Analyse & Kritik

Journal of Philosophy and Social Theory

Strategie und Ethik der atomaren Abschreckung

1987 (9) Issue 1-2


Der Titel dieses Heftes verbindet zwei Bereiche, deren Vereinbarkeit häufig bezweifelt wird: internationale Politik und Moral. Vor allem im Hinblick auf militärpolitische Fragen vertreten "Realisten" die Auffassung, daß die moralische Kritik zwischenstaatlicher Machtpolitik illusionär ist. Weder sei es im nationalen Interesse von Staaten, sich moralischen Normen zu unterwerfen, noch sei es möglich, moralische Normen gegenüber Staaten durchzusetzen. Ein solcher "Realismus" ist aber offenbar...

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Table of Contents

Title: The American Debate on Nuclear Weapons Policy. A Review of the Literature 1945-1985
Author: Douglas P. Lackey
Page: 7-46

Abstract: Criticism of nuclear weapons policies often misses the target throuh ignorance of the policies that are actually in effect. This essay recounts the development of American nuclear weapons policies, together with a history of the criticisms of these policies presented by nuclear strategists and moral philosophers.

Title: The Logic of Deterrence
Author: Frank C. Zagare
Page: 47-61

Abstract: This article describes the important structural characteristics of a recently developed game-theoretic model of deterrence, summarizes the major deductions drawn from it, and discusses its implications for both the theory of deterrence and the current strategic relationship of the super-powers. The model shows that a credible threat and a power advantage are neither necessary nor sufficient conditions for stable deterrence. It also suggests that, even under ideal conditions, deterrence is an intricate and fundamentally fragile relationship that rests, ultimately, upon the preferences and perceptions of key decision-makers rather than upon the nature and composition of each side's strategic arsenal.

Title: Is Nuclear Deterrence Rational, and Will Star Wars Help?
Author: Steven J. Brams / D. Marc Kilgour
Page: 62-74

Abstract: Deterrence means threatening to retaliate against an attack in order to deter it in the first place. The central problem with a policy of deterrence is that the threat of retaliation may not be credible if retaliation leads to a worse outcome - perhaps a nuclear holocaust - than a side would suffer from absorbing a limited first strike and not retaliating. - The optimality of deterrence is analyzed by means of a Deterrence Game based on Chicken, in which each player chooses a probability (or level) of preemption, and of retaliation if preempted. The Nash equilibria, or stable outcomes, in this game are compared with those in a Star Wars Game, in which the preemption and retaliation levels are constrained by the defensive capabilities of each side. Unlike threats in the Deterrence Game, which can always stabilize the cooperative outcome, mutual preemption emerges as an equilibrium in the Star Wars Game, underscoring the problem - particularly if defensive capabilities are unbalanced - that deterrence will be subverted by the development of Star Wars.

Title: "Denn sie wissen nicht, was sie tun". Ein nicht-politisches und weltanschauungsfreies Argument zur Raketenstationierung
Author: Wolfgang Stegmüller
Page: 75-81

Abstract: The article put forwards an argument against the deployment of American middle range missiles in 1983 within the Federal Republic of Germany. It stresses the threat to safety particularly for European countries, because of the technological superiority of American missiles over Russian missiles.

Title: Nuclear Deterrence: The Rational and the Political
Author: George H. Quester
Page: 82-96

Abstract: While it is often argued that U. S. military strategy has gone through substantial changes over the past three decades, it is not so clear if this is so, or why this should be so. Some changes in the real strategic problem of the west must be considered, including the growth of the Soviet nuclear arsenal. Changes in our perception of the problem may be at least as important, however, amid some possibilities of 'Finlandisation'. Changes in the West's opportunities must also be considered, including 'limited nuclear war' and a totally conventional defense. Finally to be considered are the bureaucratic motivations of those advocating any such changes in western military postures, all of which suggest that current policies may still be better than the alternatives.

