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The myth of nuclear deterrence

Beyond Nuclear International

Why the arguments that promote it just don’t work

By Linda Pentz Gunter

In trying to argue the myth of deterrence, it is easy to feel as if one has landed in the middle of this brilliantly inspired January 9, 1986 segment of the British television comedy, Yes, Prime Minister. In it, Sir Humphrey tries to persuade the British Prime Minister that purchasing Trident missiles will provide Britain with a nuclear deterrent. But the argument quickly unravels.

But many a truth spoken in jest, as they say. The uncertainty over what the enemy probably does or does not believe is at the very heart of why deterrence remains deeply flawed and arguably a myth.

Nevertheless, deterrence is the cornerstone of nuclear weapons policy, perpetuating their possession by nine nations. If we are serious about moving the nuclear ban agenda forward, we cannot shy away from the deterrence argument.

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May 1, 2018 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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