently, be forced to correct the wrongdoing. The power also lies with the hunger striker to raise attention on the issue and inspire others to join the cause. To fast requires a tremendous amount of willpower, sacrifice, strength and of course, a deep-rooted affirmation in the cause. One can not engage in a hunger strike without a purpose that one wholeheartedly believes in; how much more devotion to a cause can one show than to starve for it?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in ASEAN

The news, issued on Friday July 6, 2012, told that “After 12 years of negotiations, the five recognized nuclear-weapon states (P5) finally agreed to sign the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon Free Zone treaty (SEANWFZ), Cambodian senior officials said Thursday.”1 Hearing this news, I thought that it was great because it could strengthen the non-proliferation regime and accelerate the nuclear disarmament.  

Friday, July 6, 2012

The Negative Impact of the Nuclear Weapons Industry on the Environment

In the past week more that 2,000 heat records have been matched or beaten in the United States.1 Rising heat averages have been regularly linked to environmental degradation. Could our continued proliferation and modernization of nuclear arsenals be feeding the destruction of our natural environment? I believe the answer is clearly yes. Here are a few reasons why:

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Iranian Conundrum In Nuclear Disarmament

In his usual blunt diplomacy, Russian President, Vladimir Putin warned Israel not to jump into immediate action against Iran, citing precedence to Iraq and Afghanistan; as he said, “to do something without knowing the final consequence is not that smart.”  This came during his visit to Israel last week, and after repeated threatening remarks by Israeli leadership to take military action if Iran does not halt its nuclear enrichment.
Would an attack on Iran delay a nuclear program?
Downsides of threatening Iran: Iran is rooted in nationalism, therefore, to threaten it would potentially take away from its own citizenry defying nuclear enrichment, and instead the country would come together to thwart off an outside attack.  Right now, it is imperative for Iranian citizens to initiate a collective stance against the enrichment program.  If the people of Iran gain an influential voice against this and if internal legitimacy is compromised in this aspect, Iran will be left with little options but to cooperate with both its people and the international community on its nuclear facilities.  Ofcourse, this isn’t a roadmap to what will happen, but it can remain a hopeful option. 

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