In Defence of New Zealand: Foreign Policy Choices in The Nuclear Age 9780367006488, 9780367156350, 9780429036347

This book provides a timely, thoughtful and wide-ranging study of the issues of nuclear policies, overall strategy, and

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Table of contents :
Half Title
List of Tables
List of Figures
Public Opinion
Nuclear Morality
Nuclear Balance and Deterrence
Arms Control or Arms Race?
From MAD to NUTS
Star Wars
Nuclear Winter
The ANZUS Treaty
The ANZUS Relationship
The Security Guarantee
Economic Ramifications
Political Dependence?
1983 Review
New Zealand as a Valued Ally
The Australian Connection
Indian Foreign Policy
The Nonaligned Movement
A Nonaligned New Zealand?
Rise and Decline of Neutrality
Conditions of Neutrality
Case Studies
Neutrality and New Zealand
Nordic Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone?
The Treaty of Tlatelolco
United Nations and NWFZ
The Treaty of Rarotonga
The American Case
New Zealand
Possible Outcomes
Milestone to Millstone
No Annihilation without Representation
Appendix A ANZUS Treaty
Appendix Β South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty and Draft Protocols (Treaty of Rarotonga)
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In Defence of New Zealand Foreign Policy Choices in the Nuclear Age

Westview Special Studies

The concept of Westview Special Studies is a response to the continuing crisis in academic and informational publishing·. Library budgets are being diverted from the purchase of books and used for data banks, computers, micromedia, and other methods of information retrieval. Interlibrary loan structures further reduce the edition sizes required to satisfy the needs of the scholarly community. Economic pressures on university presses and the few private scholarly publishing companies have greatly limited the capacity of the industry to properly serve the academic and research communities. As a result, many manuscripts dealing with important subjects, often representing the highest level of scholarship, are no longer economically viable publishing projects--or, if accepted for publication, are typically subject to lead times ranging from one to three years. Westview Special Studies are our practical solution to the problem. As always, the selection criteria include the importance of the subject, the work's contribution to scholarship, and its insight, originality of thought, and excellence of exposition. We accept manuscripts in camera-ready form, typed, set, or word processed according t6 specifications laid out in our comprehensive manual, which contains straightforward instructions and sample pages. The responsibility for .editing and proofreading lies with the author ~r sponsoring institution, but our editorial staff is always available to answer questions and provide guidance. The result is a book printed on acid-free paper and bound in sturdy, library-quality soft covers. We manufacture these books ourselves using equipment that does not require a lengthy make-ready process and that allows us to publish first editions of 300 to 1000 copies and to reprint even smaller quantities as needed. Thus we can produce Special Studies quickly and can keep even very specialized books in print as long as there is a demand for them.

About the Book and Author Nuclear-free zones, neutrality, and nonalignment are catchwords that recently have earned unprecedented international publicity for New Zealand's foreign policy. That country's defence policy has also been subjected to its most searching scrutiny since World War II. In this book, Dr. Ramesh Thakur addresses in depth the issues underlying worldwide interest in the area and places his study of New Zealand policy in the global nuclear context. The ANZUS alliance and the 1951 treaty that created it are attended by a range of collaborative activities in defence, intelligence, naval exercises, and C3I facilities. Dr. Thakur weighs the values and opportunity costs of ANZUS for New Zealand's pursuing a nonaligned or neutral policy and analyses the 1985 establishment of a nuclear-free zone for the South Pacific in light of similar precedents elsewhere. Dr. Thakur concludes that rather than indicating a radically new course, a thorough review of New Zealand's defence and foreign policies may well provide renewed justification for existing alliance structures.

Ramesh Thakur is senior lecturer in political studies at the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand, and a past president of the Dunedin branch of the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs. He is the author of Peacekeeping in Vietnam, and he is the New Zealand correspondent of the Asian Defence Journal.

In Defence of New Zealand Foreign Policy Choices in the Nuclear Age Ramesh Thakur

I~ ~~o~;~;n~~;up LONDON AND NEW YORK

First published 1986 by Westview Press, Inc. Published 2018 by Routledge 52 Vanderbilt Avenue, New York, NY 10017 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business

Copyright© 1984, 1986 by Ramesh Thakur All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers.

Notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe.

