Steven P. Lee's Morality, Prudence, and Nuclear Weapons PDF

By Steven P. Lee

ISBN-10: 0521382726

ISBN-13: 9780521382724

With the passing of the chilly struggle, a bankruptcy within the heritage of nuclear deterrence has come to an finish. Nuclear guns stay, notwithstanding, and nuclear deterrence will back be practiced. instead of easily think that the coverage of deterrence has labored we have to examine the right kind classes from historical past in an effort to make sure that its blunders will not be repeated. Professor Lee furnishes us with the type of research that may permit us to profit these classes. This booklet is the 1st publish chilly battle overview of nuclear deterrence. It offers a complete normative realizing of nuclear deterrence coverage, analyzing either its moral and strategic dimensions. The publication poses the query: what sort of nuclear coverage, if any, merits either ethical and prudential endorsement?

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Moreover, in one of the ironies of the nuclear age, the mutual abandonment of nuclear deterrence would actually make nuclear war more likely. For in the midst of any conventional war that occurred after this abandonment, the erstwhile nuclear powers are likely to race to rearm themselves with nuclear weapons, making it very possible that the conflict would become nuclear. In the midst of the conventional war, each side would be likely to try to rebuild its nuclear weapons, first, because it would believe that a few such weapons would provide it with a decisive advantage in the war and, second, because it would suspect that the other side, believing this as well, was already secretly rearming.

Nuclear deterrence has made morality, as represented by the institutional norms, politically irrelevant. "84 In the practice of political decision making about nuclear weapons policy, morality has lost its power to guide action, because its prescriptions are so at odds with the perceived requirements of national defense. When the principle of tolerable divergence holds, prudentially responsible leaders have room to respect moral requirements. When it does not hold, they do not. The just-war requirements, as the embodiment of the institutional moral norms, have always played an important political role by conferring legitimacy on military force.

Politically, the just-war tradition has played this role by holding a middle position between realism and pacifism. But nuclear deterrence forces the just-war tradition from the middle toward pacifism, making it no longer able to confer legitimacy upon military force, and so no longer politically relevant. As a guide for nuclear weapons policy, morality seems to have become, what in other contexts it is often, though mistakenly, said to be: a luxury we can no longer afford. 85 The task I undertake in this book is to come to a full understanding of this apparent split between morality and prudence and of its implications for the knowledge and practice of military policy in the nuclear age.

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Morality, Prudence, and Nuclear Weapons by Steven P. Lee

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