Realism, Idealism, Deterrence, and Disarmament
Journal Article - Open Access
AIR UNIV MAXWELL AFB AL MAXWELL AFB United States
Pagination or Media Count:
The general concepts of idealism and realism appear to have captured truths about what should be and what is, respectively. The idealists contemporary focus on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear war surely is valid the risks to humanity of the employment of nuclear weapons are simply so extreme in so many scenarios that nuclear war must be prevented. However, the contention that nuclear disarmament is the answerand correspondingly nuclear deterrence must be demotedpresumes that the cooperative transformation of the interstate system necessary for disarmament is likely within a meaningful timeframe. Yet degrading nuclear deterrence now in favor of transformation and disarmament risks waiting for Godot because also valid is the realists basic contention that the timely transformation of the interstate system needed for cooperative global nuclear disarmament appears implausible in the extreme. The apparent tranquility of the immediate postCold War period that led many to optimism in this regard no longer exists, and the premature demotion of nuclear deterrence could unintentionally precipitate its failure.
- Government and Political Science
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics