LEC23 - Nuclear Deterrance Dec 1

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Published on 16 Aug 2010
School
UTSG
Department
Philosophy
Course
PHL378H1
Professor
PHL 378 F2009 WEEK THIRTEEN CLASS ONE
– review plus exam discussion on Thursday; essays OK on Friday, leave in my dropbox
– topic is nuclear deterrence, which will connect with Walzer on supreme emergency
– mutual assured destruction: each side threatens to annihilate the other’s cities if the
other launches a first nuclear strike; assumes survivability of second-strike forces, especially on
submarines; stability of system, with only proxy wars between two powers; led to ABM treaty of
1970s, which was threatened by what? Reagans Star Wars, revived by Bush II
– also counterforce vs. countervalue; objections to first that it might encourage belief in
successful first strike, so continued preference for stability of MAD; issue of intermediate
missiles in Europe, given credibility of nuclear deterrent to Soviet land invasion; these missiles
as ultimately leading to nuclear reductions and end of Cold War
– BUT this very stable MAD requires threat to annihilate enemy civilian centres after first
strike, and everyone agrees this would be grossly immoral; first, it involves violation of
discrimination, because it targets civilians, and on a massive scale; second, in the event of a first
strike, a retaliatory second strike would do no good; it would just be more devastation on top of
devastation and certainly couldn’t stop your citizens from being killed; Walzer 269, 275, 282,
Lackey 119; and surely right; BUT if deterrence works, there’s no need to launch a second strike,
you need only to threaten it
– one possibility is to threaten a second strike but not mean it, i.e. not have any intention
of actually retaliating; Ramsey, on Walzer 281; bluffing; but normal view is that you can’t bluff –
you have to really intend the retaliation; point about having an institution – for a credible threat,
you need a whole institutional set-up ready to go, which requires participants ready to go, and
that can’t really be faked
– but if immoral to do something, isn’t it also immoral to intend it? wrongful intentions
principle, Ramsey on Walzer 272, also (esp.) Catholic writers who emphasize double effect; here
you intend deaths of civilians maybe even as end, since you can’t use them as means to any end
– some may say the deterrent intentions are only conditional: you only intend to retaliate
if enemy attacks first, and if deterrence works you may never have to intend to retaliate
simpliciter; BUT example on top of 272; even conditional intentions seem wrong
– AT SAME TIME: great benefits of nuclear deterrence: no nuclear attack, also no
nuclear blackmail; global stability?
– is Walzer for or against nuclear deterrence? he sees the Cold War standoff as a supreme
emergency (274, 283), though he’s unhappy about that; 273 on Soviet regime as not as great an
evil as Nazism; also main evil not nuclear destruction – appeasement would avoid that – but
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Document Summary

Review plus exam discussion on thursday; essays ok on friday, leave in my dropbox. Topic is nuclear deterrence, which will connect with walzer on supreme emergency. Lackey 119; and surely right; but if deterrence works, there"s no need to launch a second strike, you need only to threaten it. But if immoral to do something, isn"t it also immoral to intend it? wrongful intentions principle, ramsey on walzer 272, also (esp. ) Catholic writers who emphasize double effect; here you intend deaths of civilians maybe even as end, since you can"t use them as means to any end. Still, he seems to assume that nuclear deterrence allowed under supreme emergency; 274 (first part with tragic moral conflict? second part with weird last sentence); also 283 on getting out; 273 for what"s at stake; cf. Others more sanguine: kavka"s analysis: overwhelming consequentialist reasons to intend retaliation, since overwhelmingly likely that retaliation won"t be likely; pp.

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