Variances in Nuclear Weapons Fungibility

Jason Poirier Lavoie Essays Leave a Comment

By Rutvi Ajmera

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Abstract

This essay will investigate whether or not nuclear weapons are fungible and how they are so. Nuclear weapons have captured the political imaginations of states; more states are interested in acquiring and proliferating nuclear weapons as they consider them fungible and a source of political power. However, this paper will argue that, contrary to conventional wisdom, nuclear weapons are not fungible. Acquiring nuclear weapons do not make states more powerful, instead, the proliferation of nuclear weapons brings with it additional problems. In support of this, this essay puts forth the following thesis: nuclear weapons are not fungible, as nuclear capabilities cannot be used to exert state power in other areas of international relations. Thus, nuclear weapons are just like any other weapon. To demonstrate this thesis, this paper will investigate Canada’s reluctance to acquire nuclear weapons and build a nuclear arsenal. Here the puzzle that needs to be solved is why Canada did not subscribe to conventional wisdom and proliferate nuclear weapons; this essay will explore the reasons why and build a new explanatory model. In order to solve this puzzle and answer the research question, this essay will follow the subsequent structure, first, the important terms will be explained, and then the conventional model will be charitably explained, using traditional theories. Next, the case of Canada will be explicated using both the conventional and proposed models.