1. Iran's nuclear issue against the background of the modern history
Iran's nuclear issue which creates a great sensation recently is actually a rather small part of the big historical picture, that is, the whole modern history. In the past two or three hundred years, weapons which mankind relies on for killing with each other have made rapid “progress,” upgrading from lances, bows and arrows to nuclear weapons. The rapid progress of weapons was driven by an incentive mechanism, that is, whoever owns more advanced weapons will gain advantage in international competitions. This mechanism exists widely in the military, political, economic and culture fields.
Such a judgment could be easily demonstrated. In the international political arena, five permanent members of the U.N.—the U.S., Britain, France, Russian Federation, and China, are five largest nuclear powers, the total of whose GDP account for around 44% of the aggregate of over 200 countries and regions in the world. Special attention should be paid to the U.S. who possesses absolute nuclear advantage. With its GDP taking up 28.5% of that of the world (in 2004), the U.S. could ignore the U.N. and take unilateral actions when it considers necessary to do so. Various factors, ranging from CNN to the Hollywood, all help American culture to gain advantage around the globe.
Therefore, rules of the game which are practically accepted in modern times strongly inspire all countries to develop and possess nuclear weapons. Due to being interactive, weapons may increase fear of the enemies while enhance safety of the owners. As a result, competitions in weapons become even fiercer. Among weapons of different levels, more advanced weapons have higher relative value not only because of their manufacturing costs and techniques but also because they turn all the less advanced weapons into garbage. As the top-level weapon in the world today and with advantages prior to all the other weapons, nuclear weapons own supreme value. In the current world which describes itself as "modern civilization" while actually accepts Jungle Rules (or called Social Darwinism), countries with superior violence are rewarded while those with inferior violence are punished. Naturally, weapon competitions will definitely lead to nuclear weapons because non-nuclear-weapon states will lose the game while nuclear powers will become hegemonies.
No wonder that a large number of non-nuclear-weapon states, especially those without nuclear alliances yet facing threats from hostile nuclear powers, are more motivated to develop and possess nuclear weapons. This trend could not be belittled. Nevertheless, there are two forces opposing this trend. The first force is current nuclear powers. For them, their original comparative advantages will be weakened if more and more states own nuclear weapons. The other force is the whole world. When more countries have nuclear weapons, the probability of the occurrence of nuclear wars will rise, and the earth will become even more dangerous. The interests of nuclear powers are consistent with that of the world on this point. Therefore, in terms of preventing Iran and North Korea from gaining nuclear weapons, we can see that nuclear powers represented by the U.S. are both trying to maintain their nuclear advantages and to slow down the widespread of nuclear weapons around the world.