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Is nuclear deterrence rational? Otterstein, Roland O. 1992

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Is Nuclear Deterrence Rational? by  ROLAND 0. OTTERSTEIN B.A., The University of British Columbia, 1990 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES Department of Philosophy We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA December 1992 © Roland Otterstein, 1992  In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission.  (Signature)  Department of  P&L 751.17/(..  The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada  Date  DE-6 (2/88)  //7(721  Abstract In the introduction I give a brief history of the concept of "nuclear deterrence." Next I discuss ways of approaching the subject that conform to popular views. I reject the Scripture's "an eye for an eye" principle as a basis for nuclear strategy decisions and claim that a utilitarian model is acceptable. In Chapter One I discuss cases involving rational opponents who possess large-scale nuclear capability. The discussion focuses on a refutation and counter argument to David Gauthier's view of this sort of case. I claim that we must adopt a model of decision making according to which individual nuclear acts rather than nuclear policies are subjected to rational scrutiny. In Chapter Two I discuss a wide range of nuclear deterrence scenarios and attempt to give a comprehensive analysis of the subject. I discuss what sorts of factors need to be taken into consideration in assessing the rationality of nuclear acts. I construct tables which state under what circumstances initiating or retaliating against an act of nuclear war is rational. In Chapter Three I discuss cases in which a rational country faces an irrational opponent, and conclude that, given that nuclear weapons are quite likely to fall into the hands of an irrational leader, nuclear war is quite likely to occur. In Chapter Four I focus on cases in which countries have the capability to wipe out nearly all of their enemy's weapons in a single attack. I argue that this capability makes nuclear war considerably more likely to occur so that it is rational to avoid it. In Chapter Five I discuss the possibility of limited nuclear attacks. I argue that while such attacks have some chance of being part of rational military strategies, we should concentrate our efforts on building highly effective conventional weapons, since these are less dangerous in the long run. I conclude that we should lessen our dependence on nuclear weapons. I claim that in the majority of cases, nuclear disarmament is the most rational policy. i i  CONTENTS Abstract^  P. ii  Contents^  p. iii  Acknowledgements^  p. iv  Introduction: Nuclear Deterrence: A Utilitarian Perspective ^p. 1 Chapter One: Nuclear Deterrence and Full-Scale War in a Rational World^  P. 9  Chapter Two: Nuclear Deterrence Scenarios ^p. 29 Chapter Three: Confronting an Irrational Opponent ^p. 56 Chapter Four: Exact First Strike Capability^ p. 71 Chapter Five: Limited Nuclear Strikes^  p. 95  Conclusion: What Should We Do Now?^  p.107  Bibliography^  p.115  i i i  Acknowledgements I would like to express my appreciation to my girlfriend Lisa for supporting me financially and otherwise throughout my Master of Arts degree and especially during the writing of this thesis. I would also like to thank my family for their ongoing support. At the same time, I am especially thankful to Dr. R. I. Sikora for the tremendous amount of time he has spent with me in helpful discussion and in criticizing earlier drafts. Finally, I would like to thank Dr. Earl Winkler for reading and criticizing this thesis.  iv  Introduction  Nuclear Deterrence: A Utilitarian Perspective According to the concept of nuclear deterrence, nuclear war is prevented by the fact that, for each nuclear equipped country, there is at least one adversary which threatens to retaliate with nuclear weapons against any nuclear act of aggression by that country. Since every rational country wishes to avoid being attacked by nuclear weapons, every rational country will avoid using nuclear weapons against other countries since that use will result in a retaliatory nuclear attack against it. Underlying the concept of nuclear deterrence is a "realist" world view, which holds that the world is in a Hobbesian state of nature as far as its international relations are concerned. That is to say, each country is motivated by greed of wealth and power to infringe upon other countries' territories. Whereas in an organized state there are laws that prohibit such infringements as well as authorities that enforce these laws, there are no such laws or authorities between nation-states. Hence in international relations the only factor preventing the many greedy motives from being acted on is fear of retaliation. In today's world of nuclear weapons, given that these weapons could be used by a country in order to gain control over other countries' territories or resources, such use is prevented by threats of nuclear retaliation. For the past several decades the United States and the Soviet Union have been the main players in the nuclear arena. From an Am erican perspective questions of deterrence have primarily been concerned with deterring the Soviet Union from launching a nuclear attack against the United States, western Europe, or the Soviet Union's neighbouring regions. From the Soviet perspective questions of deterrence have presumably been concerned mainly with preventing the United States from using its nuclear weapons against it or against other "communist" countries. Chinese nuclear weapons have posed an additional threat to the Soviet Union despite China's explicit `no first use' policy. 1  Since the Soviet Union no longer exists as a political entity and can therefore no longer pursue expansionist or other aggressive policies against its opponents, it might be argued that an analysis of nuclear deterrence is no longer relevant to the real world. In particular, we might be tempted to think that since the United States' main opponent no longer exists, and since the former Soviet republics need no longer worry about contra-communist attacks given that they are no longer communist (at least not in the same way as before), nuclear deterrence is no longer an important issue. But this point of view is mistaken. For once nuclear weapons have been invented, they cannot be "uninvented." What's more, the nuclear weapons that have been built cannot be made to disappear: even if they can be partly dismantled, they have for the most part not yet been dismantled; even if they are dismantled, they can be redeployed relatively easily should any country that possesses such weapons feel the need to do so. In addition, other countries besides the United States and the former Soviet Union have nuclear weapons and may in the future wish to use them. Obviously, what the United States and the former Soviet Union choose to do with their nuclear arsenals will effect these lesser nuclear powers' nuclear programmes. In particular, if the two superpowers disarm their nuclear arsenals, it is quite possible that one or more of the lesser nuclear powers will be more likely to use its nuclear weapons than it was when the the superpowers could be expected to retaliate with nuclear weapons. Given these realities, it is perfectly reasonable and practical for us to continue to think about nuclear deterrence. The question then is what form our discussion of this topic should take. It may seem appropriate for us to take the common view of nuclear deterrence as a starting point. But what constitutes the common view is pretty hard to determine. One view that does come up very often, however, and which may actually be the common view, has to do with the idea that if the Soviet Union launched a nuclear attack against it, the United States would have the right to strike back, according to some generally accepted and allegedly moral principle such as the Scripture's "an eye for an eye" principle. This position must be mistaken, however, since we cannot hold the majority of Soviet citizens, let alone Soviet children, responsible for a Soviet attack against us, yet these persons are certain to suffer if the United States retaliates against a Soviet attack. 2  It could be argued that if persons in the United States were concerned only for the plight of American people and did not care about the lives of Soviet persons, then they might reasonably hold that they have a right to retaliate against a Soviet nuclear attack. But whereas this point of view might well lead persons in the United States to advocate retaliating against the Soviets, it is hard to see how doing so could reasonably be seen as a "right." For to say that X has the right to punish Y seems to imply that Y has done X some harm. And it is clear that most Soviet citizens, especially Soviet children, cannot be held responsible for attacking the United States, yet they are the ones that would be harmed by an act of retaliation. Another view that is common among political leaders, military strategists, and the general public has to do with the idea that it is right to do what it is rational to do from a prudential or nationalistic perspective. Discovering the "rational thing to do" is equivalent to finding the "utility maximizing outcome," with utility defined in terms of some generally accepted goal such as national well-being or national happiness. But the beneficiaries of a rational policy need not be only one nation or one country's citizens. Rather, such a policy may be construed to include all nations or all living creatures. This broader view, which is attributed to utilitarian or consequentialist ethics, can be considered to be the "moral" view. Since neither the nationalistic nor the moral view are flawed in as obvious and fundamental a way as the common view which we considered briefly above, and since both are also widely accepted among political leaders, military strategists, the general public, and moral philosophers, we will frame our discussion of nuclear deterrence in terms of these two views. Through our discussion it will become clear, that in analyzing nuclear deterrence situations, discovering which policies maximize utility is of extreme importance given the gravity of the consequences of nuclear acts, and should therefore play a central role in any such analysis. Given that both the nationalistic and the moral view concern themselves with discovering which policies are utility maximization and thereby concern themselves with what is the rational thing to do, our analysis will discuss rational policies. However, since not all actual or possible countries are ruled by persons who seek to maximize the happiness of their citizens, nor the happiness of all living creatures, our analysis will also need to take irrational policies into consideration. 3  It might be objected that framing our discussion in terms of "rationality" requires us to assume that we know what is "rational." Furthermore, it might be claimed that what we consider to be rational may seem irrational to other persons or to other cultures. A person with this view might ask: Who's to say that well-being or happiness are more valuable than other goals such as racial or religious dominion? Whereas this objection would probably be justified if we were using the term "rational" as an evaluative term, saying that it is better to be rational like us than irrational like them, we will not use this term in that way. Rather, the term will either stand for persons and policies that aim at maximizing the well-being of some nation or they will stand for persons and policies that aim at maximizing well-being for all living creatures. Policies that aim at maximizing some other goal will, accordingly, be called "irrational." Thus "rational" and "irrational" are descriptive terms; they are labels for particular types of policy and for sorts of persons. So our usage of these terms does not assume that we have discovered what is, in itself, worth striving for. Having defined "rational" in terms of well-being or happiness maximization, we should add to this definition by stating that a perfectly "rational" person is not just a "highly intelligent" utilitarian, nor merely someone who makes careful decisions. In addition, a perfectly rational person is one who is not influenced by logical errors in making his decisions. Although quite rational persons may, on occasion, make decisions involving logical errors, these decisions are irrational, so that the persons making them are not perfectly rational. While evaluating nuclear policies in terms of rationality and utility maximization accords nicely with the approach taken by most political leaders, military strategists, and the general public, the conclusions that we reach from our whole analysis may not be as widely accepted. In particular, although most persons, including political leaders and military strategists, believe that nuclear deterrence programmes are rational because they prevent terrible evil from occurring albeit at considerable cost and risk to everyone involved, we will find that nuclear deterrence policies are clearly irrational in all but a few cases. That means that the common idea that nuclear deterrence is "costly but necessary" is probably mistaken, for the "necessity" of such policies is derived from their alleged usefulness. But since nuclear deterrence policies are irrational and 4  non-utility-maximizing in most situations, they are also not necessary in those situations. Hence it should not be claimed that it is unrealistic to conclude that disarmament is our most rational option unless it has has first been shown that our argument for the view, that nuclear deterrence is irrational in most situations, can be refuted. Chapter One is an analysis of the main sort of nuclear deterrence situation that has existed in the world until now. In particular, it is an attempt to discover what policy is rational, from a nationalistic perspective, for a country such as the United States or the former Soviet Union to pursue, given that both countries possess large-scale nuclear capability. The discussion quickly focuses on the question of whether or not it can be rational to threaten to retaliate against a large-scale nuclear attack. For if it is not rational to threaten such retaliation, it cannot be rational to pursue a policy of nuclear deterrence which entails such a threat. Since this question can be most fairly responded to by considering what can be said for and against the rationality of threats of retaliation, the discussion centers on an evaluation and refutation of David Gauthier's influential argument in support of threats of retaliation and of nuclear deterrence, which he presents in Deterrence, Maximization, and Rationality. It is argued that nuclear deterrence is irrational in situations in which both sides are rational nationalistic utilitarians who possess large-scale nuclear arsenals. David Lewis and Gregory S. Kavka's arguments against Gauthier are also considered. If pursuing a nuclear deterrence policy is irrational between rational opponents threatening large-scale retaliation, then it might still be rational in some other cases. Similarly, whereas it may be evident that pursuing such a policy is irrational in some sorts of cases, there may be other sorts of cases in which assessing the rationality of nuclear deterrence is extremely difficult. In any event, it seems very likely that whether or not nuclear deterrence is rational depends upon the situation that obtains. For to find out if a nuclear deterrence policy is rational in a given situation, it would seem that we need to ask ourselves whether our opponent is rational or irrational, nationalistic or moral. At the same time we should take his beliefs about the effects of nuclear war into account, as well as considering information pertaining to his nuclear arsenals. Since nuclear deterrence may be irrational if our opponent is moral or has few nuclear arms yet rational if he is irrational or well equipped, we must consider these various possibilities. 