International Relations/International System and Strategic Weapons

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International system and Strategic Weapons[edit | edit source]

The weapons defined as strategic are the weapons that can determine the outcome of a war par exemple the nuclear weapons and the offensive ballistic missiles. The strategic weapons first appeared in the 20th century and especially after the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings by US. Soon USSR was also able to acquire nuclear technology. This led to an unforeseeable balance of power between the two main actors, the "nuclear balance" or the "balance of terror". Because of the fact that the international system at the time was bipolar, there was a deep and urgent need for stability but at that point this "nuclear balance" created more destabilization[1]

With the end of Cold War several new nuclear powers emerged creating the phenomenon of the "strategic weapons proliferation". Officially, USA, RUSSIA, CHINA , UK, INDIA,FRANCE and PAKISTAN are the countries known to have acquired nuclear weapons and technology up to now.

Nuclear Weapons[edit | edit source]

"Nuclear weapons" is the general term which is used in order to define and describe any weapon using nuclear energy and technology. Two types of nuclear weapons exist: the nuclear (atomic bomb) and the thermal-nuclear(hydrogen bomb) The explosive energy of the nuclear weapons is theoretically and practically up to this point unlimited.

The catastrophic results of a nuclear explosion can be divided in two categories:

  • The results of the first category are very similar to those caused by an ordinary explosion, only in a largest scale.
  • The results of the second category are more characteristic of a nuclear explosion: 1)They produce an intense Χ and Γ type radiation in the first phase of the explosion. 2) The radiation that results from the explosion remains in the lowest layers of the atmosphere along with parts of the destructed targets shaping a mushroom-like figure. 3)An electromagnetic pulse which is especially powerful during the time of the explosion is created as a result of the huge amounts of electromagnetic energy confined in a very small space.

Nevertheless, the nuclear weapons are characterized as weapons of mass destruction because of the longterm biological, psychological, social, economical, and political consequences on human beings but also because of the harsh consequences on the environment.

Offensive Ballistic Missiles[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Waltz Kenneth N., "International structure, national force, and the balance of world power, in Rosenau James N. International politics and foreign policy, The Free Press, New York, 1969, pages 304-14