Is there any objective reason why some states can have nuclear weapons but others can't?
Many countries around the world suspect that Iran is attempting to build a nuclear weapon. Regardless of whether this is true or not, is there any objective reason why the US, UK, France, and others are "allowed" to have nuclear weapons, and others cannot, or is the only reason because they are either western allies or too powerful for the US to subjugate? E.g., would neutral countries have any reason to support the possession of nuclear weapons by the US, but object to nuclear weapons by Iran?
Would neutral countries have any reason to support the possession of nuclear weapons by _any_ country?
@YannisRizos - yes. Once one of the major actors not noted for their isolationism has nukes, it may very well be in the strategic interest of truly neutral countries to have others have nukes for counterbalance.
"I don't fear the state that stockpiles thousands of nukes as a deterrent; I am scared of the state that has one and is willing to use it. "
I don't understand the question: _"I have nukes, I don't want you to have nukes, if I can prevent you from having them, I do so"_... do you need any more "objective" than that?
It comes down to a perception of trustworthiness. Some countries are inherently more trustworthy, from a global perspective. I don't think the H-Bomb can be uninvented, and so I would rather a country like the UK held onto these than, say, Pakistan, for example.
One glimpse at India's nuclear program will destroy all the credibility of the US. The stupidest thing I've ever done is that I never looked at India until recently, that's the price you pay for arrogance.
@Affable Geek - Actually, there is a state that has dropped atomic bombs on civilians. And it has thousands more stockpiled.
Define what is meant by "objective" here. In the real world, I can't see that there is any such thing. All there is is power. In the specific case of Iran, it's basically a theocracy, following a religion that explicitly states that infidels should be subjugated or killed. Given that, is it not objectively reasonable that states composed largely of infidels would not wish it to have powerful weapons?
@PCARR: Trustworthiness has nothing to do with it. During the Cold War, the USA and USSR came close to nuclear war on several occasions. And it's hard to claim Mao Zedong, Boris Yeltsin, and Richard Nixon were entirely stable and trustworthy leaders. The real factor here is *power*: Simply put, the Big Five have the world's most capable military forces, so to some extent they get to write the rules.
@RoyalCanadianBandit Wait a second... you can't just say that trustworthiness has got *nothing* to do with it! Of course it does. I don't particularly mean the leaders here, more so the perception of one country in the eyes of another.
@DavidBlomstrom Sadly, Affable Geek has passed away and will be unable to respond to your comment.
Probably the idea of "wow, this is horrible, no one should have them, but we can't un-invent them, so no one else should get them" - conveniently forwarded by those who get to keep them.
The reason why some countries can have nuclear weapons is easy to find in this article: Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, where you can read very interesting topics.
The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, commonly known as the Non-Proliferation Treaty or NPT, is a landmark international treaty whose objective is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and to further the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament and general and complete disarmament.
First pillar: non-proliferation
Five states are recognized by the Non-Proliferation Treaty as nuclear weapon states (NWS): China (signed 1992), France (1992), the Soviet Union (1968; obligations and rights now assumed by the Russian Federation), the United Kingdom (1968), and the United States (1968) (The United States, UK, and the Soviet Union were the only states openly possessing such weapons among the original ratifiers of the treaty, which entered into force in 1970). These five nations are also the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.
Non parties to the treaty
Four non-parties to the treaty are known or believed to possess nuclear weapons: India, Pakistan and North Korea have openly tested and declared that they possess nuclear weapons, while Israel has had a policy of opacity regarding its own nuclear weapons program. North Korea acceded to the treaty in 1985, but never came into compliance, and announced its withdrawal in 2003.
So as you can see in the previous quote there are exceptions to the rule like US, France, China and Russia, and there are countries which haven't approved the treaty like North Korea and India, but the countries that approved the treaty must fallow its pillars.
In fact there is no reason, in theory all the countries have the same rights, and so if United States, Israel, India and others have nuclear weapons then any other country should be allowed to have.
By my point of view if a country doesn't want that other country have nuclear weapons or biological weapons that country must show the example and do what it request and disable all its weapons of this kind, because the rule should be followed by everyone and not only for some unprivileged, because they are equals in rights.
All countries are equal in rights, but some are more equal than others. It may seem unfair but I think it is reasonable to prevent more country from building a nuclear arsenal, especially unstable countries.
The Non-Proliferation Treaty commits the five nuclear weapons states to nuclear disarmament, but provides no timetable for doing so. Maybe the last two paragraphs should be modified to note this (and remove "personal opinion", which is discouraged in SE answers).
@Shautieh It is debatable which countries are stable or unstable, especially since that may change over time. Just look at the mess the fall of the USSR caused. In hindsight it can be argued that were Ukraine not forced into the Budapest Memorandum, it would've been safer than it is now. Just like nukes on both sides stabilised Pakistan-India relations.