Nation states across the globe, exert influence on other countries largely as a result of their economic success or their military might, or both.
After the development of nuclear power and nuclear missiles at the end of WW II, it was those countries who invested in their nuclear arsenal who subsequently dominated world politics.
Eight sovereign states have successfully detonated nuclear weapons, but only five of them signed up to the Treaty of Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) in 1970, in an attempt to safeguard against the expansion of nuclear arsenals.
NUCLEAR WEAPON STATES
The United States, the Russian Federation, The United Kingdom, France and China initiated their first nuclear weapons tests from 1945 through to 1964 and subsequently all signed up to NPT as a means of policing the proliferation of nuclear weapons.
All five states are also permanent members of the United Nation’s Security Council, lending gravitas and power to their position in world affairs.
Although these are the only five countries to acknowledge their nuclear capability and agree to contain any proliferation of their arsenal, there are four other countries who are known, or suspected, of having a nuclear capability, who stand outside the NPT coalition.
India’s nuclear capability became clear after a test in 1974, but the country refused to sign up to the NPT, claiming that it fostered an imbalance around the world of an elite club among those who had or did not have a nuclear military capability.
As a result of India’s defiance of the NPT, Pakistan followed suit and established its own nuclear weapon in the 1980s.
North Korea’s nuclear capability has been headline news as testing of nuclear warheads and long-distance ballistic missiles have been carried out under the auspices of leader Kim Jong-un, although Korea’s true nuclear ability still remains unknown.
The third nation to be believed to have a nuclear capacity, although neither a signatory to the NPT or acknowledging the fact to other nations, is Israel.