The Immorality Of Nuclear Deterrence Essay Research

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The Immorality Of Nuclear Deterrence Essay, Research Paper Few things are of a character so immoral that they must be rejected under any circumstance. The doctrine of nuclear deterrence, however, is one of these moral abominations, and its existence requires a cry for rejection, both in the religious world and in the non-secular world. Unfortunately, the status quo in the United States sees nuclear deterrence as entrenched. We work in the framework of nuclear retaliation. The United States once again rejected the development of a missile defense, meaning that we are locked in a deterrence mindset. The United States is not lowering its stockpiles of nuclear weapons. All of us should be outraged at the moral indignation of United States defense posture. One needs not even go to

the Catholic, or even secular writings, to determine the immorality of nuclear deterrence. Risk calculus, after all, knows no religion. The non-religious advocates against deterrence are as numerous as are the religious. Indeed, the reasons as to why the Catholic Church opposes MAD are of a social justice base, and not necessarily contingent on a belief in Jesus. For example, Steven Miller, of the Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University, draws a clear distinction regarding the risk of nuclear use. Deterrence proponents will, and do claim that any small risk that another nation will use nuclear weapons means that deterrence is justified. Miller, however, sees the world in a different and very reasonable light, writing that even a small risk that the

outbreak of war will result from the existence of nuclear weapons makes the existence and the spread of nuclear weapons to be too dangerous to contemplate (80). That risk is an integral part of any deterrence posture. Without the risk of launch, there is no credible deterrent. Steve Fetter, a professor of Public Affairs at the University of Maryland, further quantifies the level of small risk . Fetter draws the line at one percent, arguing that The key question is not whether deterrence can fail, but how likely failures are. If a one percent chance of a nuclear conflagration is too great a risk to run, then the fact that deterrence was successful in one or two crises is a completely inadequate basis for rejecting the logic of nonproliferation (177). This becomes particularly

important considering the argument that deterrence advocates make about empirical proof of the logic of deterrence. The fact that deterrence is such a contentious issue means that there is no doubt that a one percent risk exists. Neither side, deterrence proponent nor detractor, can be entirely correct. Most of the non-secular arguments about the immorality of nuclear deterrence are summarized in the works of Jonathan Schell, a Professor at Wesleyan University, who begins discussing the subject of massive death, hostage holding, and lack of discrimination that are pillars of the deterrence mindset:Nuclear weapons are distinguished above all by their unparalleled destructive power. Their singularity, from a moral point of view, lies in the fact that the use of just a few would

carry the user beyond every historical benchmark of indiscriminate mass slaughter. Is it necessary, fifty-three years after the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima, to rehearse the basic facts? Suffice it to recall the old rule of thumb that one bomb can destroy one city. A large nuclear weapon today may posses a thousand times the explosive power of the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima – far more than enough to annihilate any city on earth. A single Trident II submarine has the capacity to deliver nearly two hundred warheads, which could lay waste to any nation, giving another rule of thumb: one boat, one nation. The use of a mere dozen nuclear weapons against, say the dozen largest cities of the United States, Russia, or China, causing tens of millions of deaths, would be a human