Why you should care
Because putting weapons in the wrong hands could be a bad idea.
OZY and WGBH are bringing you a terrific new TV show, Third Rail With OZY — launching on PBS on Sept. 8. Every Wednesday, we’re debating hot topics in the lead-up to its launch. Last week, we asked: “We have nuclear weapons — why not North Korea?” You answered, and here are your thoughts, edited for clarity. Please check back tomorrow for next week’s question.
Marilyn and Charlie Philip
No. North Korea would use bombs to kill people.… The U.S. protects many countries. This world would be worse off if not for our influence.
How many times since 1955 has the U.S. used military force on other sovereign nations? How many times has North Korea? For that matter, how many countries are we currently engaging in military operations (drones, bombing, [special] ops)? How many places is this happening with U.S.-provided equipment and/or training?
Ideally, no one would have them. But other countries should, of course, be capable of protecting themselves from the bully on the block (the U.S.). Our military invades and meddles constantly. Clearly, if our country thinks it’s OK to tell other countries what they can and cannot do by threat of force, our country is a world dictator.
If you support your right to bear arms to protect yourself and your family from others who also bear arms, whether legally or illegally, you cannot be against other countries having nuclear weapons.
[Kim Jong-un] has the weapons, he has the missiles and there is not a sane option for us at this point but to accept it. And I am not the least bit bothered by his having them — he has no intention of ever making an unprovoked attack on anyone. Despite all our propaganda, I see nothing crazy about him; his actions have been rational and sensible. The American people are completely ignorant about Kim, and the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] and that is the direct fault of our government and media.
All countries should have them. Who are we to tell other countries not to have them?
If I were in charge of North Korea, I’d say we needed them to defend ourselves from the Americans, after what they did to Iraq.
Does the U.S. execute dissidents, starve its own people … forbid the most basic freedoms and then threaten all of its neighbors with bluster and annihilation? No? OK then, we’ve established we’re not on equal footing.
We know two things — we will not use these weapons for anything except defense of the U.S. and any country we are protecting, and we know that North Korea will use them for spite or anything to benefit themselves.
This type of justification was how Eisenhower first thought we should handle the then-new weapon. The logic being, if we all have them, then no country will dare to use them. I don’t believe the full destructive power of these weapons was completely understood at that time. Plus, the hydrogen bomb, a weapon that would provide much higher yields of explosive force, was still in development. Fortunately, they are also much more complicated [due to] the technology, design and materials needed. Basic atomic bombs [are] not nearly as difficult to make, if you have the materials.
Fast-forward to a much more complicated world, one where nation-states are not the only players in the world. Besides rogue nations run by dictators, we have terrorist organizations that would not think twice about using such a weapon against an enemy. This alone is reason enough to do everything we can to not allow the “nuclear club” to expand any further. The more nations that develop these weapons, the higher the probability a terrorist organization will acquire one.