Can The World Live With Another Nuclear Power?

Illustration by Martin Rowson, Guardian 2017

Can the world live with another nuclear power? This is the question of the hour as North Korea pushes the envelop. The United States and her western allies are in a quandary as the North Koreans get closer and closer to nudging their way into the super power club.

Currently there are eight nation-states who possess nuclear capability. The west wants to keep the number at eight, but thus far none of the diplomatic pressure leveled upon North Korea has driven them off of their march towards gaining the ability to destroy the world.

The eight nuclear powers are the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and now for all intents and purposes North Korea can be added to this list.

Is it time for the major powers to rethink limiting nuclear arsenals to only a few nations?

Is it worth risking nuclear war to prevent an independent country from developing these weapons?

These are the questions that the United Nations, in conjunction with the super powers, must grapple with in the first half of the 21st century. The failure to do so is international political malpractice.

In the beginning of the age of nuclear weapons, it made sense to limit the development of this enormous power to a few countries.

The United States was the first nation to deploy the N-Bomb in an act of war. As far as anyone knows the US remains the only nation to launch not one but two such attacks in the history of war.

When the Russians entered the club shortly after the US, it did not take both countries long to figure out that the best deterrence to all out nuclear war was the possession of nuclear missiles.

Could it be that Kim Jong-Un, with the Americans just across his border, figured out that the best defense to being overrun by South Korean and US forces is by having nuclear capability?

If this is the case, can the west just let Kim be?

Harold Michael Harvey is an American novelist and essayist. He is a Contributor at The Hill, SCLC National Magazine, Southern Changes Magazine and Black College Nines. He can be contacted at




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Published by Michael

Harold Michael Harvey is a Past President of The Gate City Bar Association and is the recipient of the Association’s R. E. Thomas Civil Rights Award. He is the author of Paper Puzzle and Justice in the Round: Essays on the American Jury System, and a two-time winner of Allvoices’ Political Pundit Prize. His work has appeared in Facing South, The Atlanta Business Journal, The Southern Christian Leadership Conference Magazine, Southern Changes Magazine, Black Colleges Nines, and Medium.

7 replies on “Can The World Live With Another Nuclear Power?”

  1. Dear Mr. Harvey:

    I enjoyed reading your blog on Kim Jong Un. President Barrack Obama and predecessors since Eisenhower have allowed North Korea to be alone, by itself and very unhappy in its national situation.

    Kim Jong Un of North Korea is descended from his grandfather who In 1950, instigated and supplied by the Soviet Union, launched an attack across the border with South Korea. Grandfather Kim had been empowered four years earlier by the Soviet Union when Japanese forces surrendered to the Allies. Grandfather sought to unify North and South Korea by conquering the Southern regime put in place by the United States after Japan surrendered. North Korea would have succeeded in conquering the south: had not the United States, Britain and a few other countries under the UN banner landed forces therein to stop the invasion.

    The Allied Nations under the UN did not have sizeable forces in South Korea before the war began; and the South Korean government was only four years old, impoverished and unable to field a functional army in its defense. General Douglass McArthur was empowered by President Truman to launch the famed Inchon Landing that cut-off North Korean forces in a series of counter-attacks that literally destroyed them as a fighting force. McArthur pushed across the 38th parallel prompting a wider war with China coming to the defense of North Korea in fear that American and South Korean forces would occupy it. That fear of being dwarfed and occupied still exists. If not for China entering the war to save them, North Korea likely would be part of South Korea.

    The fighting ended in 1953 after Eisenhower became President and negotiated an armistice to stop the fighting. Over 50,000 American died in the fighting, including my cousin Virgil Atkins, U.S. Army and a second cousin Charles Atkins Jones, a Marine who was very seriously wounded in fighting the Chinese. There is no peace treaty between the war parties, and both sides were rearmed and ready to-date for renewed fighting. The functional problem in the eyes of North Korean generals and Kim was and is that all their masses of artillery and infantry are and would be overcome by the very much superior American, South Korean and Japanese weapons systems including air, ground and sea-forces.

    Kim is a young man with others who have reasoned that nuclear weapons will prevent their being defeated again, and occupied. His limited insight into American intentions toward his country is heightened by observations of all the nations around him in Japan, China, South Korea and elsewhere in northeast Asia prospering and dwarfing North Korea. They blame United States economic, political and military aggression for creating this threat to their sense of self.

    My concern is that Kim’s reasoning is not joined to realities about which he knows little or nothing about: such as American counter-measures not based on fear of his nuclear capabilities, far less than other countries that have nukes and more.

    Best Regards,

    Robert M. Atkins, LTC (USA)ret.

    1. North Korea having nuclear weapons is a reality the world is indeed living with, as it lived with China and others including Great Britain, France, India, Pakistan, and even Israel that feared not having such was a threat to its survival against enemies with larger populations and manpower potentials.

      I remember that in early 1960s, fear erupted among some scholars and diplomats that Kwame N’Krumah of Ghana was secretly ambitious to build nuclear weapons because he and men like Dr. DuBois had the audacity to establish a higher education atomic energy research institute, like many American Universities.

      It was not that long ago when I remember the Apartheid Government of South Africa reasoned that it needed to develop and did build nuclear weapons in the event potential enemies like Ghana and Nigeria might do so. To his credit, Nelson Mandela upon becoming President down yonder called American, Israeli and other sources of knowledge to come take their handiworks out of South Africa.

      Dr. King preached sometime ago about what men with power are too often inclined to do: reason in fear, a lot quicker than you can say “Jackie Robinson.”

        1. Thank you. I did not know that weapons of mass destruction were removed before empowerment of Mandela; but remember being so inspired by existence of him and King as believers who overcame fear among the least of us.

  2. Sadly, mankind seems set on destroying the earth/himself. I wish summits and embargoes and peace talks could make a difference in how we relate to one another – in the long(er) run. We now see how easily one leader can launch an attack for no apparent reason. N. Korea’s latest antics of late are … frightening.

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