Library of Congress Cdtalog Card Number: 86-50021 ISBN 13: 978-0-367-00648-8 (hbk)

Contents List of Tables List of Figures Foreword, Rt. Hon. Brian Acknowledgments

xi TaZboys CH


Xll1 XV



Alliances Public Opinion Notes

2 3 5




Nuclear Morality Nuclear Balance and Deterrence Arms Control or Arms Race? From MAD to NUTS

19 23

Nuclear Winter Notes

34 39



Star Wars



The ANZUS Treaty The ANZUS Relationship Conclusion Notes

41 54

60 62




The Security Guarantee Economic Ramifications Political Dependence? 1983 Review New Zealand as a Valued Ally The Australian Connection Conclusion Notes


100 101 103 105



Indian Foreign Policy The Nonaligned Movement A Nonaligned New Zealand? Conclusion Notes

110 112



Rise and Decline of Neutrality Conditions of Neutrality Case Studies Neutrality and New Zealand Conclusion Notes




Nordic Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone? The Treaty of Tlatelolco United Nations and NWFZ The Treaty of Rarotonga Evaluation Conclusion Notes

151 155 160 161 173


92 98

120 122 123


130 135

145 147





The American Case New Zealand Possible Outcomes Notes

184 188 192 201



Milestone to Millstone No Annihilation without Representation Notes

204 210 213

Appendix A


ANZUS Treaty

Appendix B South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty and Draft Protocols (Treaty of Rarotonga) 219





Tables and Figures TABLES

Table Table Table Table

2.1 4.1 4.2 4.3

Table 5.1 Table 6.1 Table 7.1

Comparison of Key Military Technologies Soviet Naval Forces New Zealand's External Trade, 1982-83 Political & Regional Focus of New Zealand Trade, 1982-83 Nonaligned Summit Meetings, 1961-1983 Defence and Social Expenditures of Selected Countries French Nuclear Tests in the Pacific, 1966-1985

17 77 88 89 113 143 172


Figure 2.1 Figure 2.2 Figure 2.3 Figure4.1 Figure 9.1

Nuclear Weapons Chart Improving Accuracy of Strategic Missiles Phases of a Typical Ballistic Missile The World from New Zealand Military Spending & International Peacekeeping Expenditures, 1982

14 16 29 79 211


South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone



Foreword In a world of sovereign states no issue is of more critical importance to each nation than its own security. In this century governments have twice sought to establish international machinery to prevent wars and promote the peaceful settlement of disputes, but both the League of Nations and the United Nations have failed to provide for the collective security of their members. The inability of the Security Council to keep the peace and halt aggression has led individual countries once again to seek their security through reliance on their own resources and in alliance with other like-minded states. Since World War II New Zealand has sought to ensure her national security in alliance with Australia and the United States, essentially through the framework of the ANZUS Treaty. Although our safety was seriously threatened in the Second World War, our maritime environment and geographical location together with the absence of any obvious potential aggressors have led to a certain sense of complacency with regard to our security in recent decades. We have not been overly concerned about defence or security issues. However, the awful horror of nuclear destruction, the mounting stockpile of nuclear weapons, the vast expenditure on armament and the continuing failure of the superpowers to come to negotiate to scale down the nuclear arms race have led to general concern and a reexamination by the public in New Zealand as elsewhere of traditional policies and attitudes towards defence, alliance policies and security issues generally. Dr Thakur in this work has provided us with a timely, thoughtful and wide-ranging study of these issues. He has made an incisive and informed contribution to the current discussion of the issues of nuclear policies, overall strategy and the value of the ANZUS alliance. As well, he looks at alternatives to traditional New Zealand defence policies, neutrality and nonalignment. He has made a closely argued study of nuclear weapons free zones, their limitations and effectiveness and in particular looks at the feasibility and value of a South Pacific nuclear weapons free zone.


xiv In this carefully balanced and considered exposition Dr Thakur, who is Chairman of the Dunedin Branch of the Institute of International Affairs, has performed a most useful service for all those of us who are concerned about New Zealand's future in the world. His up-to-date review takes account of the considerable political and technological changes that have taken place in the 33 years since New Zealand signed the ANZUS Treaty. B. E. Tal,boys, President, Affairs, International, of New Zeal,and Institute Wel,l,ington, November 1984.

Acknowledgments New Zealand appears to have embarked on the most searching examination of its defence and foreign policy axioms since the Second World War. This book is offered as one person's contribution to the debate. My hope is, not that my conclusions will be accepted wholly and uncritically, but that my analysis will be treated seriously and form the basis of further informed discussion. My arguments and conclusions in tum owe much to frequent and continuing discussions with colleagues and friends of like and differing viewpoints. In particular, I am grateful to Colin Aikman, Richard Mulgan and Antony Wood for helpful advice and comments on the first edition, and to John Scott for encouragement to undertake the task of revision. I am obliged to Pavel Tichy for his fme execution of the cartoon (p. 175). Deeply felt thanks are due to Mrs Jeanette Bonar and Mrs Betty Larkins for their typing skills, and to Donald Ellis of the University of Otago Computing Services Centre for initiating us all into the baffling idiosyncrasies of word-processors. Rconesh Thakur