5  Accordingly, Chapter Two is an attempt to list all of the types of realistic nuclear deterrence situations which we need to consider in order to provide a comprehensive analysis of the subject. The chapter begins by discussing what variables need to be taken into consideration. Levels and types of armament are considered to be relevant, as are beliefs about the outcomes of nuclear war. Above all, whether the sides are rational or irrational, nationalist or moral is seen to make a crucial difference. After considering the variables that need to be taken into account, tables are constructed in which most of the possible combinations of these variables are listed. Columns indicate whether initiating an act of nuclear war or retaliating against such an act is rational or irrational for either side in each situation. Following these tables is a discussion of the rationality/irrationality assignments given in these columns. Chapter Three discusses situations in which a rational nuclear equipped country is faced with an irrational opponent. Several examples illustrate that irrational controllers of nuclear arsenals can be expected to use their nuclear weapons because they consider some goal such as racial or religious dominion to be more important and more valuable than well-being or happiness. It is also argued that an irrational person (or persons) is likely to assume control of nuclear weapons at some time in the future. The conclusion that is reached is that given that irrational controllers of nuclear arsenals are quite likely to use their weapons, and given that it is likely that such persons will exist at some time in the future, nuclear war is quite likely to occur at some time in the future. Chapter Four is an analysis of situations in which one or both sides have achieved exact first strike capability, the ability to wipe out all (or nearly all) of the enemy's nuclear weapons in one massive strike. It is often claimed, that since serious retaliation is not possible in these situations and since both sides prefer attacking the other side to being attacked, nuclear war is more likely to occur with exact first strike capability than without it. Our analysis evaluates this point of view by looking at whether or not exact first strike capability is really more likely to lead to nuclear war than lesser capability or disarmament, and by asking whether exact first strike capability is even a realistic possibility. Arguments presented by Nicholas Measor and by Douglas P. Lackey are appealed to in support of an affirmative answer to these questions. It is seen, however, that the certainty of their arguments must be tempered somewhat by the fact that even if large-scale retaliation is not possible against an exact first strike, other factors do still constitute significant deterrents against launching an 6  exact first strike. But even with these deterrents, nuclear war is still quite likely to occur if one or more countries believe that they have achieved exact first strike capability and/or if they believe that their opponent has achieved such capability or will do so in the near future. So obviously we should do everything in our power to prevent exact first strike capability from being achieved. Chapter Five discusses the possibility of limited nuclear attacks and limited nuclear capability. Since limited attacks are likely to cause less serious global damage than are large-scale nuclear attacks, they stand a better chance of being part of rational military strategies. That small nuclear arsenals are useful for deterrent and tactical purposes ("tactical" referring to operations calculated to gain some end) is a view that is supported by Bernard Williams and partly also by Jeff McMahan. If sophisticated conventional weapons turn out to be adequate for deterrent and tactical purposes, however, it may be rational to adopt such weapons instead of a limited nuclear arsenal since using nuclear weapons is likely to have more serious long term and more widespread bad effects than are conventional weapons. This point of view is argued for by Ken Booth, who claims that Europe, if not the United States, should disarm its nuclear arsenals and develop its conventional capability. After examining Booth's argument, it is concluded that since we cannot authoritatively determine whether or not Booth's claims are correct, we cannot say for sure that limited nuclear attacks are never rational. Indeed, they may seem completely rational against imminent enemy nuclear attacks. Even so, there are several reasons for doubting that it can be rational to actually use nuclear weapons. The concluding chapter tries to bring together the conclusions of Chapters One, Three, Four, and Five and attempts to come up with a unified recommendation. Complete certainty is not within our reach, however, given that we cannot be sure about the outcomes of particular and so far untested alternatives to the sort of nuclear deterrence policies that have been pursued for the last few decades. In the rationality tables and throughout the following chapters it is often assumed that there are only two countries with nuclear capability and that either country has only one nuclear opponent. This assumption is made for the sake of simplicity, and we might well be led to believe that it leads to an over simplified depiction of the world. But since this assumption is not made in our discussion of situations in which there being more than one nuclear equipped 7  country is really significant, the assumption should not be viewed as troublesome. Much of the analysis would be more lengthy without being essentially any different if we refrained from making this assumption throughout the inquiry. Given that the United States (US) and the Soviet Union (SU) have traditionally been the main players in the nuclear arena, many illustrations are given that describe the US and the SU as nuclear equipped opponents despite the fact that the Soviet Union no longer exists as a political entity. The main reason for this is a practical one: since many of the articles which we will refer to in the course of this enquiry were written before the collapse of the Soviet Union, many illustrate their claims by referring to the "US" and "SU." In order to avoid confusion and to achieve a reasonable level of consistency, we will stick to this convention where appropriate.  8  Chapter One  Nuclear Deterrence and Full-Scale War in a Rational World It is commonly believed that the nuclear weapons which the superpowers possess and the nuclear deterrence policies which they pursue are dangerous yet necessary. Thus it is held that while nuclear deterrence is an evil, it is less loathsome than being attacked or invaded by other nuclear powers such as the former Soviet Union. For although nuclear deterrence policies could lead to an all out nuclear war in which millions or billions of persons would be killed, possessing them and being willing to use them minimizes the risk of a nuclear attack against us or our allies. This way of thinking, which is perhaps most suited to "cold war" scenarios although it has outlived the cold war itself, rests on the view that nuclear deterrence is the most rational policy for countries like the US to pursue. It is the most rational policy because it effectively deters the enemy from achieving his expansionist goals, more effectively than any more submissive policy would do. But what if we discovered that the nuclear deterrence policies pursued by the superpowers are actually irrational, in that they would not be effective among fully rational and informed opponents? It would seem that we would conclude that nuclear deterrence must be given up in exchange for a more rational policy. As we will see later, despite the apparent advantages of deterrence policies, pursuing them is indeed irrational in situations involving the sort of large-scale nuclear attacks that would most likely occur between the superpowers if nuclear war broke out between them, since it is psychologically impossible for a rational person to retaliate against a full-scale nuclear attack. Consequently, it is also psychologically impossible for a rational persons to sincerely form the intention to retaliate against such an attack, an intention on which most deterrence policies depend. We will see that given the psychologically impossible demands that deterrence policies make in largescale nuclear warfare situations, it is irrational for a country to try to adopt such a 9  policy. Subsequent to this analysis we will be able to judge whether or not the nuclear deterrence policies that modern countries pursue are rational or irrational. We will begin by considering nuclear deterrence policies from the perspective of a country wishing to prevent its enemy from launching a largescale nuclear attack against it. We will argue that it is irrational for such a country to adopt a policy of nuclear retaliation. In order to make a convincing case for this point of view we will consider counter-arguments to David Gauthier's influential argument for the rationality of deterrence, which he presents in "Deterrence, Maximization, and Rationality." After the counterarguments we will take a closer look at Gauthier's argument in order to reveal the crucial flaws contained in it. At the outset, let us take a look at Gauthier's arguments against the view that it is irrational (defined in terms of preference satisfaction) to retaliate against largescale nuclear attacks. Gauthier summarizes the argument that he wishes to dispute as follows: The argument against the rationality of nuclear retaliation, or more generally against the deterrent policy, has this structure: it is not utility maximizing to carry out the nonsubmissive, retaliatory intention; therefore it is not rational so to act; therefore it is not rational to form the intention; therefore a rational person cannot sincerely express the intention; therefore another rational informed person cannot be deterred by the expression of the intention(Gauthier, 479).  We should note that this argument starts with an evaluation of the rationality of the act of retaliation and derives an evaluation of the rationality of forming the intention to retaliate from the evaluation of the act. How does Gauthier argue against this seemingly plausible argument? Gauthier considers possible reasons in support of the claim that deterrence policies are irrational between rational opponents threatening largescale nuclear retaliation. We are to imagine two actors, A and B. A wishes to deter B from committing some aggressive act against A by expressing a conditional intention to retaliate. A expects her expression of the conditional intention to deter B from the act in question by affecting B's beliefs about her preferences and actions, since both know that rational actors such as  10  themselves act so as to maximize utility by fulfilling their preferences given their beliefs(474-5). How could A's expression of the intention to retaliate be effective in deterring B from committing the aggressive act against her? Presumably B wishes to avoid retaliation, and expects that A will keep her word and will retaliate if he commits the aggressive act against her. But why should B expect A to keep her word? Perhaps B knows that A wishes to have the reputation of being a woman of her word in the hope that in future similar situations B will be more inclined to take her seriously. It would seem then, that on the condition that A wishes to be a woman of her word, B could be deterred from committing the act in question by A's expression of the conditional intention to retaliate. But Gauthier's opponents claim that this analysis is mistaken. Since A is rational she will always act in the way that best fulfills her preferences. It follows that the only reputation that she can have is that of being a utility maximizer. So she cannot have the reputation of being a woman of her word, and will not act so as to give herself that reputation, unless sticking to her word and maximizing utility just happen to coincide (and even then her goal is to maximize utility, not to act on her word). As Gauthier asserts, "[i]f carrying out an expressed intention is not itself utility maximizing, then it can have no effect on the expectations of rational and informed persons [such as Bj". So it would seem that if retaliation is not what A prefers, her expression of the conditional intention to retaliate cannot reasonably deter B from committing the aggressive act against her, for he will know that she will do what she prefers rather than retaliating. We should conclude that deterrence is not possible in a rational world whenever retaliation is not preferred. The same argument can be considered in a real world context. At least until recently, the United States (US) feared that the Soviet Union (SU) would launch a nuclear first strike. The US sought to deter the SU from carrying out such an attack. According to the doctrine of Mutual Assured Destruction, this may have been done by the US announcing the intention to retaliate against any SU nuclear strike, even if this would provoke full-scale nuclear warfare and massive or complete destruction. But it would seem that retaliation with nuclear weapons is an irrational policy, for the US would surely prefer less nuclear devastation to more, and would therefore prefer not to retaliate if the SU should initiate a nuclear strike. Since nuclear retaliation would quite possibly result in the annihilation of life on Earth, there would quite possibly be no relevant future 11  in which the US could expect to gain from having retaliated. As Gauthier states, "even if in some cases a deterrent policy could be rationalized by an appeal to future expectations, nuclear retaliation lacks such a rationale. Retaliation [in this real world example] would therefore seem to be an irrational policy"(479). On the assumption that the US and the SU are rational and informed, it would seem that if not retaliating is preferred to retaliating, a threat to retaliate cannot be credible so that deterrence policies between the superpowers cannot be effective. But Gauthier turns this argument on its head, contending instead that if forming the intention to retaliate is rational, then acting on it is also rational. In other words, he argues that if the policy of retaliating against a nuclear first strike is rational, then the act of retaliation can itself be rational. Gauthier maintains that the above argument against the rationality of nuclear deterrence was reached by deriving the rationality of the act of retaliation from the rationality of forming the intention to retaliate, an approach which he claims is mistaken. In justifying his way of evaluating the rationality of deterrence, Gauthier states that: The key to understanding deterrence... is that in interaction, the probability that an individual will be in a given situation or type of situation may be affected by the beliefs of others about what that individual would do in the situation. B's willingness to put A in a situation, to face A with a choice, will be affected by his belief about how she will act in that situation, how she will choose,... by his assessment of her intentions(482).  So what may be said about A and B is that the probability of A being in the situation in which she must retaliate, given her previous conditional intention to retaliate if B commits an aggressive act against her, is affected by B's taking that conditional intention into account. Now if A prefers above all not to be B's victim and would, other things being equal, prefer non-retaliation to retaliation, then in order for retaliation to be rational for her she must believe that forming the conditional intention to retaliate will sufficiently reduce the probability of B acting aggressively against her to off-balance the hardship that she will experience if her expression of the intention to retaliate fails to deter B. Gauthier illustrates this claim by asking us to suppose that B is a university professor who lives in Boston and is offered a position in Dallas. His wife, A, would like to deter B from accepting the position, so that even though she would actually prefer to accompany him to Dallas, she tells him that she will 12  retaliate against his accepting the position by leaving him and staying in Boston. "Then if A is indifferent between a lottery that would offer a 70 percent chance that B would stay in Boston and a 30 percent chance that he would go alone to Dallas, and the Certainty that both would go to Dallas, .7 is a minimum required probability for deterrent success. If A supposes that there is a 50 percent chance that B will accept the appointment in Dallas if she will accompany him, but only a 10 percent chance... [if she won't], then the proportionate decrease effected by deterrence in the probability that he will accept the appointment is (.5 - .1)/.5, or .8"(485). Since .8 is greater that .7, it is rational for her to adopt the deterrent policy, even if it means that she will have to leave her husband should he accept the position in Dallas. We may conclude, in general, that the benefits of succeeding at deterring someone from committing some undesired act must be weighed against the costs of failed deterrence, and only the probability of the undesired act occurring both with and without deterrence, weighed against the interval measure of utility which gives us the minimum probability necessary for deterrent success, will tell us whether non-deterrence or deterrence is rational. Gauthier concludes that his argument "refutes the claim that deterrence is necessarily an irrational policy because carrying out the deterrent intention is not utility maximizing"(486). Whereas the argument that Gauthier contests rejects deterrence because there are costs involved if deterrence fails, Gauthier's argument recognizes