The Prisoners of Insecurity: Nuclear Deterrence, the Arms Race, and Arms Control

The Prisoners of Insecurity: Nuclear Deterrence, the Arms Race, and Arms Control

The Prisoners of Insecurity: Nuclear Deterrence, the Arms Race, and Arms Control

The Prisoners of Insecurity: Nuclear Deterrence, the Arms Race, and Arms Control

Excerpt

This book is concerned with how to think about strategic questions. It is not devoted primarily to current information on weapons numbers and capabilities. It has some information of that sort, but its real purpose is to show that most of the fundamental questions about national security and arms control are political rather than technological.

A popular myth says that arms control and security questions should be left to the experts, that these are highly technical, arcane matters about which the ordinary citizen cannot hope to be properly informed. Rather, says the myth, the citizen should leave such matters to those who devote their full professional lives to them and to those who also have access to the highly specialized secret information without which no informed judgment is possible. "If you don't have a high-level security clearance, you have no business dabbling in these affairs."

For the elites who make such an argument, this myth is self‐ serving. Of course they would prefer to keep effective policy debate within a small "informed" circle. It is a nuisance to have to make policy in a broad democratic forum; such a process is time consuming and has unpredictable outcomes. Yet, arms control is the only area of public policy that is so sharply removed from informed democratic discussion—and it is also probably the most critical area, literally a matter of life and death. To the extent that such a vital area of concern remains removed from informed public debate, democratic government is a sham.

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