Arms Control and Nuclear Weapons: U.S. Policies and the National Interest

By W. Gray Nichols; Milton L. Boykin | Go to book overview

Foreword

“Arms control” and “nuclear weapons” are phrases that appear on the front page of every newspaper virtually every day and are heard on the television news programs almost every night. Yet the former is largely undefined in the average citizen's mind and the latter, even though understood, conjures up such unpleasant images that the same average citizen chooses not to dwell on it for any length of time. Therefore, however often repeated, the phrases are little comprehended and for many cause an unconscious rejection. This results in a situation in which we have two subjects mentioned and talked about as much as the World Series in October and addressed substantively and conmprehendingly as the theory of relativity at any time. This is an unfortunate and even dangerous state of affairs; happily, some steps are being taken to ameliorate it, and one of them is the conference which gives rise to this volume.

Shortly after Robert Hutchins retired as Chancellor of the University of Chicago, he was asked with acerbity by one of his critics if communism was still being taught in the college; he replied in the affirmative, noting that cancer was still being taught in the medical school. Important subjects, indeed matters of life and death, however unpleasant or depressing, must be taught and discussed if we are to understand them and deal with them objectively and intelligently. It is therefore important for conferences such as The Citadel Symposium on Arms Control and Nuclear Weapons to take place and address issues such as the military-nuclear balance, proliferation, negotiations, and the like. Such consideration in turn creates a basis for looking beyond these more current problems and addressing over-all questions of long-range policy, in particular the question of whether deterrence, as we know it now and have known it for over forty years, remains a viable and defensible policy, or whether it should be discarded in favor of what some see as a more moral and less dangerous posture, that of defense.

-ix-

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