that there are such costs, but relates them to the benefits of deterrent success in order to determine the rationality of forming the conditional intention to retaliate. Thus Gauthier's argument quite reasonably recommends that countries making nuclear strategy decisions compare the costs and benefits of whole policies rather than weighing the costs and benefits of individual nuclear acts. For whereas acts of retaliation may seem irrational when they are considered separately and in isolation, they would be thought to be rational by anyone who sees them as parts of general and utility maximizing nuclear deterrence policies. It would seem, then, that nuclear deterrence policies and the acts of retaliation that these policies entail are rational so long as we have sufficient foresight and a broad enough understanding of military programmes to see that acts of nuclear war must be evaluated on a policy by policy rather than an act by act basis. But we might well find this conclusion troublesome, especially if we 13  believe that retaliating against a large-scale nuclear attack would only make things worse for everyone involved, so that it must be irrational. Is Gauthier's analysis really any better than the one that he has attempted to refute? Let us consider a counter-argument to Gauthier's view that will give us good reason to search for flaws in his argument. In particular, let us consider reasons for rejecting the view which is essential to Gauthier's argument that nuclear deterrence policies that entail retaliating in situations in which doing so would serve no useful purpose are appropriately evaluated on a policy by policy rather than an act by act basis. We may proceed by claiming that in radically non-iterative (or nonrepeatable) situations, we judge the rationality of our actions case by case rather than on the basis of general policies. In other words, in cases which will never be repeated we judge the rationality of the action from the time at which it is performed. As Gauthier acknowledges, this way of judging rationality, this way of calculating utility, is common among economists, decision theorists, and game theorists. But Gauthier claims that this approach is misguided. He states that: the fully rational actor is not the one who assesses her actions from now but, rather, the one who subjects the largest, rather than the smallest, segment of her activity to primary rational scrutiny, proceeding from policies to performances, letting assessment of the latter be ruled by assessment of the former (488, italics mine).  The claim here seems to be that following rational policies is more likely to satisfy ones preferences (and to maximize utility) than is following rational procedures case by case. Is this a plausible view? It might seem that Gauthier is recommending a rule utilitarian decision procedure instead of an act utilitarian one. In general, reasons for preferring the former to the latter are strong. As R.B. Brandt has argued, a society of act utilitarians would be deficient in several ways. Firstly, although it might initially seem to be the case that we could maximize utility by following the single rule "act so as to maximize utility in each case," a society of persons with our level of intelligence would probably fare very badly by following such a rule, for we would be hopelessly incompetent at identifying which acts would actually maximize utility. Furthermore, figuring out which acts have this feature would either be extremely inaccurate or extremely time consuming. In either case, decision-making would be an inefficient process. Secondly, the reasoning 14  involved in figuring out which acts would maximize utility would be complex and would consequently be open to self-interested rationalization. In other words, deciding to act in such a way as to benefit oneself at someone else's expense could frequently be done without being noticed. Thirdly, it would be very difficult to predict what other persons in such a society will do, and knowing this is often important. If, for instance, I could not predict whether or not you will repay a loan to me since you will only do so if you figure that repaying the loan will maximize utility, then I will surely not give you a loan. Likewise, in an act utilitarian society, I could not count on you fulfilling a promise, or refraining from injuring me, provided that breaking promises and injuring people is sometimes utility maximizing(Brandt, 271-274). Brandt's three reasons for questioning the adequacy of an act utilitarian decision procedure seem conclusive in the context of ordinary persons making ordinary decisions. It may well be that Gauthier has some such reasons in mind when he says that the fully rational actor is one who chooses to act on rational (utility maximizing) policies (or rules) rather than one who chooses case by case on rational performances. But do such reasons really apply to the sort of case in question? Since Gauthier is discussing fully rational persons, and not the average sort of person, we might well question whether Brandt's reasons, or others like them, apply to Gauthier's case. For it would seem that fully rational and informed persons could presumably maximize utility case by case without having difficulty making the necessary calculations, without rationalizing in their own favour, and without having trouble predicting each other's actions. In short, the sort of reasons against adopting an act utilitarian decision procedure which apply in an average society do not apply in a fully rational and informed one. Moreover, as Brandt acknowledges, there may be situations in our actual society in which it is highly appropriate to decide how to act case by case rather than policy by policy. Radically non-iterative situations, such as those involved in nuclear warfare, seem to be cases in point. Why would the strategic decisions of the nuclear weapons equipped superpowers call for case by case utility calculations? Precisely because any single move could result in massive destruction and the annihilation of life on Earth, so that each move must be calculated for its effects on utility. There may just not be enough cases of a similar sort to warrant deciding on rational policies or rules, since any single move could result in the elimination of the possibility of future similar cases. It would seem, then, that Gauthier's claim that 15  fully rational persons subject policies rather than performances to rational scrutiny does not apply to the sort of case under considerations, although it may well apply to cases of conventional or limited nuclear strikes. This would mean that fully rational persons deciding on whether or not to retaliate against a nuclear strike, given a failed deterrent policy, would not choose to retaliate if doing so is not, in itself, what they prefer. In making decisions such as whether or not to retaliate with nuclear weapons, it is not rational to carry out a conditional intention to retaliate just because doing so is part of an existing deterrence policy, since decisions of such weight are more rationally decided on their own merits rather than on the merits of general policies by which they could be entailed. To act on the conditional intention would be 'rule worshiping,' and irrational. Perhaps Gauthier would object to this argument by reminding us that if adopting a deterrence policy is likely to lead to a happier world than if we do not adopt such a policy, then it must be rational for us to adopt a deterrence policy. But as we have seen, this seemingly plausible objection fails since it would not be rational to adopt a deterrence policy and the conditional intention to retaliate, given that it would not be rational to act on that intention should the antecedent of the conditional intention come true. In nuclear strategy situations, in which fully rational persons decide case by case, any assertion of the conditional intention to retaliate would not be credible unless retaliation is preferred. So expressing the intention to retaliate would serve no purpose, and would thus be irrational. Hence nuclear deterrence cannot work in a fully rational and informed world in which retaliation is not preferred. Gauthier's argument for the view that deterrence is rational, even in situations of large-scale nuclear attacks, hinges on a model of rationality which is inappropriate for nuclear strategy situations involving threats of large-scale nuclear retaliation. If we adopt the correct model, namely the one underlying the argument which Gauthier has argued against, we must conclude that pursuing a policy of nuclear deterrence against large-scale nuclear attacks is irrational. How shall we determine whether our point of view or Gauthier's is the correct one? Let us take a closer look at Gauthier's argument. We will see that it is, in fact, unacceptable. Throughout his argument against his opponents, Gauthier's strong point seems to be that if it is rational to form the intention to retaliate against a nuclear attack, 16  it is also rational to act on that intention by retaliating. For it is clearly true that if it is rational for me to intend to t if X, then, everything remaining equal, if X occur it is rational for me to t. To say otherwise would clearly be inconsistent. Since he is able to establish this point against his opponents, Gauthier presents the following argument as a replacement for his opponents' argument: [1] it may be utility maximizing to form the nonsubmissive, retaliatory intention; [2] therefore it may be rational to form such an intention; [3] if it is rational to form the intention it is rational to act on the intention; [4] therefore a rational person can sincerely express the intention; [5] therefore another rational and informed person can be deterred by the expression of the intention(479-480, numbering mine). From what we have just seen, it is clear that we must accept the third premise of this argument. Let us also grant that the first premise is acceptable. But we will very shortly see that we must reject Gauthier's second premise. Subsequently, we will see that we must also reject his fourth premise. As a consequence, we will have to reject his implied conclusion that nuclear deterrence, even against large-scale nuclear attacks, can be rational. This will enable us to determine that the argument that Gauthier has attempted to refute, which recommends evaluating the rationality of nuclear deterrence policies from the moments at which those policies are to be acted on, represents the rational point of view. What might our reaction be to Gauthier's argument as a whole? In this nuclear age we may well be tempted to reiterate the claim that to intend to retaliate against a nuclear attack would be crazy if retaliating would probably result in the annihilation of life on Earth. But besides the fact that this point of view, though different than Gauthier's, does not refute his argument, Gauthier could remind us that in order to resort to this claim we must have failed to consider the benefit of deterrent policies, namely probable relative stability between the superpowers and globally. That this stability would be possible without deterrent policies, which entail taking the risk of having to retaliate, may be unlikely. Clearly, the argument that nuclear deterrence is actually rational rests on the claim that relative global stability is a sufficiently great benefit to risk nuclear devastation, provided that the probability of the former occurring is substantially higher than the probability of the latter occurring. If nuclear deterrence drastically reduces the chance of nuclear war occurring, then it would seem to be rational to adopt a policy of nuclear deterrence, even against large-scale attacks. 17  Yet we need not accept the view that nuclear deterrence is rational even in situations in which retaliating would cause more harm than good since Gauthier's second premise is faulty. In particular, R.I. Sikora points out 1 that premise [2], which states that "it may be rational to form such an intention" (see above), is ambiguous. Moreover, it must be interpreted in one way to be entailed by [1] "it may be utility maximizing to form the nonsubmissive, retaliatory intention," and it must be interpreted in another way in order to support [4] and [5], the claims that "a rational person can sincerely express the intention" and that therefore "another rational and informed person can be deterred by the expression of the intention." Specifically, in order to be entailed by [1], [2] must be construed to mean [a] that it is rational to intend to retaliate if you can intend to retaliate. But [a] is not strong enough to entail the rest of the argument. Yet in order for [2] to entail [4] and [5], it must be construed to mean that [b] you can in a rational state intend to retaliate. But this does not follow from [1]. Gauthier could make his argument valid by changing it to: "[1 a] it may be utility maximizing to form the nonsubmissive, retaliatory intention; therefore [2a] it may be rational to form such an intention if you can. [3a] If you can not only form the intention but do so when you are rational, it is rational to act on the intention. [4a] It is possible for you to form the intention when you are rational. [4b] Therefore a rational person can sincerely express the intention; [5] therefore another rational and fully informed person can be deterred by the expression of the intention"(Sikora). However, as we will see presently, [4a] and [4b] are false since it is psychologically impossible in a rational state to intend to retaliate in the sort of case in question. The same could be said about Gauthier's premise [4]. We will conclude that Gauthier's argument, whether in the original or in the revised form, is invalid. The view that is it is psychologically impossible for a rational person to rationally form the intention to retaliate against a large-scale nuclear attack. Sikora provides an example that brings out the flaw in Gauthier's argument . We are to imagine that the US president knows that, for religious reasons, Ayatollah K plans to use his limited number of nuclear weapons, within a week, to wipe out Hawaii. In order to deter Ayatollah K from bombing Hawaii, 1 These arguments were presented in a seminar in which I participated at the University of British Columbia. As far as I know they have not been published.  18  he must threaten to retaliate with a type of nerve gas that will eventually cause all living creatures to suffer an agonizing death. The chances that Ayatollah will be deterred by this threat are millions to one. Sikora now argues that it would be irrational and psychologically impossible to form the intention to retaliate. For "in order to intend to retaliate you would have to believe that you would retaliate," and it is just not possible to believe that you would actually retaliate or want to retaliate if doing so will wipe out all life on Earth. It would be terribly irrational to decide to retaliate in that situation. It might be objected that some persons would be able to bring themselves to retaliate in that situation. It would seem, though, that such a person would have to be indifferent about the well-being of his fellow creatures, not to mention about his own life. Since we are discussing the rationality of retaliation, with the idea of rationality tied to utility maximization, we are not concerned with the sort of person who is irrational by virtue of not caring about utility. So this objection fails as an objection to the claim that it would be irrational, in our sense, to retaliate. Sikora brings out the point that to retaliate would be irrational and psychologically impossible by asking us to imagine a non-rational retaliation machine. This machine would retaliate against pre-selected sorts of attack, and would be impossible to stop from retaliating during a certain period. Alternatively, we may prefer to imagine taking a drug that causes us to be sufficiently irritable and irrational so that we would ourselves retaliate against the bombing of Hawaii. In either case, Sikora concedes that it would be rational to activate the machine or to take the drug and to tell Ayatollah about it, since the chance that he would be deterred by this threat would be very great. But Sikora insists, quite reasonably, that without such a machine or drug, retaliation would be impossible. Sikora observes that it may be objected that if it is psychologically possible to activate the machine it is also psychologically possible to retaliate in the absence of the machine. But "in activating the machine or taking the drug I would be running a minute risk of bringing about a horrible consequence in order to prevent something less bad but still bad enough to justify taking the chance, while in retaliating if the deterrence failed, I would be certain of bringing about a horrible consequence with no redeeming features"(Sikora). Hence this objection must also fail. 19  Clearly, Sikora's arguments