Ethical Dilemmas of Nuclear Deterrence

  • Bruce Russett
Part of the Advances in Foreign Policy Analysis book series (AFPA)


For the first time in the nuclear era, normative and practical issues have become explicitly intertwined in widespread public discussion of deterrence. Previously, “main-stream” strategic analysts typically avoided overt attention to normative questions, preferring to concentrate on the alleged psychological or military foundations of deterrence theory. Public commentators who did raise normative issues all too often did so only at the fringes, debating the virtues of pacifism or the implications of simple “red vs. dead” declarations. Of course there had long been analysts who insisted on raising more subtle and complex normative issues, but their impact was limited. In the past few years, however, normative issues have been brought front and center and knitted inextricably into the traditional political and military context. In this chapter, I shall address these issues by explication of the choices faced, and the conclusions adopted, by the Catholic bishops.


Ethical Dilemma Nuclear Weapon Global Community Catholic Bishop Nuclear Disarmament 
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© Bruce Russett 2006

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  • Bruce Russett

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