1 Introduction National behaviour, like all human and social behaviour, is purposive: it seeks to attain certain goals. Governments pursue goals in both national politics and international relations. National hopes and aspirations on the world stage are constrained by two sets of considerations. Internally, they must be related to national capability, or the political, economic and military resources available to a country to fulfil its desires. Externally, one nation's goals and capability must be matched with the goals of other nations and the resources available to them. Foreign policy is essentially the attempt to pursue national objectives in the international arena along these lines. The attempt is made jointly by politicians and bureaucrats. Governments formulate foreign policy goals, and democratic governments represent national aspirations. The foreign service bureaucracy advises government on the best "fit" between political goals, national resources and international limitations, and tries to implement specific policy decisions made by government. Most of the work done by foreign service officials involves routine actions. The broad goals of a nation change but slowly over time. Nevertheless, all foreign policy behaviour takes place within the framework of national objectives which are usually well understood in their broad outlines. Objectives can be general (e.g. peace) or specific (e.g. conaibuting to a peacekeeping force); many different objectives are pursued simultaneously; and they are not always mutually consistent. One standard textbook divides objectives into three types: core values, middle range objectives, and long term goals.l Core interests include preserving a country's territorial integrity and political independence, and may include preserving religious, social, ethnic etc., identity. These are interests in defence of which people may go to war. Middle range objectives include such goals as economic growth, trade, foreign aid, etc. Long term goals refer to hopes as much as interests, e.g. triumph of democracy or communism around the world, establishment of a world government, or achievement of world peace. 1

2 For the first half of the twentieth century, New Zealand's foreign policy objectives were more or less subsumed within British Commonwealth interests. The identification with European culture and economy was complemented but not replaced with heightened awareness of increasing American salience after the Second World War. More recently, New Zealand objectives have also begun to take note of its geographical location in the South Pacific and on the edge of Southeast Asia. Events since the Second World War have forced a similar reassessment upon New Zealand foreign policy makers in the economic sphere. Much as military realities during the war compelled New Zealand to seek security after the war in association with the United States rather than Britain, so Britain's entry into the EEC shocked New Zealand into looking for alternative trading partners in Australia, the Middle East, AsiaPacific, and even the communist bloc. The centrality of trade to New Zealand's foreign policy gives it the status of a core value. Consequently, success in trade diversification in turn served to embolden questions regarding the premises of New Zealand defence and foreign policy which had remained unchanged although the world political situation had altered fundamentally by the 1970s. The achievement of strategic parity by the Soviet Union, the growth of nuclear weapons beyond all comprehension, the development of relations with China, the bankruptcy of U.S. policy in Vietnam, the proclamation of the Nixon doctrine limiting U.S. help to allies, and the advent of the Reagan administration laden with aggressive rhetoric: all such developments seemed to indicate to many New Zealanders that the time had come for the country to undertake a comprehensive review of the strategic bases of its external policies.

ALLIANCES The cornerstone of New Zealand's foreign policy at present is the ANZUS alliance. The call for review is therefore a demand to examine the adequacy of ANZUS. The debate over ANZUS is a specific instance in a large body of scholarly literature on alliances in general. In seeking to protect core values, a country with insufficient resources on its own may well seek to enter into military-diplomatic coalitions with others. Questions that scholars have investigated include: who will ally with whom, under what conditions, and how? do alliances increase national security or international insecurity? why do alliances succeed or fail? Many of these questions remain unsettled and in dispute, for example the relationship between alliances and stability or war avoidance. Simply put, nations confronted by common problems or pursuing similar objectives will consider banding together as friends, whether this be in military (e.g. NATO), economic (e.g. EEC) or political (e.g. the Commonwealth) spheres. Although countries can join alliances for aggressive purposes, the more usual motive is common defence against a

3 shared military threat. While a common military threat is a necessary condition for forging alliances, it is not a sufficient one. A country can choose neutrality as a safer means of evading the threat in preference to alliances as the means of confronting it, as Belgium did in 1936. Surprisingly, even geographical proximity is not very relevant as a favourable influence for the creation and durability of alliances. In discussing ANZUS as an alliance, we will pay particular attention to four factors: the conditions which activate the alliance, called the casus foederis ; the nature of its commitments; the extent of military cohesion and integration; and the geographic scope of the treaty. While each of these will be considered in detail in the chapter on ANZUS, there is one important point that deserves preliminary mention. In the final analysis, treaties are paper guarantees and paper obligations. A coincidence or clash of interests is far more important than formal treaty provisions. The United Nations Organization in practice means a lot less than its Charter would have us believe; NATO by contrast means a lot more than its formal status. We should therefore be wary of becoming bogged down in excessive legalism when discussing and evaluating alliances, and look to the operational reality beyond As for circumstances in which alliances begin to crumble, the most obvious is when objectives that were once shared in common are no longer so. This can happen, for example, when the choice of enemies differs. Thus the military alliance between the USA and Pakistan broke down in the 1960s because Pakistan began to look upon China as an ally rather than its enemy. Or a threat against one alliance paqner may not be seen as a threat by the others. Allies can fall out even with dramatic changes in one country creating a fundamental social-political incompatibility between them. This happened when the Shah of Iran was overthrown by the Islamic fundamentalist Ayatollah Khomeini. In recent years, however, the most potent division within the Western alliance has been caused by the peculiarities of nuclear weapons. This was as true of French doubts on the American nuclear deterrent in the 1960s as it is of European peace movement agonies in the 1980s. PUBLIC OPINION The reasons for the power of nuclear weapons to drive a wedge between allies will become clearer in the next chapter. For now I want to note the remarkable contribution that fears of nuclear war have made towards galvanizing large sections of Western societies against their own governments. On most foreign policy issues, the lay public is generally regarded as uninformed, inattentive and apathetic. The citizenry tends to be confused rather than coherent, fractured rather than cohesive, and divided rather than consistent on external issues. Consequently, on most foreign policy issues even democratic governments can afford to lead rather than follow public opinion.