refute Gauthier's second and fourth premises, and with them the claim that if the benefits of nuclear deterrence are sufficiently great, it is rational for us to adopt a policy of nuclear deterrence. For if it is psychologically impossible to act on the intention to retaliate against a large-scale nuclear attack and it is psychologically impossible to believe that we would act on that intention, then we could not sincerely form and express the intention to retaliate. Thus nuclear deterrence would be an irrational policy to attempt to pursue (unless we invented a retaliation machine or drug and judged that, even with the added risks entailed by using such a machine or drug, nuclear deterrence is the utility maximizing policy. But this scenario takes us too far away from Gauthier's argument to warrant further consideration.) Someone might claim that quite rational persons who are highly intelligent and make careful decisions might nevertheless fail to see the logical errors in Gauthier's argument and may therefore adopt a policy of nuclear deterrence. It might seem that if such intelligent and careful decision makers would adopt a policy of nuclear deterrence, then such a policy would be rational. But as was mentioned in the introduction, persons who make decisions that involve logical errors are not perfectly rational since such decisions are irrational. Therefore when intelligent and careful decision makers choose nuclear deterrence, given that they must commit a logical error in doing so, we cannot say that nuclear deterrence is rational on the grounds that such persons would choose it. In defense of nuclear deterrence we may want to consider whether it could be rational to pursue a policy of nuclear deterrence that is based on insincere threats of retaliation. This idea is supported by Jonathan Glover, who wishes to retain the advantages of deterrence policies despite the irrationality of actually retaliating. He argues against the rationality of retaliating by pointing out that after a large scale attack on a country, "[i]t is too late to avoid the catastrophic damage to the victim country, and so retaliation would merely double the size of the catastrophe to no useful purpose"(Glover, 265). Glover argues that since retaliating is irrational, sincerely threatening to retaliate is unjustified. But insincerely threatening may not be, for it may be the only way of avoiding a large-scale nuclear attack on one's country. Does this view successfully get around the claim that nuclear deterrence is irrational because retaliating would cause nothing but tremendous suffering 20  and would consequently be psychologically impossible? At the outset we should note that Gauthier does not consider insincere threats since he is concerned with fully informed persons. And if B knows that A's threats of retaliation are insincere, then A's threats will serve no purpose. But since our purpose should ultimately be to discover whether or not nuclear deterrence is rational in the real world, and since insincere threats may be effective in the real world, we may want to disregard Gauthier's restriction in order to show that nuclear deterrence policies can be rational in the real world. But insincere threats bring about serious problems. As Jeff McMahan points out, insincerely threatening to retaliate against a large-scale nuclear attack requires the threatener to keep the insincerity of his threat secret since otherwise the insincerity would be detected by the enemy. But political leaders' keeping their real intentions secret goes against the fundamental goals of democracy, so that doing so is very hard to justify in a democratically ruled country such as the US. Another problem with insincere threats is that the deception can be too effective. Specifically, if only the president knows that his threats are insincere, if he is killed in a large-scale nuclear attack against his country, h i s subordinates may go ahead with what they believe to be official policy, and may retaliate. And even if the president is not killed but is voted out of office, his follower may be convinced by the deception. It might seem that the president should avoid these possible risks by telling enough people about his real intentions. But if more people than just the president (and perhaps his closest fellow politicians and military leaders) know that he will actually not give the order to retaliate if his country has been attacked, then there is greater danger of the enemy discovering this fact. And what if the enemy does find out about the insincerity? It is quite possible that in that case the enemy will launch an attack against the insincere threatener since the enemy will no longer be afraid of retaliation. Threatening insincerely unavoidably entails the risk of the enemy finding out about the deception. So threatening insincerely is a less reliable deterrent than threatening sincerely. It does not follow, of course, that insincere threats are not better than no threats at all. Nevertheless, since insincere threats are not a reliable form of deterrence, it is unlikely that any country will be satisfied with the low level of security that they can achieve by issuing insincere threats. As a 21  result, they will prefer deterrence strategies that do not rely on threats of retaliation against large-scale nuclear attacks. We may therefore reasonably conclude that since maintaining nuclear deterrence on the basis of insincere threats is not a very realistic possibility, it cannot be rational to pursue a policy of nuclear deterrence that relies on threats of retaliation against large-scale nuclear attacks, whether these threats be sincere or insincere. Whereas Gauthier maintains that both forming the intention to retaliate and acting on that intention are rational, David Lewis and Gregory S. Kavka hold a different view. They agree with Gauthier that forming the intention to retaliate is rational, but disagree with him in holding that the act of carrying out the intention is nonetheless irrational. How do they support this unusual and seemingly inconsistent view? Lewis maintains that "paradoxes of deterrence" -- that is, situations in which it would seem to serve our purpose to form an intention which it would not serve our purpose to carry out -- tell us that it may sometimes be "rational to commit oneself to irrational behaviour"(Lewis, 143). To deny Gauthier's claim that such a view is inconsistent, Lewis asserts that the rationality of forming the intention and the rationality of carrying it out are quite appropriately evaluated separately, since the intention and the act are separate things. For "[T]o form an intention today is one thing. To retaliate tomorrow is something else"(144). Lewis considers the practical implications of his view by discussing how we would judge one person, say the Commander-in-Chief of the American Armed Forces, who both forms and carries out the intention to retaliate against a massive Soviet attack. Is he rational or irrational, good or evil? Lewis avoids forming a single judgement of this person by suggesting that we do not really need one. For persons like the Commander-in-Chief are a "strange mixture or good and evil;" they are at once "great patriots, and benefactors of us all... [and] evil beyond imagining, fiends in human shape"(144-145). In case we should be perturbed by such twofold and opposing judgements, Lewis puts our minds to rest by claiming that such judgements would not occur in the real world. Arguing about paradoxes of deterrence is "good fun for philosophers. But... it has nothing to do with the nuclear deterrence that our country faces"(147). However, this assertion, that 22  paradoxes of deterrence would never actually occur, is an empirical claim . We should be led to wonder what evidence Lewis has in support of it. Lewis argues that we are terribly ignorant about what would happen in a nuclear war as well as about what life would be like after its occurrence. Since we are so ignorant, we could never be sure that retaliating against a massive nuclear attack would not be in our interest. Hence we could never find ourselves in the paradoxical situation of having sincerely expressed the intention to retaliate against a massive nuclear attack, being massively attacked, and acting on the intention even if we know that it is not in our interests to do so. To suppose that anyone could have such knowledge is "preposterous"(148). In responding to Lewis's argument, although we may agree with him by acknowledging that we could never be sure about the effects of a massive nuclear attack, we may disagree with his opinion that we could not have good reason to believe that retaliating against such an attack would be irrational. Given our knowledge of the damage caused by the nuclear attacks and accidents that have occurred, and given our knowledge of the ever-increasing power and accuracy of nuclear weapons, we should be able to infer, to a high level of probability, that a massive nuclear attack would have sufficiently bad consequences for animals (including persons) and the environment to make retaliation not worthwhile. Increasing the extent of nuclear devastation by retaliating would make it more difficult for any survivors to find refuge in some less devastated and more inhabitable part of the planet, To the same effect, retaliating would increase the bad effects of fallout around the world, including in the region of the retaliating nation. Thus even from a purely self-interested or nationalistic perspective, retaliation would be irrational. Although Lewis might agree with the claim that retaliating against a massive nuclear attack would be irrational, he could still claim that the Commander-in-Chief would not be in a position to know that an attack against his country was "massive." As we have seen, Lewis has argued that such information would be unavailable to him. But in order to defend this claim Lewis would have to give us reason to believe that the communication systems in America would be so seriously damaged, even after a limited nuclear attack, that the Commander-in-Chief would be unable to assess the damage. But Lewis gives us no reason to believe that this would be the case. He acknowledges that his factual claims 23  are based largely on an article by McGeorge Bundy entitled "Existential Deterrence and Its Consequences." But nowhere does Bundy argue that the Commander-in-Chief would be unable to assess the damage of a nuclear attack. His argument is meant to show that neither superpower knows what strategy the other would follow in commencing a nuclear war. That they would also be ignorant about their opponent's strategy after it has been implemented is a claim that Bundy does not make, and one for which Lewis would have to provide additional evidence if he wanted us to accept it. Given that Lewis gives us no such evidence, he must consider his factual claims to be evident. We have seen, however, that they are neither evident nor plausible. We may conclude, that if Lewis wishes to hold the view that forming the intention to retaliate against a massive nuclear attack is rational even if carrying out the intention is not, he must accept the possibility that situations may arise in which it is necessary to make very awkward twofold and opposing judgements. To argue that the Commander-in-Chief would be unable to infer enough about the nature and extent of the damage caused by a nuclear attack to know that retaliation would be irrational, simply because such an attack has never occurred, seems to attribute an implausibly low level of existing knowledge to the relevant experts, knowledge which could provide them with pretty good grounds from which to project probably outcomes of a nuclear attack. That any such projections would be less than perfectly accurate is likely but of little consequence for our purposes, since we are arguing against the claim that it would be impossible to determine the rationality of retaliating after a massive attack. For we should recognize that so long as we know that an attack is indeed massive we know enough to know whether or not to retaliate. We need not know exactly how massive it is. So we may reject Lewis's argument to the effect that paradoxes of deterrence are unlikely to occur. But how plausible is his view that an intention can be rational even if the act of carrying it our may not be? If the above argument against Gauthier's model of rationality is successful, then we need not accept Lewis's model either. For as we saw earlier, since it is psychologically impossible for a rational persons to retaliate against a large-scale nuclear attack, we need not accept Gauthier's model of rationality. And according to our alternative model, neither the act of carrying out the conditional intention to retaliate against a massive nuclear attack, nor the intention itself, are rational. To recapitulate our argument, given that persons making nuclear strategy decisions act rationally 24  by assessing each single move for its utility and by acting on that assessment, if it would not be utility maximizing for them to act on a conditional intention to retaliate, then it would also not be rational for them to form the intention. For asserting such an intention would not be credible, so that forming the intention would serve no purpose. Hence we may reject not only Lewis's factual claims about paradoxes of deterrence but also his model of rationality. Before turning to Kavka's arguments, let us briefly consider a response which Gauthier makes to Lewis's arguments in "Responses to the Paradox of Deterrence." There Gauthier argues against the assertion that persons who form and act on the intention to retaliate against massive nuclear attacks are both "benefactors of us all" and "evil... fiends in human shape." Gauthier claims that it would be psychologically impossible to be in such a position, for "[i]f I know... that it would be irrational for me to RETAL[iate] given [an SU] ADVANT[age], then is it possible for me to form the intention to RETAL? It seems clear to me that it is not possible"(Kavka and Gauthier, 160). Although it is a significant achievement to show that Lewis's model of rationality rests on an implausible analysis of human psychology, a n achievement for which Gauthier's argument deserves credit, what is more important for the purpose of this essay is that Gauthier, in making this argument, acknowledges that the fourth premise of his argument for the rationality of nuclear deterrence is false. In particular, he recognizes that it is psychologically impossible to sincerely express the intention or to act on it when one knows that acting on it would have terrible consequences. He insists, however, that even if a person knows that retaliating against a massive nuclear attack would have such consequences and even if he is psychologically incapable of forming the intention to retaliate, it is still rational for him to form the intention and to act on it. This position is clearly implausible, however, since it is logically impossible for there to be creatures who could rationally form the intention to retaliate (which entails believing that they would retaliate) while at the same time believing that they would maximize utility by not retaliating should the antecedent of the conditional intention to retaliate come true. In other words, since it is logically impossible to believe X and -IX at the same time, there cannot be creatures who hold both beliefs at once. Consequently, Gauthier's acknowledgement of the fact, that nuclear deterrence policies that entail retaliating against large-scale nuclear attacks make psychologically impossible demands, should encourage us to adopt our alternative model of rationality 25  according to which the intention to retaliate and the act or carrying out the intention are irrational. Let us finally consider Kavka's arguments against Gauthier. Since Kavka holds basically the same model of rationality as does Lewis, and since we have seen that Lewis's is implausible, we need not consider Kavka's model. But Kavka does give some interesting arguments against Gauthier. In particular, Kavka argues that Gauthier's analysis is grounded on a simple mistake. He states that "[w]e are used to thinking of deterrence operations in repeatable contexts... where one's future credibility and ability to deter depends heavily upon one's willingness to carry out one's retaliatory threats once deterrence h as failed"(Kavka and Gauthier, 156). Kavka now suggests that whereas it is tempting to think of nuclear deterrence along the same lines, as Gauthier does, this is a mistake in at least some nuclear deterrence cases. For "[t]he longrange deterrent effects which may render retaliation rational in the repeatable context are by definition, either absent or outweighed in the problematic deterrent situations"(156). Kavka's argument is particularly interesting since it nicely supports the earlier argument against Gauthier, that in radically non-iterative