Role of Nuclear Weapons
Since the beginning of the nuclear weapon war and competition, nuclear weapons have been used to execute diverse roles, particularly in military operations. For example, in 1945, nuclear bombs were used to hit Nagasaki and Hiroshima, provinces in Japan, bringing World War II to end. Following the successful use of the first nuclear weapon in 1945, several countries have developed their nuclear weapons for self-defense as well as to support their allies. From the United States perspective, it is clear that nuclear-powered missiles have revolutionized military operations. The transformation of nuclear weapons has been enhanced by their high speed, their punitive attribute and lack of their defense. Today, the most developed countries like the U.S. are using nuclear weapons to deter war by denying the aggressor a chance to engage in war, as a compellence, to pursue coercive diplomacy, to counterforce, to preserve strategic autonomy and for power and prestige.
Deterrence is one of the major role played by nuclear weapons. In the political context, nuclear weapons are used as a deterrence to stop the aggression that may lead to war or an attack by the threating of the possible unacceptable punishment and consequences if the enemy continues with its war or invasion plans. The main aim of the deterrence is to prevent the occurrence of war or aggression, but not engaging in the real war (Alagappa, 2008). The current deterrence role is different from the past perception that the ability of the military to deter was based on fighting, defending and being able to go for the enemy. For example, during the Cold War, the military had the notion that nuclear weapons could deter a variety of threats including large-scale attacks, direct attack, low-intensity wars, and chemical and biological attacks (Alagappa, 2008).