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In accepting the Nobel Prize in 1949, William Faulkner asked, "There is only the question: When will I be blown up?" A device capable of annihilating humankind fundamentally altered the way states calculated their relationships to the rest of the world.
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IT IS now three years since an explosion over Hiroshima revealed to the world that man had been given the means of destroying himself. Eight atomic bombs have now been detonated -- assuming that the three "atomic weapons" tested at Eniwetok were in fact bombs -- and each was in itself a sufficient warning that the promise of eventual benefits resulting from the peacetime use of atomic energy must count as nothing compared to the awful menace of the bomb itself.
IT IS possible that in the large light of history, if indeed there is to be history, the atomic bomb will appear not very different than in the bright light of the first atomic explosion. Partly because of the mood of the time, partly because of a very clear prevision of what the technical developments would be, we had the impression that this might mark, not merely the end of a great and terrible war, but the end of such wars for mankind.
AFTER much use in political debate, words tend to become leathery and pliable in the meanings they suggest. Perhaps they gain something in richness of implication but they lose in precision. For example, the word "policy" is used in two related but different senses. In one sense, the action sense, it refers to the general guide lines which we believe should and will in fact govern our actions in various contingencies. In the other sense, the declaratory sense, it refers to policy statements which have as their aim political and psychological effects.
IN his whimsical essay "Perpetual Peace" written in 1795, the German philosopher Kant predicted that world peace could be attained in one of two ways: by a moral consensus which he identified with a republican form of government, or by a cycle of wars of ever-increasing violence which would reduce the major Powers to impotence.
THE first shock administered by the Soviet launching of sputnik has almost dissipated. The flurry of statements and investigations and improvised responses has died down, leaving a small residue: a slight increase in the schedule of bomber and ballistic missile production, with a resulting small increment in our defense expenditures for the current fiscal year; a considerable enthusiasm for space travel; and some stirrings of interest in the teaching of mathematics and physics in the secondary schools.
THREE and a half years ago when John J. McCloy gave an accounting in this journal of where we stood in efforts for disarmament the picture which he presented was understandably somber.[i] In the previous September there had been some progress in the negotiation of a "Joint Statement of Agreed Principles," an agreement between the United States and the Soviet Union on certain criteria that would have to be met if progress was to be made on substantive measures. But that one hopeful development had to be balanced against a record of discouragingly little progress in any other negotiations, growing difficulties over Berlin culminating in the erection of the Wall, and the termination, also in September 1961, of the understanding on the nuclear-test cessation.
INTRODUCTION: Since World War II there has been a continuing debate on military doctrine concerning the actual utility of nuclear weapons in war. This debate, irrespective of the merits of the divergent points of view, tends to create the perception that the outcome and scale of a nuclear conflict could be controlled by the doctrine or the types of nuclear weapons employed. Is this the case?
We are four Americans who have been concerned over many years with the relation between nuclear weapons and the peace and freedom of the members of the Atlantic Alliance. Having learned that each of us separately has been coming to hold new views on this hard but vital question, we decided to see how far our thoughts, and the lessons of our varied experiences, could be put together; the essay that follows is the result. It argues that a new policy can bring great benefits, but it aims to start a discussion, not to end it.
AN OPEN LETTER TO DR. SIDNEY DRELL Dear Friend: I have read your two splendid lectures--the speech on nuclear weapons at Grace Cathedral, October 23, 1982, and the opening statement to Hearings on the Consequences of Nuclear War before the Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight. What you say and write about the appalling dangers of nuclear war is very close to my heart and has disturbed me profoundly for many years now. I decided to address an open letter to you, feeling it necessary to take part in the discussion of this problem, one of the most important facing mankind.
In the almost four decades since the appearance of nuclear weapons, concern over the dangers these weapons raise has varied markedly. A preoccupation with nuclear weapons has characterized only a very few, and even among these few anxiety over the prospects of nuclear war has not been a constant. Beyond the nuclear strategists and a small entourage, the nuclear question has not evoked a steady level of attention, let alone of anxiety. On the contrary, the attention of foreign policy elites, and even more the general public, has swung from one extreme to the other and within a brief period of time.
Arms control has certainly gone off the tracks. For several years what are called arms negotiations have been mostly a public exchange of accusations; and it often looks as if it is the arms negotiations that are driving the arms race. It is hard to escape the impression that the planned procurement of 50 MX missiles (at latest count) has been an obligation imposed by a doctrine that the end justifies the means--the end something called arms control, and the means a demonstration that the United States does not lack the determination to match or exceed the Soviets in every category of weapons.
The nuclear threat has been transformed since the end of the Cold War, but Washington's nuclear posture has not changed to meet it. The United States should scale back its arsenal while allowing limited nuclear tests, shaping its nuclear force to bolster nonproliferation without undermining deterrence.