Democratic governments must nevertheless stay within certain bounds. Public opinion can have an important role to play at election time in defining the boundaries of permissible foreign policy behaviour, and in constraining the latitude of governments even between elections. The antinuclear campaign of the 1980s is a very good illustration of this. Indeed public concern with the nuclear question is unprecedented in its range, depth and endurance. Efforts by Ronald Reagan to dramatize the steady Soviet buildup of nuclear weapons, and stirrings of anxiety aroused by his own magnified nuclear programme, produced the common result of directing public gaze upon the nuclear issue. Public interest groups like scientists, doctors and computer engineers seized the opportunity to emphasize the globally destructive effects of nuclear war, the total inadequacy of health care after a nuclear attack, and the unreliability of computers in protecting us against accidental nuclear wars. The cumulative impact of the prolonged nuclear debate has been to convince many hitherto apathetic people that they too should get involved. But how does a New Zealander contribute to the process of reducing the risks of nuclear war? New Zealand is not engaged in a furious arms race, so its people cannot follow the Americans in demanding a nuclear freeze. New Zealand does not host American military bases where nuclear weapons can be deployed in increasing numbers, so it cannot follow the lead of Germany in opposing deployment of more sophisticated nuclear weaponry on its territory. New Zealand does not possess its own nuclear weapons, so its citizens cannot follow the British lead in organizing a campaign for unilateral nuclear disarmament by New Zealand. Faced with these difficulties, anti-nuclear concerns in New Zealand have found expression in demands to throw out ANZUS, become armed neutrals, stop American warships from entering its ports, etc. Opponents of such demands however dismiss them as dangerous sentimental rubbish of the naive, the misled, or the treacherous. The public is united in the demand that the New Zealand government should pursue policies that reduce the risks of a nuclear world war but do not endanger national security. But which policies best achieve such results? New Zealanders already have a surfeit of arguments on both sides. What I have attempted to do in this book is to analyze relevant information on nuclear issues and present the full range of foreign policy options open to New Zealand. What is the ANZUS debate about? Why was it forged, and is it still relevant? What other policy choices does New Zealand have? How best can it contribute to the cause of nuclear peace? In responding to these questions, I am more concerned to pose the choices and outline their consequences than to advocate any single position myself. It is my belief that conflict is endemic to polical relations, and that it is the duty of political leadership to find peaceful solutions to a clash of interests. I am not very impressed with the degradation of diplomacy by macho exhortations to virility and tough action in times of crisis. But nor am I impressed with the simplistic calls to morality that would seek to

5 achieve peace by simply willing it while ignoring hard political realities. In short, I prefer a world of prudent pragmatism to one of absolutes. The advent of nuclear weapons has confronted mankind with profound moral, political and strategic dilemmas. We must learn to understand the dilemmas before we can hope to resolve them. It follows therefore that we cannot simply ignore the nuclear reality. Having eaten of the forbidden fruit of nuclear knowledge, we have been cast into the world of pain and agony. Nuclear weapons can neither be wished away through refusing to look at them, nor can they be discussed and used as just another military weapon. As the Harvard Study Group so thoughtfully put it: The approach to the nuclear dilemma presented in this book is not a comfortable approach, but that is because the nuclear world is not a comfortable world. It is not comfortable because nuclear weapons are enormously destructive, because the Soviet Union and the United States have many conflicting interests, and finally, because man himself is a fallible creature.2 In writing this book, therefore, I have set myself the following tasks. First, to present a balanced and objective account of the current position and the choices available, with the potentials and limits in each case also sketched out. I have tried to be dispassionate rather than polemical. Second, I have tried to present the arguments clearly. I have tried to avoid technical jargon, and I have tried to make the book "readable." Third, I have nevertheless tried to retain scholarly standards and academic respectability. Fourth, I have attempted to be concise, avoiding the temptations of verbiage. Finally, I have tried to place the New Zealand choices firmly in an international context. It would be tragic if the knowledge and experience gained overseas at much cost and suffering were not utilized for lack of information.

NOTES 1. KJ. Holsti, International Politics: A Framework for Analysis (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1983), Ch. S. 2. The Harvard Nuclear Study Group, Living with Nuclear Weapons (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1983), p. 253.