situations, such as those involved in massive nuclear attacks, the rationality of actions should be assessed case by case rather than policy by policy. We may recall that the reason given for this view was that "any single move [of the superpowers making nuclear strategy decisions] could result in massive destruction and the annihilation of life on Earth, so that each move must be calculated for its effects on utility. There may just not be enough cases of a similar sort to warrant deciding on rational policies or rules, since any single move is likely to result in the elimination of the possibility of future similar cases"(see above). Clearly, Kavka's argument against Gauthier supports this view and thereby undermines Gauthier's argument in support of nuclear deterrence. In addition to the above argument, Kavka makes an observation that dispels any lingering sympathy for Lewis's claims that paradoxes of deterrence are unlikely to actually arise. Specifically, although Kavka believes that paradoxes of deterrence would only arise in cases of massive nuclear attacks, he maintains, in opposition to Lewis, that it is likely that "parts of our contingency nuclear war plans do involve obliteration-type retaliation against the Soviets.... This belief is reinforced by George Quester's remarks to the effect that the US 26  has weapons assigned to cover virtually every conceivable military and industrial target in the USSR -- with the obliteration of Soviet society the predictable result of a high percentage of these targets being hit"(157). Kavka reaches the plausible conclusion that paradoxes of deterrence do arise in some, though not all, of our nuclear strategies. Lewis's denial of the possibility of such cases occurring seems unrealistic given the number and sophistication of nuclear weapons possessed by both superpowers. His claim to the effect that deterrence paradoxes are insignificant fabrications can therefore be rejected. Let us conclude this chapter by stating that Gauthier's argument in favour of nuclear deterrence fails. We have refuted his argument by recognizing that it is psychologically impossible for a rational person to retaliate or to form the intention to retaliate, since retaliation would have terrible results and would perhaps even cause the annihilation of life on Earth. Although the view that if deterrence would maximize utility then retaliation must also be rational, at first seems plausible, our counter argument has shown us that Gauthier's position is grounded on a model of rational decision-making that does not suit the sort of case in question. Specifically, we have seen that although in most situations involving ordinary persons making ordinary decisions it is appropriate to assess the rationality of their decisions policy by policy, cases in which fully rational persons make nuclear strategy decisions are different in that it is appropriate to assess the rationality of these decisions case by case rather than policy by policy. This is so because any one of these decisions could seriously affect the prospects of all living creatures. That deterrence policies and retaliation may be rational and psychologically possible in situations not involving this level of destruction or in situations involving irrational leaders are separate questions that neither our refutation nor our counter argument address. Suffice it to say, that if the nuclear deterrence policies of the superpowers are rational at all, this must be due to the fact that they see the possibility of a limited nuclear exchange or, perhaps more realistically, because they predict that there will be irrational participants in the nuclear arena. But as we will see before long, even these two possibilities may not justify nuclear deterrence policies.  27  Works Cited: Bundy, McGeorge. "Existential Deterrence and Its Consequences." The Security Gamble. Ed. Douglas Maclean. Totowa (NJ): Rowman and Allanheld, 1984. Gauthier, David. "Deterrence, Maximization, and Rationality." Ethics (April 1984) :474-495. Glover, Jonathan. Causing Death and Saving Lives. Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin Books Ltd., 1977. Kavka, Gregory S. and David Gauthier. "Responses to the Paradox of Deterrence." The Security Gamble. Ed. Douglas Maclean. Totowa (NJ): Rowman and Allanheld, 1984. Lewis, David. "Devil's Bargains and the Real World." The Security Gamble. Ed. Douglas Maclean. Totawa (NJ): Rowman and Allanheld, 1984. McMahan, Jeff. "Deterrence and Deontology." Nuclear Deterrence: Ethics and Strategy. Ed. Russell Hardin et al. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985.  28  Chapter Two  Nuclear Deterrence Scenarios In trying to determine whether a nuclear deterrence policy is rational or irrational, we must take a number or factors into consideration. Specifically, in evaluating a particular deterrence policy, we must think about the levels or types of technology involved. This will lead us to consider, for instance, whether the nuclear weapons of the country or countries that pursue this policy are numerous and highly accurate or few and inaccurate. Besides these technological questions, we must think about the beliefs of the parties, on both sides of the deterrence policy, about the effects that nuclear war would have on their territory and on the rest of the world. Finally, we must think about the sorts of factors that the parties take into consideration in their evaluation of the possible outcomes of a particular policy. Do they care about the happiness of their fellow countrymen, of all human beings, or of all living creatures? Yet more fundamentally, do they even care about securing happiness above all else, or do they rather strive towards some other goal, such as religious or racial domination? Despite the apparent cogency of the previous chapter, the number and complexity of the above questions may lead us to wonder whether we could ever come up with an analysis which is realistic and thus useful, for we will surely never know exactly how to answer all of these questions. This way of looking at the philosophical analysis of nuclear deterrence may seem to be warranted, for given the level of secrecy that exists around both the technological and the epistemic/rational question, it seems unreasonable to suppose that we will ever be in the position of knowing exactly what factors to take into consideration in evaluating the rationality of nuclear deterrence policies. From a practical perspective, moreover, there may seem to be little reason for contemplating the rationality of nuclear deterrence scenarios which may, for all we know, prove to be completely out of touch with the deterrence policies that military leaders actually pursue. So it would seem that we should  29  be led to conclude that nuclear deterrence is not an area in which philosophers can have any valuable input. But as the Chapter One has shown, this conclusion is unnecessarily dismal, for we can conduct a useful analysis of nuclear deterrence since we do have a pretty good idea of how to answer the questions raised above. What's more, although many of the analyses of nuclear deterrence that have been completed may be of little use since the numerous factors that need to be taken into consideration in such an analysis are either not properly considered or are arbitrarily chosen, there is a solution to this problem. Unfortunately, the solution involves a rather laborious task, namely, to consider a large selection of combinations of "realistic" technological scenarios and "realistic" beliefs about, and preferences for, the possible outcomes of those scenarios. Such a comprehensive approach to the philosophical analysis of nuclear deterrence, if properly carried out, would be useful by virtue of taking many realistic scenarios into consideration. Of course we must restrict our analysis to "realistic" scenarios, for it would otherwise be an endless task. Given this restriction, however, a comprehensive analysis seems possible. It may be objected that selecting "realistic" scenarios must itself be an arbitrary process, so that any analysis of these scenarios would also be arbitrary and thus incomplete. This objection seems to rest, however, on an unreasonably dim view of our ability to select, from all possible situations, those which are at all likely to occur from those which are not so likely. To deny that we can have a pretty good idea about what might actually happen is a point of view which seems too unreasonable to warrant any further consideration. Let us move on to consider, in a preliminary way, which nuclear deterrence situations we must include in our comprehensive analysis of the subject. In general, we must analyze situations involving levels of technology, beliefs about the effects of nuclear war, and preferences with respect to different possible outcomes, that reflect the status quo as well as deteriorated and improved states of affairs. A deteriorated state of affairs might be one in which one or more of the countries in possession of nuclear weaponry are controlled by irrational and fanatic persons who cannot be expected to attempt to secure happiness, not even for their own countrymen. Instead, they may try to secure some other goal, such as religious domination or racial self-assertion, the securing of which is incompatible with the securing of happiness. A pessimist 30  may argue that the status quo is already of this "deteriorated" sort. Whether or not he is correct, it is clear that we will have to concern ourselves with deteriorated scenarios. But of equal interest are improved states of affairs, such as those that would obtain if one or more of the countries in possession of nuclear weapons adopted a moral stance. An example of a moral attitude is the point of view that what a country should attempt to secure by means of its military policies is the greatest possible happiness for all living creatures. A situation in which one or more countries have this point of view would clearly be an improvement on the status quo since in such a world the chances that a nuclear war would be started, except perhaps by accident, would be lower than at present given that nuclear war is very unlikely to lead to the greatest possible happiness. In addition to thinking about present, deteriorated, and improved states of affairs we will need to consider situations involving present levels and types as well as possible future levels and types of technology. To also take past types of technology into consideration would be a waste of time, since we cannot "uninvent" what has already been invented. But we must not forget to consider the possibility, or perhaps the reality, of smaller countries developing nuclear weapons that are less sophisticated than other modern weapons. Finally, we need to consider different possible beliefs about the effects of nuclear war. Since we already know that relatively isolated nuclear explosions, such as those that occurred at Hiroshima and in test areas, do not result in the annihilation of life on Earth, we need not consider beliefs that are quite so dismal. Similarly, we need not concern ourselves with specific insane views, such as that a nuclear war would result in eternal bliss for everyone, since, as will be explained later, we will be considering general types of irrationality, under which this sort or irrationality can presumably be subsumed. We should, however, consider a significant range of beliefs. Let us now consider specifically which scenarios we need to consider. Turning first to possible levels and types of technology, we can reasonably divide the field of realistic possibilities into three groups. First, there might be situations in which one or more countries possess limited destructive capability. This obtains when a country or countries can cause serious damage to other countries or to each other. Retaliation of small- or full-scale levels is possible against a limited nuclear strike of this sort. This scenario can be construed so 31  as to include unsophisticated as well as highly sophisticated weapons. However, since the main feature of this level of nuclear armament is the relatively limited damage that it may cause, countries with highly sophisticated and destructive weapons who possess only limited destructive capability must obviously have fewer weapons than countries with unsophisticated weapons and the same or similar destructive capability. Another level and type of nuclear weapons technology that countries may achieve is massive destructive capability, which exists when one or more nuclear superpowers can cause extremely serious damage to their opponent by striking at the opponent's population centers. Such an attack can be completed within a short period of time. Since this level and type of technology need not involve extremely accurate weapons, full-scale retaliation would still be possible. This scenario, which is an essential part of the Mutual Assured Destruction ideology, has probably obtained between the US and the SU for the past few decades. Hence scenarios involving this level of nuclear armament will probably be the closest of all to the status quo. Weapons of massive destruction, which are designed to wipe out the opponent's cities, are considered, according to Theodore Roszak, to be part of the US's "Minimum deterrence" systems. The purpose of these systems is to discourage an attack on the US or any other form of "extreme provocation," such as an SU invasion of western Europe. The weapons of Minimum deterrence must be invulnerable, either because of their mobility or because of the hardness of the silos in which they are housed. "The object is to guarantee the survival of a large number of weapons after the United States has been bombarded by the enemy. This 'strike back' capacity is, of course, aimed mainly at the enemy's civilian population, for it will presumably not be put into effect until the enemy's weapons have been used and thus his bases are no longer important targets"(Roszak, 72). Clearly, weapons aimed at cities are capable of causing terrible suffering, so that even if only a relatively small number of warheads survived the enemy's attack, serious retaliation could occur. The threat of such retaliation is the essence of Minimum deterrence policies. The third level and type of nuclear weapons technology that countries may possess is exact first strike capability. This obtains when one or more superpowers have a large number of weapons which are very accurate and which can be expected to reach and destroy nearly all of their targets, including 32  all or nearly all of the enemy's military and industrial facilities. Given this level and type of technology, a country can eliminate the retaliatory capability of its opponent(s), so that serious retaliation is impossible. It is very likely that the US and the SU are developing, or are trying to develop, extremely accurate nuclear weapons of the sort that might be used in an exact first strike. Indeed, Roszak maintains that the US has been pursuing a "Counterforce" deterrence policy since the early 1960's, a policy which incorporates weapons of exact first strike capability. Unlike Minimum deterrence policies, "counterforce deterrence... is based on a 'first-strike' capacity aimed at the enemy's military bases, not his civilian population. The object is to cripple the enemy's capacity to make war in the event he should attack, or prepare to attack, an area vital to American interests, but not the United States directly.... Counterforce weapons must also be extremely powerful... for they may be aimed at hardened enemy bases that are supposed to be invulnerable"(72). That the US and SU will inevitably develop exact first strike capability is very likely. For it is clear that both the US and the SU are investing tremendous resources in their nuclear weapons programmes, yet to build nuclear weapons of ever increasing destructive capability seems futile within the context of Minimum deterrence policies, since existing nuclear weapons are already powerful enough to cause severe destruction to the enemy's population centers. Moreover, launching a nuclear attack with weapons that are more numerous or more powerful than necessary is undesirable, since the more nuclear devastation one causes, the less likely it is that one can achieve what can reasonably be called a nuclear "victory." An alleged advantage of exact first strike technology is that its accuracy allows a country to select only military and possibly industrial targets, so that blanket bombing is not necessary. Consequently, the possibility of there being survivors after an exact first strike might be greater than after a strike of the Minimum deterrence sort. Moreover, achieving a nuclear victory may be easier than with only Minimum deterrence weapons. Although Counterforce deterrence may seem potentially less harmful to persons and other creatures, since the object of such policies is to destroy military targets rather than cities, the weapons used in any