Title: Die Mängel der Abschreckung: Lassen sie sich beheben?
Author: Daniel Frei
Page: 97-119

Abstract: The strategy of deterrence suffers from at least 8 deficiencies: 1. The deterrence threat may be underestimated or overestimated. 2. The efficacy of deterrence is conditioned by a variety of factors. 3. Deterrence is highly questionable inasmuch as it represents the principle of revenge. 4. Deterrence may lead to self-deterrence. 5. Extended deterrence may have a low degree of credibility. 6. The stability of the deterrence system is constantly jeopardized. 7. Deterrence may lead to accidental nuclearwar. 8. Moral acceptability of deterrence is decreasing. Attempts to overcome these deficiencies by upgraded deterrence postures, arms control, unilateral disarmament and defensive systems have been futile. Therefore mankind will have to live with deterrence; efforts ought to be undertaken, however, to prevent a 'nuclear Sarajevo' by appropriate measures stabilizing the strategic system.

Title: Recent Strategic Developments. A Critical Overview From A Just War Perspective
Author: James Turner Johnson
Page: 120-141

Abstract: Beginning with a sketch of the major moral ideas contained in just war tradition, this essay applies them to three controverted issues in contemporary military debate: nuclear deterrence strategy, the strategic defense initiative, and the possibility of building and deploying fractional megatonnage nuclear weapons on delivery vehicles of extremely high accuracy. It is argued that in terms of the criteria of just war tradition, deterrence in its present form poses grave moral problems. The two new weapons systems are then examined in terms of whether, by just war criteria, they represent more moral means of defense than contemporary nuclear deterrence.

Title: Nuclear Deterrence and Just War Theory
Author: Robert L. Phillips
Page: 142-154

Abstract: The just war tradition stands as the moral and prudential alternatie to both pacifism and realism. It forms the only reasonable ethical basis for the understanding of state initiated force. As applied to questions of nuclear deterrence, just war theory is incompatible with Mutual Assured Destruction and with the threat of MAD. Just war theory entails a move toward counterforce with discriminate targeting of military capabilities and away from city targeting. This is now becoming possible technically and is morally indicated. The counterforce option is realistic in that nuclear disarmament is an extremely remote possibility and alternate strategies such as bluff are not workable. A counterforce strategy would be both discriminate and proportional as well as being in accord with political realism.

Title: Just War Theory and Nuclear Strategy
Author: James P. Sterba
Page: 155-174

Abstract: I defend just war theory against pacifist, conventionalist, collectivist and feminist challenges that have been recently directed against it. I go on to apply just war theory to the use and threat to use nuclear weapons concluding that under present conditions the possession but not the threat to use a limited nuclear force is morally justified.

Title: Das moralische Dilemma der nuklearen Abschreckung
Author: Dieter Birnbacher
Page: 175-192

Abstract: The moral dilemma of nuclear deterrence arises from two conflicting facts: the fact that in a world of conflicting superpowers with nuclear arsenals preserving peace must have an overriding moral priority; and that a policy of mutual nuclear deterrence, which seems well suited to achieve this aim, faces grave moral difficulties on its own, the main difficulty being the moral indefensibility of the act of retaliation threatened in case of attack. It is argued that a consequentialist approach to the moral assessment of nuclear deterrence is in principle able to provide a solution to this dilemma by reducing the moral dilemma to a non-moral dilemma which can in turn be solved by a comparison of risks. In this connection, a theory of the ,functional, assessment of intentions is developed in order to subject even threats involving a conditional intention to retaliate to consequentialist reasoning.

Title: Über grundlegende Voraussetzungen für Krisenstabilität in Europa ohne Kernwaffen
Author: Reiner K. Huber / Hilmar Linnenkamp / Ingrid Schölch
Page: 193-216

Abstract: There are several reasons which suggest that the role of nuclear weapons for deterrence in Europe is gradually diminishing. Thus, Europeans are confronted with the question whether and under what conditions strategie stability can be obtained in a post-nuclear world. From the analysis of a simple conceptual model of military conflict the conclusion is reached that, in order to preserve crisis stability in a non-nuclear world and to dampen the arms race, the antagonistic land forces in Europe need to be gradually restructured in a manner so that neither side may perceive the other as a potential threat to its territorial integrity. The requisite structural changes ought to be brought about before nuclear weapons become altogether invailable for deterrence in Europe, otherwise the Warsaw Pact's conventional superiority would, in a serious crisis, leave Western Europe only the choice between military defeat and a priori capitulation. There should be military as well as economic incentives for the implementation of structrual changes toward a reduction of the offensive capabilities of conventional forces, if the so-called ,defense efficiency hypothesis, were to be validated. Otherwise, a deterioration of crisis stability must be expected during the transition period.