2 The Nuclear Debate The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds; and the pessimist fears this is true - James Branch Cabell. It is a sobering reflection that an entire generation of people has grown up under the shadow .of the mushroom cloud. Though some perhaps might dream of the wide blue skies beyond the cloud, for most people the nuclear reality has been an inescapable element of the strategic landscape. For over three decades, the majority of Americans and Europeans (we simply lack reliable information about the Chinese and Russians) have accepted nuclear deterrence as a proper and dependable cornerstone of Western security policies. Astonishingly, such a fundamental change in relations between different nations was put into place without serious public debate. Only in the 1980s has there been the sort of intensive and widespread call for justifying the strategy of nuclear deterrep.ce that one would have expected at the start of the nuclear era. Today, not just a bunch of trendy intellectuals but a broad cross-section of concerned citizens have been scrutinizing nuclear policies closely and demanding answers from their governments as to the ethics, military necessity and political wisdom of constructing defence policies around "the bomb." In this chapter I propose to develop the following arguments: 1. Nuclear weapons pose some genuine moral dilemmas, but political leaders cannot base their decisions solely upon ethical considerations; 2. The global nuclear balance is characterized by strategic parity or essential equivalence, rather than meaningful superiority by either side; 3. The need for controlling the arms race is urgent, but technical and political obstacles cannot be overcome easily; 4. A nuclear war cannot be fought and won.



The most troubling dimension to the human conscience is obviously the difficulty of moral justification. There are several strands in the moral fabric. I First, nuclear deterrence openly contemplates - indeed must be directly based on - the deliberate killing of people in the millions. In their famous pastoral letter of 3 May 1983, the Catholic Bishops of America expressed firm opposition to strategies of deliberate attack on large populations, and strategies that would result in catastrophic loss of life as an "unintended consequence" of weapons aimed at military targets. In the "butchery of untold magnitude" caused by a nuclear war, it would not be very comforting to know that one had died an innocent victim of "collateral damage." (There is also something rather frightening about the way in which strategists talk of a nuclear war as a "nuclear exchange," as though it was a commonplace transaction in the village market) Second, most of the people killed would be innocent noncombatants. Even Western leaders agree that in the Soviet bloc, ordinary citizens lack much say in the affairs of government Indeed, Western political rhetoric has it that citizens behind the Iron Curtain are persecuted victims of their own governments. That being so, is it not immoral to visit nuclear punishment upon innocent people for the sins of their totalitarian leaders? And it is most certainly immoral to destroy peoples in neighbouring countries through radiation, and arrogant of the human race to destroy other species because we could not manage our own affairs. Third, the only goal of nuclear retaliation when deterrence has failed would be revenge. Many religions and moral systems have difficulty reconciling vengeful killings with proper conduct; the disproportionate and indiscriminate scale of nuclear retaliatory vengeance can surely not be reconciled with any self-respecting moral doctrine. The above three are doubts about the morality of nuclear war. Interestingly, in their thoughtful and weighty effort to apply religious and moral principles to nuclear weapons, the Catholic Bishops condemned nuclear war yet gave "a strictly conditional moral acceptance of deterrence" in order to protect the independence and freedom of nations and peoples. The letter issued a profound challenge to contemporary U.S. military policy and contributed to a delegitimization of nuclear doctrines. Its conditional acceptance of nuclear deterrence was consistent with Pope John Paul II's statement to the United Nations in 1982: "In current conditions, 'deterrence' based on balance, certainly not as an end in itself but as a step on the way toward a progressive disarmament, may still be judged morally acceptable."2 The conditions are more important than the fact of papal acceptability. Deterrence must be temporary and transient, pending but leading to progressive disarmament. It must also be "based on balance," that is on parity or "essential equivalence." This does not require equality, let alone superiority, in every weapons category; it does require willingness to concede parity to the adversary as well. Fighting, winning, or even