Counterforce attack are likely to be extremely powerful, each being hundreds of times as large as the bomb used on Hiroshima, so that the fallout and consequent widespread 33  damage of an exact first strike would be immense. In fact, the fallout caused by such an attack might be so far reaching that it would cause serious suffering in the country of the attacker as well as in the country that is attacked. If this is the case, then launching a counterforce attack will be relatively undesirable, although such an attack may still be rational if it turns out to be the lesser of two evils. Moreover, that such an attack would be extremely serious for the country which has been attacked is certain, for many military targets are in fact very close to large cities, so that many persons would be victims of direct nuclear attacks. To claim that a Counterforce deterrence policy is relatively innocuous is therefore quite unreasonable. The above three levels of technology seem to cover all interesting and realistic possibilities. Of course, it could happen that a country comes to possess less than limited first strike capability, which is a level of technology which we have not considered. But whereas this very small nuclear arsenal may well be a source of concern for the opponents of the country which possesses it, the threat posed by such an arsenal is really insignificant in comparison to the threats posed by limited and massive nuclear arsenals. For if a country cannot cause extremely serious damage to its opponent by using its nuclear weapons, damage more serious than the damage which can be caused by a small number of conventional weapons, then these nuclear weapons are, for all intents and purposes, on a par with conventional weapons and should be treated with the same level of seriousness. In any case, confronting an opponent who has only conventional (or extremely small-scale nuclear) weapons is not the sort of case which we will consider in this analysis. At the opposite extreme, if a country possesses even more than exact first strike capability, the situation may be more serious than situations involving exact capability, but only as a matter of degree. In particular, if a country achieves more than exact first strike capability, which might entail being able to wipe out not only its enemy's nuclear and industrial facilities, but also similar facilities around the world as well as innumerable population centers, it may now be more clearly rational for its opponents to disarm, or to do whatever it would be rational for them to do, but less clearly so, if that country had only exact first strike capability. Since such situations are only different as a matter of degree, we need not consider them further.  34  Let us now move on to consider the beliefs, that could be held by the controllers of nuclear arsenals, about the effects of nuclear war. As has already been mentioned, given a very limited knowledge of nuclear warfare as well as some awareness of the nuclear accidents that have occurred, it is reasonable to believe that a large-scale nuclear war would make life significantly less worth living for all creatures. Similarly, on the same evidence it is reasonable to believe that a small-scale nuclear war would have significantly less serious effects than a full-scale war. It was concluded earlier that since it is irrational to hold beliefs that contradict these two evident truths, persons holding such irrational beliefs could quite reasonably be analyzed together with persons who are irrational for other reasons. It may, however, be objected that we really need to consider each possible irrational belief separately in order to provide a comprehensive analysis of nuclear deterrence. As we will see, however, all sorts of irrational beliefs that controller of nuclear equipped countries might hold will tend to have the same effect, namely, to lead their opponents to distrust them But why would persons distrust irrational leaders of a nuclear equipped countries? Since any single military operation of a country using nuclear weapons could cause horrific suffering and also possibly the annihilation of life on Earth, it is imperative that the controllers of nuclear weapons operate on a rational basis. While it is clearly important that these leaders can predict what there opponents will do in particular situations, it would be extremely difficult for any leader to predict what his opponents will do if his opponents are irrational, since in order to make predictions about irrational persons he would have to be very well acquainted with their beliefs and preferences. Moreover, what his irrational opponents will actually do must also depend, at every moment, upon whether or not they adopt rational beliefs and preferences in favour of irrational ones. But if all of the leaders act rationally by attempting to maximize the happiness of living creatures, any rational leader will understand his opponents' reasoning and will be able to predict their actions without being intimately acquainted with their beliefs and preferences. It may be objected that even if a leader operates irrationally by attempting, for instance, to secure eternal salvation or racial self-assertion for his subjects, he can be fully understood, and his actions predicted, by anyone who tries to understand his reasoning. Although this claim is partly true, in that trying to understand the reasoning of an irrational person may enable one to 35  have some idea of how he will act, this objection does not refute the claim that irrational leaders will be distrusted. For rational persons value particular things, such as happiness and the avoidance of pain, which they believe to be intrinsically worth striving for. If, however, they encounter an irrational person who values things that to them seem to have no intrinsic value, such as eternal salvation or racial self-assertion, they are bound to believe that he is mistaken in his beliefs and preferences. And if they know, not only that he is seriously mistaken, but also that he controls potentially very harmful nuclear weapons, they will feel aversion towards him and will distrust him. Whereas an irrational person may be similarly distrustful of rational persons, we cannot seriously entertain the possibility that all leaders of nuclear equipped countries will be irrational in the same way. And so long as some of these leaders are irrational while others are rational, or so long as they are irrational in different ways, aversion and distrust will arise between them. It may again be objected, that even if rational leaders would distrust an opponent because of his irrational preferences, they would not distrust him for having irrational beliefs about the effects of nuclear war. But given the clear evidence in support of such views as that large-scale nuclear warfare would make everyone's life less worth living, or that small-scale nuclear warfare would be substantially less harmful to most persons, a person who holds contrary views is not only irrational, but must also apparently be quite unintelligent. A leader of a nuclear equipped country who is irrational as well as unintelligent will surely be distrusted. We may therefore conclude that irrational leaders of nuclear equipped countries, whether they hold irrational beliefs or irrational preferences, will be distrusted by their opponents. Although we do not need to consider specific sorts of irrational beliefs that a leader of a nuclear equipped country may hold about the effects of a nuclear war on the world, we do need to consider a range of rational beliefs. Since mankind has already seen that a substantial nuclear attack on a relatively small region allows life to go on at the same or nearly the same level of comfort in regions removed from the attacked territory, the view that any use of nuclear weapons would devastate the planet is irrational. But there has never been a substantial nuclear attack on a fairly large region, so that the belief that such an attack might make life not worth living for all creatures is rational and warrants our consideration. Somewhat similar to this belief and even more likely to be true, is the opinion that a full-scale obliteration-type nuclear attack on any 36  country would make life not worth living for all creatures. This is also a belief that we need to consider. In addition, we have to consider the the belief that such a full-scale attack would make life not worth living for the inhabitants of the attacked region, but that life could continue to be worth living for the inhabitants of the attacking country as well as of other countries, provided that retaliation does not occur. Finally, we must consider the belief that, although a full-scale nuclear war would make life less worth living for all creatures, life could still be worth living for most survivors after such a war. The above four rational beliefs about the effects of nuclear war on the world seem to cover a broad enough range, and are general enough so that other possible beliefs will only be variants of these four. This allows us to move on to consider, finally, what preferences, regarding the outcomes of their policies, controllers of nuclear equipped countries may have. In other words, we can now consider different sorts of rationality. It might be argued, that in order to provide a comprehensive account of nuclear deterrence, we must consider one or more types of rationality that rest on the idea that it is rational to bring about or secure equality or fairness in the world, or in some portion of it. But while preferring and acting on nuclear policies that result in greater equality or fairness may at first seem rational since fairness and equality are quite commonly very highly valued, the apparent rationality of this point of view is illusory, for nuclear strategy moves are not an appropriate means by which to secure these goals. How can we support this claim? Although it may well be reasonable to hold that fairness or equality should be valued very highly, it can hardly be reasonable to hold that fairness or equality should be brought about at any expense. If, for instance, the very happy but unequal members of a community could only be made equal by making them all terribly miserable, it would be unreasonable to hold that they should be made equal anyway. Similarly, if a large community could be made very happy rather than very miserable only if one of them were required to remain very miserable, it would be unreasonable to hold that, out or fairness, they should all be required to remain miserable. But what does this sort of example have to do with nuclear policies? Since any single nuclear strategy move could result in the annihilation of life on Earth and/or the bringing about of terrible and widespread suffering, this sort of move is inappropriate as a means to securing fairness or equality. If, for 37  instance, a country attacks another country with a limited nuclear attack, since even an attack of this limited sort will result in terrible suffering and death in the afflicted region, an act of retaliation of similar magnitude, brought about for the sake of fairness, would be irrational. For it is surely irrational to say that fairness should be secured at any expense, even if it means bringing about terrible suffering and death for a large number of person. This analysis is even more persuasive if it is claimed that, for the sake of fairness, retaliation should occur after a massive nuclear attack on a very large region. Clearly, all that should count in trying to decide how to respond to a nuclear attack is how to minimize further suffering and how to maximize happiness. We may therefore conclude that types of rationality that take fairness or equality as the ultimate goal of nuclear policies are, in fact, types of irrationality. What sorts of rationality does this leave us with? If the above argument is correct, we are left with utilitarian decision making procedures and with irrational decision making procedures. Consequently, we will have to consider moral utilitarianism, the view that what is moral and rational is to bring about the outcome that leads to the greatest possible happiness in the world. According to moral utilitarianism, the happiness of all persons, or of all creatures, is equally valuable. It follows that the use of nuclear weapons is immoral and irrational in almost all circumstances, for nuclear warfare is almost certain to cause more unhappiness than happiness. So, according to moral utilitarianism, no nuclear war is preferred above all, and not retaliating against a massive nuclear attack is preferred to retaliating against such an attack. The only use of nuclear weapons that is allowable, according to the moral utilitarianism, is small-scale retaliation against a limited nuclear attack, provided that such smallscale retaliation is considered to be an adequate deterrent against future nuclear attacks, an outcome which is believed to bring about the greatest possible happiness in the long run. As we saw in the Introduction, a very popular utilitarian attitude that we must consider, one that is less magnanimous than moral utilitarianism but equally rational, is nationalistic utilitarianism. According to this view it is acceptable, or even one's duty as a military leader, to count the happiness of one's fellow countrymen more heavily than that of others. Hence one should prefer policies the result of which is to secure the greatest possible happiness for one's countrymen. Still, outcomes that do not entail needlessly harming other people are preferred to outcomes that do entail such needless harm. In 38  other words, if harming others is of no advantage to one's countrymen, then others should not be harmed. From this perspective the use of nuclear weapons is acceptable only in situations in which an act of limited retaliation is considered to be an adequate deterrent against future attacks of a similar sort, when it is believed to be quite possible that one's opponent will initiate a massive attack against one and that attacking the opponent first will reduce the amount of suffering in one's own country, or when it is believed that a smallscale and relatively innocuous nuclear attack on one's opponent will cause them to surrender. The third and final point of view that we will have to consider is irrational nationalism, fanaticism, or ignorance. As we will recall, it has been claimed that all sorts of irrationality -- whether this be irrationality about the likely outcomes of nuclear war or irrationality about preferences for particular outcomes -- can be included in this category. According to irrational views, it is permissible, whether morally or in terms of one's duty to one's fellow countrymen, to attack one's opponents and/or extend one's territory, even if the outcome would provide one's countrymen, not to mention other people, with less worldly happiness, or even if attacking would bring about the end of one's own society. From this perspective, nuclear war may be preferred to no nuclear war if it is believed that such a war would seriously harm one's opponent. Some sorts of irrationality may additionally include other goals, such as to provide one's countrymen with eternal heavenly bliss, but the most common goal seems to be to harm one's adversary, given that this is the most obvious feature of nuclear attacks. This brings us to the end of our discussion of what variables must be included in any comprehensive analysis of nuclear deterrence. We will now construct rationality tables that indicate whether initiating a nuclear war or retaliating against a nuclear attack would be rational, irrational, permissible, or desirable from the points of view of different sorts of nuclear weapons controllers faced with a variety of situations. Before we construct these tables, however, we need to provide a summary of the above discussion that assigns labels (ex. I, II, a, b) to each of the items discussed. These labels will then be used in the tables.  39  Outline of items in tables: Levels/types of technology:  Limited destructive capability: this obtains when a country can cause serious damage to another country or countries. Full-scale or small-scale retaliation would be possible.  II^Massive destructive capability: this obtains when one or either superpower can cause extremely serious damage to the other superpower within a short period of time. Still, full-scale retaliation would be possible given that the weapons are not so accurate as to hit all targets. This level/type of technology is required for the policy of Mutually Assured Destruction to be a credible deterrent.  