Security without Nuclear Deterrence

By Mason, Cliff | Pacific Ecologist, Summer 2013 | Go to article overview

Security without Nuclear Deterrence


Mason, Cliff, Pacific Ecologist


Security Without Nuclear Deterrence

Commander Robert Green, Royal Navy (retired)

Astron Media, Auckland, 2010, 272pp

Nuclear deterrence has been a fundamental element of international relations since the Soviet Union's development of nuclear weapons in 1949 ended the United States' monopoly on the technology and started the Cold War. In this book, Commander Green brings the informed view of a military professional with operational and intelligence experience to a comprehensive examination of the deterrence doctrine. His findings are unequivocal: nuclear deterrence has not only failed to prevent wars and contain the proliferation of states with nuclear weapons but also has led the most powerful and influential nations to immoral and illegal activity under the influence of its pernicious dogma.

An outline of Green's personal journey from nuclear warrior to leading anti-nuclear activist is followed by a succinct but detailed history of the deterrence doctrine and its political consequences. Even for those who have lived through the times this story remains shocking. That we have avoided nuclear war is a miracle. Most disturbing is that the idea that a nation can ensure its security by holding and threatening to use nuclear weapons has persisted even as the technology to deliver or defend against nuclear warheads has advanced and as the political context has changed. Even momentous events such as the collapse of the Soviet Union have not materially affected the concept or even the practical aspects of deterrence. The major nuclear armed states have borne the increasing burden of complications and contradictions by steadfast denial. The examination of deterrence as it has played out in 'the real world' and how it has influenced the proliferation of countries possessing the technology, overtly or otherwise, occupies the middle portion of the book. …

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