9 prevailing in nuclear wars is therefore ruled out morally. Finally, the Pope argued that nuclear deterrence "may still be jud&ed morally acceptable" - meaning that it is not automatically nor always so. The Catholic Bishops in 1983 similarly qualified acceptance of nuclear deterrence as a necessary evil with significant conditions. In particular even deterrence cannot evade the requirements of "just war" doctrines. Thus deterrence must satisfy the principle of discrimination between combatants and noncombatants: civilians are immune to direct attacks. By this logic, the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 was immoral, ~ - and this is not a trivial "if' - the bombing avoided still greater civilian deaths by shortening the war. A smaller evil cannot be justified by a greater good: it is still evil, and killing innocent noncombatants is murder. Secondly, deterrence to be moral must follow the rule of proportionality. The first requirement forbids the targeting of populations as nuclear hostages. The second places limits on the extent to which installations can be targeted, for even unintended damage may not justly exceed the evil to be avoided or the good desired to be achieved. Contemporary American targeting of "military related" Soviet industry and utilities would inflict death and misery on millions of Soviet citizens as "collateral" damage, and is therefore immoral. Nuclear deterrence also poses a number of other moral challenges to our conscience. Deterrence rests on the threat to wage nuclear war. If a particular act is evil, then the threat to do it must also be immoral; if nuclear war is evil, then threatening and preparing for such war is also morally wrong. "Threaten No Evil" as a moral stricture is written into the United Nations Charter: "All members shall refrain from the threat or use of force" (Article 2(4); emphasis added). The United Nations may not amount to much as an organization for world peace. Its Charter however does express the global consensus about certain ethical values and norms of behaviour in international relations. Deterrence based on hitting population centres ignores too the moral distinction between ends and means. The position seems analogous to the taking of hostages by terrorists as a means of protecting themselves against capture, or in order to obtain other nefarious goals. We would rightly consider it immoral for the government to deter murder by threatening to kill any murderer's children. If this is not acceptable as proper public policy, why should nuclear deterrence be any more acceptable as proper foreign policy? A related means-ends dilemma concerns one's own society and people. The whole ideological conflict is supposed to be about freedom versus totalitarianism. Those entrusted with the command of nuclear weapons - not just the military brass, but including also top civilian command around the President - must make compromises with their conscience in order to live in comfort despite holding the world to ransom. Those who have sacrificed their human values to masochistic conceptions of tough decisions in times of crisis are not likely to be impressed by the "sentimental rubbish" of humane-liberal values. At the same time, the

10 very destructiveness of nuclear weapons means that a garrison state will be created rather than risks accepted of such weapons falling into criminal hands. This being so, what are the values for the defence of which Western society is being asked to make fundamental moral compromises? Nor are moral qualms stilled with the knowledge that the ruling elites of the nuclear powers, including the United States, build deep shelters and airborne command posts for themselves while offering their citizens as hostages. All this in the name of a policy supposed to guard citizens against enemy attack, a policy enunciated and devised by officials bearing the primary responsibility for protecting their citizens. What sort of morality can allow the privileged elite to be sheltered while leaving their wards unprotected? Technological and military reality imposes yet another constraint on nuclear morality. Because the decision to retaliate must be instantaneous if deterrence has failed, there is no time for ordinary citizens or responible officials to make the transition from nuclear deterrence to war only after thoughtful moral reflection. In other words, deterrence places a premium upon immorally casual decisions in its time of greatest need, and therefore amounts to moral abdication. Given the steadily diminishing lead-times before retaliatory weapons must be unleashed under automated launch-onwarning strategies, one may well ask: what price such computer-based morality? The final moral difficulty involves the relationship between nuclear weapons and world poverty. It has been argued that policies of nuclear deterrence have entailed such heavy expenditure on arms that they amount to stealing from the poor. The statistics on the arms race are staggering. By 1985, the world was spending US$200 for every man, woman and child on earth, so that metaphorically we each sit on top of four tonnes of explosives. A single nuclear submarine can contain more explosive force than was used in the entire Second World War. The World Health Organization spent less than $100 million in its ten-year campaign to rid the world of smallpox; the money would not buy even one modem strategic bomber. Alternatively, the price of one aircraft carrier at $500 million would enable WHO to eradicate leprosy, malaria, trachoma and yaws. Funds are scarce to help 570 million malnourished and 1500 million people who lack adequate medical services, but the world can afford $35 billion every year for trafficking in arms. The United Nations reckons that just one fifth of the world's annual military expenditures could abolish world hunger by the year 2000. United Nations experts have identified military spending as an obstacle to economic growth. The arms race and development are therefore in a competitive relationship. Since 1945, 5-8 percent of the world's output has been allocated to the military. In addition to the 25 million regular military personnel, 20 percent of the world's scientists and engineers during the 1970s were engaged in research and development for military purposes. Yet the average military product is estimated as being twenty times as research intensive as the average consumer item for


domestic use. A high defence outlay depresses economic growth directly by diverting investment funds, and indirectly by diverting research and development skills and efforts. This is particularly true for developing countries whose need for external inputs like capital, trade and technology is usurped by military outlays. There has even been a proposal to increase financial flows to developing countries by adopting a "disarmament dividend approach." Under such a scheme, budgetary savings resulting from disarmament measures would be placed in a special fund for development. While the arms race imposes economic costs on everyone, it is most severe on the poorer countries, and is therefore immoral in obstructing the alleviation of harsh miseries for millions of fellow human beings. The above discussion presents the substantial moral doubts about nuclear weapons, war and strategy. Moral concern in itself must surely be applauded - there would be little cheering prospect left for humankind on the day that we lost our moral sensitivity. Yet the moral dimension can be troubling in a second sense of being difficult to apply. The pursuit of morality, while wholly admirable in an individual, can still be indefensible in a statesman. The prophet can be wedded to absolute truth, the sage can devote his life to the search for ethical wisdom. The political leader however is required to act according to political wisdom - not for him the search for truthful or ethical conduct as the sole or even dominant criterion. Nor am I easy at the prospect of world peace being dependent on 150 heads of government motivated by the religiously fired morality of Ronald Reagan, Menachem Begin and Ayatollah Khomeini. This is not to assert that the political leader must actively pursue immoral courses of action. Rather, he must first accept the political realities of the world and of his own country. Within this framework, secondly, he must evaluate competing demands of moral and political choices. On occasions the moral issues themselves will be ambivalent and overlapping. Consider the distinction between nuclear war and nuclear weapons. Even if we are all agreed that nuclear war is evil, it does not follow that the nuclear weapons are themselves evil. (Can instruments ever be evil or good in themselves?) If nuclear war is evil, and if nuclear weapons on both sides help to deter their use in war by either side, then of course nuclear weapons and deterrence become strategies to combat evil. Fortunately, atomic weapons have been used only twice under conditions of war, at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The interesting thing about both instances is that an atomic power used the weapons against a non-atomic country. Considerations of a new morality or international reaction were insufficient to stop the Americans from using this terribly destructive bomb; why should they succeed in imposing unilateral restraint in future? But if the Japanese had possessed atomic weaponry too, then the American government would have had greater cause to pause before escalating to the atomic level.

