The Abolition

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The Abolition

By Jonathan Schell
Knopf, 1984
192 pp. $11.95
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In his earlier book, The Fate of the Earth, Jonathan Schell sought to resolve our difficult nuclear dilemmas through an undefined type of world government, and seemed to wish away our reliance upon nuclear deterrence. In this sequel he makes an effort to confront, honestly and eloquently, some of the criticisms he received. Now he is willing to accept deterrence, but of a special sort: nuclear weapons would still be abolished, but the known ability of the various nations to build them would provide a "weaponless deterrence." Unfortunately, this raises more questions than it answers. Schell's strength is his ability to make us question the assumptions and accepted wisdoms of 40 years of living with nuclear arms. His continuing weakness is an unmistakable political naïveté. Yet, this book is evidence that Schell's thinking is evolving. Might a third volume not espouse arms control?

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