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academy of sciences Nuclear Weapons Future

For almost a half a century, the United States and the U.S.S.R. fought a nuclear arms war, the Cold War.  The Cold War officially ended August 19, 1991, when the Soviet Union collapsed.  Ironically, the war ended without a battle or a shot fired.  In fact, nuclear weapons have only been used once.  In the Second World War, the United States dropped two nuclear bombs, one on Hiroshima, the other on Nagasaki.  So, what is the future of the Nuclear Weapons Policy, housed in the United States?  For now, the future seems to lie in reduction and deterrence.
In 1991, the United States and Russia signed the first Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START I).  According to the treaty, the United States and Russia reduce the number of strategic nuclear warheads deployed by the two countries from 13,000 and 11,000, respectively, to around 8,000 each.  The Second treaty (START II), signed in 1993 and ratified in 1996 by the United States says that each nation would further condense their number of deployed warheads to between 3,000 and 4,500, which brings the total to approximately 10,000 nuclear weapons for each side, by the projected 2003 date.  START III, which would reduce the level of warheads to 2,000-2,500, cannot be discussed until START II Russia ratifies START II.  In addition, nuclear testing ended for both sides and the production of weapon-grade fissile material has stopped.  The nuclear treaties leave enough nuclear capability, in both the United States and Russia, to damage an attacking nation.  In fact, without Russia and the United States nuclear arsenal, there are a little over a thousand weapons divided among the rest of the world, as reported by the Center for Defense Information, as long as all the countries in the world approve Test Ban Treaty.  In addition, defense experts believe it would require only a little over a thousand nuclear missiles to fen off an attack.  Therefore, neither country needs to fear that they will not have the strength to retaliate.  Actually, the United States and its NATO allies retain their Cold War weapons of last resort doctrine that allows the first use of nuclear weapons if deemed necessary to cope with non-nuclear attacks, and Russia has announced that she will abandon the USSRs no-first-use pledge for a position similar to NATOs.  The US and Russia have 5,000 to 6,000 nuclear missiles ready to launch on 15 minutes notice, says Joe Cirincione of the Henry L. Stimson Center.  That hasnt change since the beginning of the Cold War. (Landy, p.2)
Reduction also saves the country money, keeping financial advisors for the countries welfare, pushing for arms reduction.  From 1940 to 1996, the Brooking Institution estimates that the U.S. government spent roughly five and a half trillion dollars in preparation for a nuclear war, in todays terms (3.5 actual).  That would be the combination of all the Fortune 500 companies revenue.  Then in 1995, they consumed another twenty-seven billion dollars to prevent a nuclear war.  In fact, each of the B-2 bomber lifecycle cost falls above two and a half billion dollars, accounting for about fifty-five percent of the total spending on nuclear capabilities.
During the cold War Era, nuclear power became the strategic deterrence against both a nuclear attack and a major conventional war, because a more effective plan had not happened and the adversarial relationship between the U.S. and Soviet Union made it irresponsible to rely on good intentions to prevent a nuclear assault.
The character of nuclear weapons and the diverse means for delivering meant that attempts to defend the United States or its allies against nuclear attacks on the population could be over come with much less effort than would have to be invested in the defenses[However] deterrence is likely to succeed only if there are credible plans for what to do if it fails, but constructing such a plan is exceedingly difficult, and attempts to make the threat of nuclear retaliation credible can be seen as aggressive advantage seeking by the other sideadditional countries to assert the same need and right, leading to further nuclear proliferation. (Academy of Science, p.3)
Proof of the power of the fear of nuclear retribution as a prevention comes from comments of senior ... more

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Cuba and embargo

By: patty young
E-mail: cakes1104@aol.com

Cuba and the Affects of the Embargo The island nation of Cuba, located just ninety miles off the coast of Florida, is home to 11 million people and has one of the few remaining communist regimes in the world. Cubas leader, Fidel Castro, came to power in 1959 and immediately instituted a communist program of sweeping economic and social changes. Castro allied his government with the Soviet Union and seized and nationalized billions of dollars of American property. U.S. relations with Cuba have been strained ever since. A trade embargo against Cuba that was imposed in 1960 is still in place today. Despite severe economic suffering and increasing isolation from the world community, Castro remains committed to communism. (Close Up Foundation) The United States and Cuba share a long history of mutual mistrust and suspicion. All aspects of U.S. policy with Cuba, such as the current trade embargo, immigration practices, and most recently the possibility of a free exchange by members of the media, provoke heated debates across the United States. While most Americans agree that the ultimate goals should be to encourage Castros resignation and promote a smooth transition to democracy, experts disagree about how the U.S. government should accomplish these aims. Some believe that the countrys current policy toward Cuba is outdated in its Cold War approach and needs to be reconstructed. However, many still consider Fidel Castro a threat in the hemisphere and a menace to his own people and favor tightening the screws on his regime even more. (Close Up Foundation) For almost forty years, the United States has not imported any Cuban products, nor allowed any American food, medical supplies, or capital to enter Cuba. President Clinton, like each of his predecessors, supports the trade embargo. Two recent pieces of legislation have tightened the economic restrictions on Cuba. (Close Up Foundation) The Cuban Democracy Act, passed by Congress in 1992, further isolates Cuba from the world economy by prohibiting any foreign-based subsidiaries of U.S. companies from trading with the country. The bills goal was to cripple the Cuban economy in order to bring down Castro within weeks, according to the bills primary advocate Robert Torricelli (D-N.J.). The Helms-Burton Act states that American citizens can sue foreign investors who utilize American property seized by the Cuban government. In addition, those who traffic in this property or profit from it will be denied visas to the United States. Supporters of the legislation believe that prohibiting foreign investment will quicken Castros downfall. (Close Up Foundation) Many debate on the issue of why the U.S. should or shouldnt keep the ebargo against Cuba. These debates deal with the effects of the Embargo on Cubas economy, humanitarian rights and health of the people of Cuba. The embargo today places a ban on subsidiary trade, Licensing, shipping and humanitarian aid. (Close Up Foundation) In 1992, the Cuban Democracy act imposed a ban on subsidiary trade with Cuba. This ban restricted Cubas ability to import medicines and medical supplies from third country sources. There have also been corporate buy-outs and mergers between U.S. and European pharmaceutical companies thus adding to the number of companies permitted to do business with Cuba. Under the Cuban Democracy Act, The U.S. Treasury and Commerce Departments are allowed to license individual sales of medicines and medical supplies, supposedly for humanitarian reasons to make up for the embargos impact on health care delivery. According to the U.S. corporate executives, the licensing provisions are so tough as to have had the opposite effect. With this statement, it is assumed that there are fewer licenses given out for humanitarian reason therefore favoring the embargo and aiding in the downfall of health in Cuba. Since 1992, the embargo has prohibited ships from loading or unloading cargo in U.S. ports for 180 days after delivering cargo to Cuba. This has discouraged shippers from delivering medical equipment to Cuba. Due to this, shipping costs have risen and further constricting the flow of food, medicines and medical supplies to Cuba. Another result of this is Cubas increased spending on shipping medical imports from Asia, Europe and South America rather than from the neighboring United States. Charity hasnt been ... more

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