12 Yet another dilemma confronting the leadership of a nuclear power is how to reconcile the immorality of fighting a nuclear war with the acceptability of nuclear deterrence. Deterrence to be credible must convince the opponent that nuclear weapons will be used when put to the test. The threat to use nuclear weapons therefore needs to be backed up by contingency planning and preparations. Only a very small handful of policymakers could be privy to the secret that declaratory policy - to use nuclear weapons- was contrary to the operational policy. But even here leakage or espionage could wreck the policy over time. Nor would the public's conscience be assuaged, ·Since one's own public is necessarily being duped by the declaratory policy. In addition, with increasing automaticity in nuclear planning, the decision to use nuclear weapons could well pass into the hands of leaders below the threshold of awareness of non-use in operational circumstances. Conversely, a country cannot possibly underwrite nuclear deterrence with an open policy of not using them. Nuclear weapons lose all deterrent power if it is known in advance that they will not be used, although paradoxically they still retain ultimate usability. A policy of "possession without use" can thus easily be parodied or ridiculed as a policy of "warmongering but no war." Determination of evil conduct must also take place in relation to intent The goal of nuclear deterrence is not to wage war, but to avert war and deter aggressive behaviour by the other side. The intention is not, therefore, immoral, and the consequences are partly determined by the actions of the other side. Conversely, if total unilateral nuclear disarmament led to the use of nuclear weapons by the other side, then one could plausibly argue that disarmament led to evil results. The argument can be extended to conventional warfare too. In all the conflicts and killings since the Second World War, the two superpowers have successfully avoided a direct war between themselves. It is possible that the fear of uncontrolled escalation to nuclear horrors severely inhibits adventurous tendencies to risk direct confrontation. Of the several million deaths in battle since the Second World War, not one has been caused by a nuclear warhead. This is not a statistic to be lightly dismissed. Obviously I do not wish to argue that somehow nuclear weapons have made war more moral. Rather, I want to point out that there are genuine dilemmas for the moralist even in the nuclear realm. All war is evil; yet most of us do not condemn all soldiers engaged in battle as necessarily evil. Similarly, nuclear deterrence too can be seen as a necessary evil. Because nuclear war is evil, it must be avoided; because nuclear deterrence is built around the strategy of fighting a nuclear war, we must strive to reduce reliance on it; but because it is necessary, we cannot abandon it carelessly.

13 NUCLEAR BALANCE AND DETERRENCE Deciphering the strategic equation between the Western and Soviet alliances is one of the great pastimes of our era. Most of the people with specialist knowledge in the area are government employees, so that their public contribution is made as part of partisan polemic rather than objective assessment. Of the few specialists who do not work for government, Soviet experts dare not dissent from the party line. Independent Western analysts who care to question their own side's official stance also risk a measure of denigration and denial of privileges flowing from access to those in power. Beyond the problem of expertise, there are difficulties arising from the lack of symmetry between the elements which make up the strategic equation: weapons category, technological quality, geographic imperatives, and security interests. Because the two sides are not symmetrical, it is always possible to pick a category of weapons in which one side is superior to the other. In order to understand the military balance between the nuclear powers, it is first necessary to grasp the significant military changes brought about by nuclear weapons. The death and damage inflicted on Hiroshima on 6 August 1945 was comparable in scale to the destruction visited upon Dresden, Hamburg and Tokyo during the Second World War. But there was one important difference: Hiroshima was destroyed by a single bomb. In the American strategic arsenal today, the smallest nuclear warhead is still twice as powerful as the bomb dropped on Hiroshima; a single Trident submarine has enough arms to obliterate every Soviet city with a population of 100,000 or more. The enormous destructiveness of nuclear weapons has produced four major changes in military strategy. First, modem delivery systems mean On their most that there is no protection against nuclear bombs. successful day in defending London against German "buzz bombs" in the last war, the British shot down 97 of 101 rockets on 28 August 1944. Had the four bombs that got away been nuclear, London would be a historical curiosity of rubble. The only defence against nuclear weapons is to be certain of destroying every enemy missile and bomber. Such certainty is not available today nor likely in the foreseeable future. Second, nuclear weapons have not just made old fashioned defence impossible, they have also destroyed the gallantry of olden days which pitted soldier against soldier and left noncombatants alone if not in peace. The historical trend towards blurring the line between military and civilian sectors, already in evidence in the two world wars, has been completed by nuclear weapons. It is now possible to destroy the enemy society without defeating or even engaging enemy forces. While strategists bicker among themselves as to whether civilian populations should be primary or unintentional targets, the fact remains that civilians are the major targets of nuclear weapons. Third, the destructiveness of nuclear weapons and the speed of their delivery systems mean that wars will no longer be protracted affairs.

