Pacifism and the Contemporary International Situation
Whatever the objections to pacifism — the view that peace is the highest value of all and that no goal, however lofty, is worth fighting a war for — one has to admit that in the nuclear era it makes at least some sense, which even the fiercest opponents of pacifism cannot entirely deny. For the highest value of all, indeed a value without which all other human values lose their very meaning, is life. A nuclear war, insofar as it puts at high risk the continuation of all life on Earth, seems therefore not to be worth fighting, even if the defence of such precious values as national independence — let alone territorial integrity — or any lesser ideological or political values, is at stake. The provocative catchphrase ‘better red than dead’ expresses this attitude in a nutshell and was formulated on the basis of such reasoning. Indeed, it is hard to disagree with the elementary truth that it is better to be anything but dead, because as long as there is life there is also hope. After all, as long as people stay alive, humanity, as an inherent and irrepressible part of any individual, will — under any external circumstances, however adverse — remain alive too, and there are strong reasons to believe that, in the end, it will have to assert itself, against all the odds, over all forces trying to suppress it. And if this is so, why not agree, in order to survive, to become ‘red’ for a certain limited period of time?
KeywordsSoviet Government Military Strength Conventional Force Soviet Foreign Policy Western Policy
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