In this essay, we trace the history of the rise of the nuclear nonproliferation complex during and immediately after the cold war. We show how nonproliferation and disarmament organizations and advocates turned toward ameliorative approaches in the face of great-power refusal to accept more substantial change, or indeed defended an international order favoring the status quo.
This essay, focused on the continuing moral challenge of nuclear weapons, recalls the intellectual and moral lessons of the last century and identifies three leading issues in nuclear ethics today: post-cold war challenges to nonproliferation and deterrence, the new challenges posed by the terrorist threat, and recent proposals for Going to Zero.
Americans have registered one set of lessons too well—those deriving from the seventy-five year war against German imperialism and Soviet communism. They have forgotten, or want to forget, another set of lessons—those deriving from the history of U.S. involvement in the Philippines and Vietnam, in Nicaragua and Panama, and on to Afghanistan and Iraq.
The Great War and its imagery imprinted itself on the human imagination. In poetry and prose, photography, art, film, and other modes of expression, its influence on cultural memory and identity, on modern meaning and human sensibility, has been remarkable.
Feminist theorizing of peace suggests a number of transformative observations. Feminist perspectives focus a critical lens on the meaning of peace, often making invisible violence visible; help to critically interrogate the role of the United States in furthering “peace” in the international arena; and make different theoretical and policy prescriptions than perspectives that omit gender from their analyses.
Today’s optimists stress the degree to which globalization appears much more firmly institutionalized than it was a hundred years ago, the rather striking success of global economic governance in responding to the financial crisis of 2007–2008, and the longer-term trend within international society to move away from major-power war. Pessimists are less sure.
As we approach our second century, the Carnegie Council will remain the home for energetic, rigorous, and creative thinking on the ethics of war. In these pages, we rededicate ourselves to the proposition that the “just war” tradition is an inheritance that requires and rewards constant engagement.