14 igure 2.1 : Nuclear Weapons Chart

e little dot in the centre represents all the firepower of World War II: 3 egatons. The outer circle represents the world's nuclear weaponry in 1982: 18,000 megatons. Where conventional wars can go on for years, the most important lines in a nuclear tragedy will be the opening words of the first act. Nuclear war could be over in days or even hours, denying leaders a chance to think again and change their minds. Because of this added obstacle to political

15 control over nuclear war, the "fighting" could start' even before alarms are discovered to be false. The final consequence results from the third fact as well. Because of the speed of nuclear war, a country cannot afford, as it could in the past, to mobilize fully only after or with the imminent onset of hostilities. Certainly this was true of the USA. Nuclear forces by contrast have to be in a state of constant readiness at full strength. Some analysts have argued that the cumulative impact of the four changes has been to make nuclear weapons devoid of any military use whatsoever; their only purpose can be deterrence. But here too strategists are confronted with a fundamental paradox. If one side seeks to deter war by creating the fear that it will use nuclear weapons, then it must convince the opponent of its determination to use them in certain circumstances. If however the weapons are used and produce a like response, then the side striking first is very much worse off than if it had abstained. Posing an unacceptable risk to the enemy therefore necessarily poses the same risk to oneself} As the disquieting implications of this paradox have begun to seep through to the public consciousness, people have made their unhappiness felt to their governments. In the confrontation between the two superpowers in intercontinental nuclear weapons, the actual numbers involved are not in serious dispute, and can easily be obtained from the regular surveys published by such reputable bodies like the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, or the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. There is considerable controversy over how best to interpret the numbers. Both powers declare their own purpose to be defensive while accusing the other of trying to achieve superiority or first strike capability. The numbers game can provide only a crude estimate of the military balance. Several further points should be noted. First, the number of nuclear weapons and the sophistication of delivery systems have increased dramatically since the Second World War. In the 1950s, U.S. warheads numbered less than 2,000, while the Soviets had less than 500 unti11965. Today by contrast the two superpowers have 9,000-10,000 intercontinental warheads each. Second, the relative balance between the two superpowers has changed enormously. In the 1950s, the U.S. was generally invulnerable to Soviet attack; in the 1960s, the U.S. still . enjoyed nuclear superiority; since the 1970s, the most characteristic feature of the nuclear equation has been strategic parity. Third, the introduction of ballistic missiles in the 1960s degraded defensive capability even further. The fact of survivable ballistic forces on both sides means that both the Soviet Union and the United States are now vulnerable to a second strike retaliation. Fourth, given the numbers involved in the 1980s, all claims of superiority and inferiority should be treated with scepticism. Both sides have a huge margin of overkill. The Soviets with more launchers can deliver a greater megatonnage on the Americans, but the Americans have

16 Figure 2.2

Improving Accuracy of Strategic Missiles

1960s l,OOOm



1980s lOOm

more strategic nuclear warheads. If the United States decided to strike first, 7,000 of its 10,000 warheads would hit their targets. If the United States retaliated against a Soviet first strike, 4,000 of its warheads would hit their targets.

17 Table 2.1 Comparison of Key Military Technologies (As of 1/1/1985) Basic Technologies



Aerodynamics/Fluid Dynamics Chemical Warfare Computers & Software Conventional Warhead (including chemical explosives) Directed Energy (lasers) Electronic Warfare Electro-Optical Sensor (including IR) Guidance & Navigation Microelectronic Materials & Integrated Circuit Manufacture Nuclear Warhead Optics Power Sources (mobile) Production Manufacturing (includes automated control) Propulsion (aerospace and ground vehicles) Radar Sensor Signal Processing Stealth (signature reduction technology) Structural Materials (light-weight, high-strength) Submarine Detection Telecommunications

US-Soviet Equal X

X> X> X




X X> X> X

>Indicates US lead is diminishing

X X> X> X • 0 •

z :

.. 0

..._.... 0




"'- • ~.::

.... .-



.. 0

't-~• .:.':



> ..

.'""';; ::::


< !::


2 •

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