Kenneth W. Kemp
Kenneth Kemp begins his deliberations by noting that two inventions during World War II (the ballistic missile and atomic warheads) plus the apparent willingness of nations to destroy enemy cities have brought us to a "supreme crisis." He reviews briefly the historical development of this crisis and suggests that there are three possible policies available to meet it; disarmament (unilateral or multilateral), retention of the strategy of nuclear deterrence by threat of retaliation, or strategic defense. He evaluates the first two policy alternatives, mentioning serious difficulties with each. Finally he points out the moral superiority as well as the practical superiority of the third alternative (strategic defense). He indicates two disadvantages advanced by critics of strategic defense and proposes responses to them.
"The whole human race faces a moment of supreme crisis on its advance towards maturity." 1 So warned the Fathers of Vatican II in opening their discussion of the problem of war in the modern world. How did we get to this moment of supreme crisis? The roots of the crisis can easily be traced at least as far back as Eighteenth Century France where, within a space of a few years, there occurred two events which laid the foundations for the problem we now face. The first was the Montgolfier balloon ascent, which began man's conquest of the air, the second was conscription into the Republican armies, which began the nationalization of war. The century and a half that
First published in Catholicism in Crisis, Vol. 3, No. 7 ( June 1985), © 1985 by Kenneth W. Kemp . Reprinted by permission.