III^Exact first strike capability: this obtains when one or either superpower can eliminate the retaliatory capability of its opponent. Since the nuclear technology must be fairly accurate for one superpower to effectively wipe out its opponents arsenal, it may well be the case that a type Ill attack would cause less serious damage to non-military entities than would a type II attack. However, since the weapons must also be extremely powerful and numerous, the damage may be extremely serious after all. Serious retaliation would also not be possible. Possible beliefs about the effects of nuclear war:  Given the belief that any large-scale nuclear war will make life significantly less worth living for all creatures, and that a very small-scale nuclear war will have a substantially less harmful effect on all creatures, except for those in the attacked region, the following beliefs can also be held: a^The belief that a substantial nuclear attack on any fairly large region would make life not worth living for all creatures.  40  b^The belief that a full-scale (or obliteration-type) nuclear attack on any country would make life not worth living for all creatures.  c^The belief that a nuclear war resulting in surrender rather than retaliation would make life not worth living in the conquered region, but worth living for the victor.  d^The belief that life would still be worth living even after a full-scale nuclear exchange. Possible preferences regarding outcomes (i.e. sorts of rationality):  Moral utilitarianism: the belief that what is moral and rational is to bring about the outcome that leads to the greatest possible happiness in the world. From this perspective, no nuclear war is preferred above all, and not retaliating against a massive nuclear attack is preferred to retaliating against the same. On the other hand, small-scale retaliation against a limited nuclear attack may be preferred to not retaliating against the same, provided that such small-scale retaliation is considered to be an adequate deterrent against future attacks. ii^Nationalistic utilitarianism: the belief that it is right, in terms of one's duty to one's country, to bring about the outcome that leads to the greatest possible happiness in one's own country. The happiness of one's fellow countrymen is considered to be of greater importance, at least in terms of military strategy considerations, than the happiness of other people. But outcomes that do not entail needlessly harming other people are preferred to outcomes that entail such needless harm. If harming others does not make one's fellow countrymen happier, then others should not be harmed. From this perspective, the use of nuclear weapons should be avoided except in situation in which an act of limited nuclear retaliation is considered to be an adequate deterrent against future attacks, when it is believed to be quite possible that one's opponents will initiate a massive attack against one and that attacking one's opponent first will make his initiating such an attack impossible, or when it is believed that a smallscale and relatively innocuous nuclear attack on one's opponent will cause him to surrender. 41  iii^Irrational nationalism, fanaticism, or ignorance: the belief that it is right or permissible, whether morally or in terms of one's duty to one's country, to attack one's opponents and/or to extend one's territory as far as possible, even if the outcome would allow less worldly happiness for one's fellow countrymen, not to mention for other people. From this perspective, nuclear war may well be preferred to no nuclear war if it is believed that such a war would obliterate or seriously harm one's opponents.  Rationality Tables  (assuming full-scale nuclear initiations and acts of retaliation) Note: some assignments are followed by a question mark (?). This introduces an element of doubt to the assignments in question, and should be read as "... in certain circumstances, or given certain beliefs." As an example, "desirable ?" should be read as "desirable in certain circumstances or given certain beliefs." The reasons for the particular assignments will have to be discussed in subsequent sections. ( (I) will not be considered in this set of tables since we are assuming full-scale nuclear attacks and acts of retaliation.)  First Table (assuming i on both sides) Side A  Side B  Initiation for A  Initiation for B  Retaliation for A  Retaliation for B  II/a,b  II/a,b  irrational  irrational  rational  rational  II/a,b  II/c,d  irrational  irrational  rational  irrational  II/c,d  II/c,d  irrational  irrational  irrational  irrational  11/a,b,c,d  IU/a,b  irrational  irrational  impossible  rational  II/a,b,c,d  fflic,d  irrational  irrational  impossible  irrational  III/a,b,c,d  111/a,b,c,d  irrational  irrational  impossible  impossible  42  Second Table (assuming i for A and ii for B) II/a,b^II/a,b,c,d^irrational ^irrational^rational^irrational II/c,d^II/a,b,c,d^irrational ^irrational^irrational^irrational III/a,b^II/a,b,c,d^irrational^irrational ^rational^impossible III/c,d^II/a,b,c,d^irrational^irrational^irrational^impossible 11I/a,b,c,d^JII/a,b,c,d^irrational^irrational^impossible^impossible  Third Table (assuming ii on both sides) II/a,b,c,d^II/a,b,c,d^irrational^irrational^irrational^irrational II/a,b,c,d^Iti/a,b,c,d^irrational^irrational ^irrational^impossible M/a,b^Til/a,b^irrational^irrational^impossible^impossible lIt/c,d^M/c,d^irrational?^irrational?^impossible^impossible  Fourth Table (assuming i for A and iii for B) II/a,b  II/a,b  irrational  permissible  rational  permissible  II/c,d  II/c,d  irrational  desirable?  irrational  desirable?  II/a,b,c,d  M/a,b  irrational  permissible  impossible  permissible  II/a,b,c,d  III/c,d  irrational  desirable  impossible  desirable?  11I/a,b  II/a,b  irrational  permissible  rational  permissible  111/a,b  II/c,d  irrational  desirable?  rational  desirable?  IIVc,d  lI/a,b  irrational  permissible  irrational  permissible  III/c,d  II/c,d  irrational  desirable?  irrational  desirable?  M/a,b,c,d  1II/a,b  irrational  permissible  impossible  impossible  III/a,b,c,d  IIL/c,d  irrational  desirable  impossible  impossible  Fifth Table (assuming ii for A and iii for B) II/a,b  II/a,b  irrational  permissible  irrational  permissible  II/c,d  II/a,b  rational?  permissible  irrational  permissible  II/a,b  II/c,d  irrational  desirable?  irrational  desirable?  43  II/a,b  III/a,b  irrational  permissible  impossible  permissible  II/c,d  III/c,d  rational?  desirable  impossible  desirable  III/a,b  II/a,b  irrational  permissible  irrational  impossible  III/c,d  II/c,d  rational  desirable  irrational  impossible  III/a,b  M/a,b  irrational  permissible  impossible  impossible  III/c,d  III/c,d  rational  desirable  impossible  impossible  Sixth Table (assuming iii for both sides) II/a,b  II/a,b  permissible  permissible  permissible  permissible  II/a,b  II/c,d  permissible  desirable?  permissible  desirable?  II/c,d  II/c,d  desirable  desirable  desirable  desirable  II/a,b  III/a,b  permissible  desirable?  impossible  desirable?  II/c,d  II/c,d  desirable  desirable  impossible  desirable?  III/a,b  III/a,b  permissible  permissible  impossible  impossible  III/c,d  ill/c,d  desirable  desirable  impossible  impossible  Rationality Tables (assuming small-scale or  limited nuclear initiations and acts of retaliation)  (Since we are considering limited nuclear strikes and acts of retaliation countries possessing technology of types II and Ill must be assumed to use only a limited portion of their arsenal.)  Seventh Table (assuming i or ii for both sides) Side A  Side B  Initiation A  IJI,III/a  I,II,III/a  irrational  I,II,M/b,c,d  I,II,RVb,c,d  I,11,M/b,c,d  I,11,11Vb,c,d  Initiation B  Retaliation for A  Retaliation for B  irrational  rational (i)  irrational (11)  irrational (i)  irrational (i)  irrational  irrational  rational? (ii)  rational? (ii)  rational?  rational?  44  Eighth Table (assuming i for A and iii for B) 1,11,11I/a^1,11,1Cl/a^irrational^permissible^rational^permissible 1,11,111/b,c,d^1,11,1LVb,c,d^irrational?^desirable^it atonal?^desirable  Ninth Table (assuming ii for A and iii for B) 1,11,1II/a^1,I1,M/a^irrational^permissible^irrational^permissible 1,11,111/b,c,d^1,11,111/b,c,d^rational?^desirable?^rational?^desirable?  Tenth Table (assuming iii on both sides) 1,11,M/a^1,11,111/a^permissible^permissible^permissible^permissible 1,11,1IVb,c,d^1,11,M/b,c,d^desirable^desirable^desirable^desirable  Explanation of outcomes on tables: Although the above tables do not include all possible combinations of the various items contained in them, they do include a rather large number of combinations, so that filling in any missing combinations would be fairly easy. In any event, the combinations that are considered above represent a good sample of realistic nuclear deterrence situations. The first table is pretty straight-forward. Since both sides A and B are assumed to be moral utilitarian decision makers, and since this table considers full-scale nuclear attacks, it is no wonder that initiating a nuclear attack is irrational for both sides in all cases. For provided that both sides will always attempt to bring about the outcome that will lead to the greatest possible happiness in the world, and given that both sides believe, as has been assumed, that any large-scale 45  nuclear war will make life significantly less worth living for all creatures, they will both prefer not initiating a nuclear war to initiating one, since nuclear war is not the happiness-maximizing outcome. If it should be the case that one side is not a moral utilitarian decision maker, and if it should be the case that the moral side expects the non-moral side to initiate a substantial nuclear attack, then it might be rational for the moral side to initiate a small-scale nuclear attack against the non-moral side, provided that the moral side believes that such a small-scale nuclear attack will be an adequate deterrent for preventing its opponent from using its nuclear weapons. This is, however, a situation that will not be fully considered until later, and does nothing to change the fact that moral utilitarian decision makers will always prefer not initiation a full-scale nuclear attack to initiating one. Similarly, there are several circumstances in which retaliating against a full-scale nuclear attack is seen as irrational by side A and/or side B. The reason for this is that retaliating, like initiating a full-scale attack, is not the happiness-maximizing option. Provided that A or B believes (c) that nuclear war resulting in surrender rather than retaliation would allow life to remain worth living for those creatures that are not attacked, or provided that A or B believes (d) that life would still be worth living for all survivors even after a full-scale nuclear war, it is irrational to retaliate, since retaliation would worsen the lives of the survivors. A different and perhaps surprising result can be seen in situations in which side A and/or side B are moral utilitarians and believe (a) or (b), that any substantial nuclear attack on a fairly large region would make life not worth living for all creatures, or that a full-scale (or obliteration-type) nuclear attack on any country would have the same effect. In situations in which a moral side believes (a) or (b), it is rational for that side to retaliate. 2 Why should this be so? Since A and/or B believes that a nuclear attack will make life not worth living for all creatures, it is rational and moral to retaliate and to use more nuclear weapons, for this will put more creatures out of their misery and will thus lead to less overall suffering. It may be objected that it can only be rational for A to retaliate against a full-scale nuclear attack if A believes that the main effect of retaliating would be to bring about the death of miserable creatures. If A believed, instead, that 2 I was first made aware of this idea by Dr. R.I. Sikora.  46  retaliating would cause more suffering but would not relieve very m an y creatures of their miserable lives, it would not be utility maximizing, and hence rational, for A to retaliate. Clearly this objection is essentially an empirical matter, and cannot be conclusively settled without providing empirical support. However, we can supply a very plausible response to this objection, a response that relies only on rather obvious empirical claims. Specifically, we may recall that the nuclear attacks that have occurred (on Japan in the Second World War) have killed very many creatures very quickly, especially near the location of the explosions. Provided that A has nuclear weapons that are at least as destructive as those that have already been used, and provided that A knows where to aim them, A will be able to bring about the death of very many miserable creatures by retaliating. If A has relatively innocuous nuclear weapons and doesn't really know where to aim them, retaliating may well cause more suffering than death and will therefore be irrational. It has been assumed in the first tables that this latter state of affairs does not obtain. Finally, there are situations represented by the first table in which retaliation is impossible. This is a reflection of the fact that after a nuclear attack of the "exact first strike" type, serious retaliation is impossible since nearly all of the victim's nuclear weapons are wiped out. It is, of course, likely that some of the victim's weapons will remain, since some of the attacker's weapons will have missed their targets or will have failed to penetrate the hardened silos, but retaliation with the remaining weapons will presumably not be of full-scale proportions. Small-scale retaliation after an exact first strike may, however, be rational for some countries with certain beliefs and preferences. The second table contains a few different results. Given that side A is a moral utilitarian decision maker and side B is a nationalistic utilitarian decision maker, it is still irrational for either side to initiate a full-scale nuclear attack. Since both sides believe that any large-scale nuclear war will make life significantly less worth living for all creatures, and since they try will to bring about the outcome that provides the greatest possible happiness for their countrymen or for all living creatures, initiating a full-scale nuclear war is not an option which they prefer. Everyone would be happier without a nuclear war. Following the same reasoning as above, since only side A is a moral utilitarian decision maker, it is only ever rational for side A to retaliate. If side B is massively attacked and life for its citizens or for all living creatures is no 47  longer worth living, since B prefers the happiness of its own citizens to the happiness of others, B must act in the most efficient way possible to relieve its citizens of their misery. B can best reduce the suffering of its own citizens by releasing its nuclear weapons upon its own territory, thereby quickly ending the lives of many or all of its citizens rather than enduring the gradual death that the additional fallout of retaliating would create. It might be argued, however, that using its nuclear weapons on its own territory would not be politically feasible for B, whereas retaliating would be. But in the situations under discussion, political reputation and popularity no longer matter since the end of the attacked society or of the world is very near. But what if it would be impossible for the political leader of the devastated country to get anyone to release the country's nuclear weapons over its own territory? This question is really quite implausible, since the leader could surely employ irrational persons or non-rational devises to pull the trigger on his own people. Indeed, there have been numerous instances in the past in which persons have been trained to perform terribly irrational and horrible acts. We may therefore reasonably conclude that the above objection fails, so that we may safely say that it is never be rational for a nationalistic utilitarian to retaliate against a massive nuclear attack. The third table is interesting, not because it contains novel results, but because it may well represent a situation which is very similar to the status quo. In particular, it represents a situation in which both sides are rational, but not rational to the extent of being moral utilitarians. This is the sort of situation which was discussed in Chapter one. Let us take a look at the results contained in this table. The results of the third table show that it is never rational for either side to initiate a nuclear war or to retaliate against a massive nuclear attack and that consequently, many of the nuclear deterrence policies currently or formerly pursued by the superpowers are irrational. Given that both sides hold the very plausible belief that large-scale nuclear war will make life significantly less worth living for all creatures, it is easy to see why they would prefer not initiating such a war to initiating one. Similarly, and following the same reasoning as above, since both sides prefer less nuclear devastation to more, in that for every increase in devastation, there is a smaller chance that their own countrymen will be able to live lives that are worth living, both sides will prefer not retaliating 48  against a full-scale nuclear attack. If A has been massively attacked by B, A will surely not wish to worsen its already terrible situation by increasing global nuclear devastation, for doing so will only make it more difficult for the survivors of the attack against A to find refuge in some inhabitable part of the world. It might be argued that retaliating against B would provide the survivors of the attack against A with the satisfaction and happiness of giving B what B deserves. This argument will not work, however, since we are assuming that A is rational in that A always acts in order to maximize the happiness of its citizens and in order to avoid unnecessary harm to others. In any situation in which there are a good number of survivors who have a chance of living lives that are worth living, it will surely maximize happiness to give those survivors that chance rather than to give the dying victims of the attack the temporary pleasure of retaliating. But what about situations in which any survivors in A can expect to live very short and miserable lives? Wouldn't it be rational for them to give themselves the satisfaction of retaliating? Whereas an affirmative answer could be given to this question, anyone who did so would have to have a very low opinion of the survivors of the attack against A. For in order to hold that it would be rational, from their perspective, to retaliate since doing so would give them satisfaction, they would have to give no regard to the happiness of other people. For whereas it may be true that retaliating would give the survivors some satisfaction, it would also bring about the death of millions of persons. Moreover, as we saw in the Introduction, since only a few of the citizens of B can be expected to have been involved in the attack against A, only few would "deserve" to be killed. Yet retaliating against B would kill millions of persons who surely do not deserve to be killed, so that giving a few persons what they deserve by retaliating would at the same time be causing harm to many persons who do not deserve it. As we saw in Chapter One, it has been argued, 3 that since threatening to retaliate against a massive nuclear attack is likely to act as an adequate deterrent against initiations of nuclear war, and since, in order to be credible, a threat to retaliate must be sincere, it is rational to form the intention to retaliate and to retaliate after nuclear war has been initiated. Since we have already discussed this argument at length, we need not go into it now. Clearly, if it had 3 Notably by David Gauthier in his Deterrence, Maximization, and Rationality.  49  succeeded, retaliation could be rational in the sort of situation which is represented by the third table. Although it is never straight-forwardly rational for either side to initiate a nuclear war since any large-scale nuclear war will make life less worth living for all creatures, there is some doubt as to whether it is always irrational for either side to initiate such a war when both sides possess exact first strike capability and neither side believes that any fairly large-scale nuclear attack will make life intolerable for all creatures. This doubt is brought about by the fact that serious retaliation is not possible for either side in this situation, so that threats of retaliation cannot be credible. As a consequence of this fact, neither side can expect its nuclear weapons to deter the other side from attacking its territory. Because deterrence does not work in this situation, it is very difficult for either side to know what the other side will do. If A expects that B will initiate a nuclear attack against A, it will be better for A to initiate such a war against B before B does, provided that A does not believe that any full-scale war will make life intolerable for everyone, including the citizens of A. But if A does not expect that B will initiate an attack against A, it will be better for A not to initiate one either. Similarly, if B expects A to initiate a nuclear attack against B, B should do so before A does, and otherwise not. Although both sides undoubtedly prefer no nuclear war to initiating a nuclear war, since neither side can be sure that the other side will not initiate such a war, as soon as either side has reason to suspect the other side of planning a nuclear first strike, it may be rational for the suspicious side to initiate a first strike, for it may be more rational to go with a higher probability of a lesser evil than with a lower probability of a much greater evil. In other words, it may be rational for A to initiate a first strike against B even if A is quite sure that such a massive nuclear attack will make life less worth living for everyone, rather than take the chance that B will initiate a first strike against A, which would make life intolerable for the citizens of A. Although initiating a first strike may be an option that is never chosen by either side, there is a good chance that it will be chosen. In any case, any situation in which both sides possess exact first strike capability will be extremely unstable. For this reason we will dedicate a chapter to a fuller discussion of such scenarios. It might be argued that, if it may be rational to initiate an exact first strike provided that one side suspects the other of planning such an attack, then it may also be rational to initiate a massive attack in that situation. The two cases are not parallel, however, since after an exact first strike serious retaliation is not 50  possible, whereas after a massive attack retaliation is still possible. So if A suspects B of planning a massive attack against A, it is irrational for A to initiate a preemptive massive attack since such an attack will not make it any less possible for B to carry out its plan to attack A. In contrast, a preemptive exact first strike can be rational since it will prevent the attacked side from launching a nuclear attack since all or nearly all of its weapons will be destroyed. Since massive attacks do not eliminate enemy weapons, initiating a preemptive massive attack can be rational for A only if A somehow knows that it will prevent B from initiating the attack which B has been planning. In any case, given the fact that a massive attack does not rule out retaliation, and given the fact that such an attack is bound to make life considerably less worth living for everyone, it is irrational for B even to plan to launch such an attack against A since A is rational. But the above objection should be reconsidered in our discussion of cases in which B is irrational. The fourth table assumes that side B is irrational, fanatic, or ignorant. The result of this assumption is that initiating a nuclear attack, as well as retaliating against such an attack, is permissible or desirable from B's point of view. To say that initiating a full-scale nuclear attack or retaliating against one is "permissible" for side B is to say that there is nothing hindering B from engaging in nuclear war except, perhaps, the belief that "the time is not quite right" to do so. This means that B cannot be counted on to refrain from engaging in nuclear war. To say that initiating a full-scale nuclear attack or retaliating against one is "desirable?" is to say that such an attack or act of retaliation may well be both permissible and desirable, but may not be entirely desirable, given the belief that nuclear war might well result in a miserable state of affairs. A situation in which initiating or retaliating against an act of nuclear war is "desirable?" should be seen as a situation in which the political/military/religious leader(s) have to decide between maintaining a tolerable state of affairs and expressing themselves racially, religiously, territorially, and/or politically. Probably the more fanatic or irrational they are, the more they will tend to conclude that nuclear war is indeed desirable. Finally, to say that initiating a full-scale nuclear attack is "desirable" for B is to say that B prefers initiating such an attack, and can be expected to do so in the very near future. 51  We can see in the fourth table that initiating or retaliating against a fullscale nuclear attack is only permissible, rather than desirable, for B whenever B believes that a nuclear attack or act of retaliation is likely to make life no longer worth living for all creatures. Clearly, this belief of B's will tend to make B less inclined to initiate an act of nuclear war, although B may still consider such an initiation to be desirable. However, it seems likely that only extremely irrational, fanatic, or ignorant leaders would consider engaging in full-scale nuclear war to be desirable even though they believe that doing so will make life no longer worth living for everyone. But nuclear war is "desirable?" (i.e. desirable given certain beliefs and certain preferences) for B whenever B believes that, if A retaliates, conditions could be made considerably worse for B's citizens. However, if B is certain that A is a moral utilitarian, B will know that A will not retaliate, in which case initiating or retaliating against a full-scale nuclear war may be not only "desirable?," but straight-forwardly "desirable" for B. In any case, initiating or retaliating against a full-scale nuclear war is desirable for B whenever B knows that retaliation would be impossible for A. The fifth table assumes that side A is a nationalistic utilitarian and that side B is irrational, fanatic, or ignorant. The main difference between the results of this table and the results of the last table is that initiating a full-scale nuclear war is not always irrational for A. Although initiating such a war is still irrational for A whenever A believes that full-scale nuclear war is likely to make life no longer worth living for all creatures, at other times it is "rational?" or even "rational." Of these two alternatives, the former refers to situations in which A does not believe that a full-scale nuclear attack on B will make life intolerable in its own territory, but does believe that B will retaliate. In such situations it will be rational for A to initiate a full-scale attack against B whenever A expects that B will otherwise initiate such an attack against A, and/or whenever A believes that B's retaliating against A will not be too terrible for A. On the other hand, in such situations it may not be rational for A to initiate a full-scale attack against B if A does not expect B to initiate such an attack if A doesn't and/or if A expects B's retaliating against A to make life terrible for the citizens of A. Initiating a full-scale nuclear attack against B is undoubtedly rational for A whenever A knows that B could not retaliate against such an attack. This will be the case when A possesses exact destructive capability. 52  The sixth table assumes that both sides are irrational, fanatic, or ignorant. The frightening thing about the situation represented by this table is that initiating a full-scale nuclear attack is permissible or desirable in all cases and for both sides. Retaliation is similarly permissible or desirable whenever it is possible. In fact, when both sides are irrational, fanatic, or ignorant the only case in which there is a reasonably good probability that no full-scale nuclear war will occur is the case in which both sides believe that such a war will make life no longer worth living for all creatures. When A has this belief but B doesn't, it is relatively unlikely that A will initiate or retaliate against a full-scale nuclear attack, but it is not so unlikely that B will do so. When neither A nor B believes that full-scale nuclear war will make life intolerable for everyone, the probability that either or both sides will initiate such a war is extremely high, for in that case each side will not only be very likely to wish to achieve racial, religious, territorial, or political dominion, but will also be afraid that the other will try to do so. Hence this is probably the least stable of all possible cases. Let us now turn our attention to the tables in which small-scale or limited initiations of nuclear war or acts or retaliation are considered. The seventh table assumes that both sides are moral utilitarians or nationalistic utilitarians. In either case, whenever A and/or B believe that (a) a substantial nuclear attack on any fairly large region would make life not worth living for all creatures, A and/or B will consider initiating a small-scale nuclear attack to be irrational (with the possible exception of an extremely small-scale attack, such as that on Hiroshima). Retaliation against such an attack will also be irrational for a nationalistic utilitarian side, although, for the same reason as before, it will be rational for a moral utilitarian side. In cases in which either or both sides are moral utilitarians but do not believe that any nuclear war will make life not worth living for all creatures, either or both will consider initiating or retaliating against a small-scale nuclear attack to be irrational. In cases in which either or both sides are nationalistic utilitarians, however, either or both may consider initiating or retaliating against a small-scale nuclear attack to be rational. Initiating a nuclear attack will be rational for A, for example, whenever A believes that B is likely to initiate a nuclear attack against A just in case A does not first initiate an attack against B, or whenever A believes that a fairly innocuous nuclear attack against B will 53  cause B to surrender. Retaliation may be rational for A whenever retaliation is considered to be an adequate deterrent against future attacks. The eighth table assumes that A is a moral utilitarian and that B is irrational, fanatic, or ignorant. In this situation, whenever A believes (a) that any substantial attack on a fairly large region will make life no longer worth living for all creatures, A will consider initiating a small-scale nuclear attack to be irrational, and will consider retaliating against such an attack to be rational. If B has the same belief, B will consider initiating a small-scale nuclear attack, or retaliating against one, to be permissible. That is, B will initiate or retaliate against a small-scale nuclear attack whenever it considers racial, religious, territorial, or political domination to be achievable and worth enough to endure an intolerable life for everyone. In case neither A nor B believe that a nuclear war will make life no longer worth living for everyone, A considers initiating or retaliating against a smallscale nuclear attack to be "irrational?" For a moral utilitarian such as A initiating any nuclear attack is irrational in most cases. The only exception occurs when A believes that initiating a small-scale nuclear attack now will prevent a largerscale nuclear attack from being initiated later. An example of this sort of case occurs when A knows that B is developing a substantial nuclear weapons programme which it wishes to make use of in the future and which can most efficiently be wiped out with a small-scale nuclear attack. Retaliation against a small-scale nuclear attack is rational for A only when A believe that retaliating will be an adequate deterrent against future attacks. In the same case, however, B considers initiating or retaliating against a small-scale nuclear attack to be desirable since doing so will cause harm to A. The ninth table assumes that A is a nationalistic utilitarian and that B is irrational, fanatic, or ignorant. This table may well represent a realistic situation, either at present or in the future. In any case, it shows that initiating or retaliating against a small-scale act of nuclear war is irrational for A, and permissible for B, only when A or B believe that a nuclear attack on any fairly large (although limited) area is likely to make life no longer worth living for all creatures. In all other cases, initiating or retaliating against a limited nuclear attack is "rational?" for A, and "desirable?" for B. The reasoning behind these ascriptions is as follows: initiating a limited nuclear attack may be rational for A 54  if A believes that such an attack will prevent B from attacking A or that such an attack, assuming that it is relatively innocuous, will cause B to surrender without causing widespread suffering. Retaliating against a limited nuclear attack is rational for A if A believes that such an act of retaliation will deter B from using nuclear weapons against A in the future. On the other hand, initiating or retaliating against a limited nuclear attack is desirable for B if B believes that doing so is B's moral, religious, racial or patriotic duty. The tenth and last table assumes that both sides are irrational, fanatic, or ignorant. In case either or both sides believe (a) that a substantial nuclear attack on any fairly large region will make life intolerable for everyone, either or both sides will consider initiating or retaliating against a small-scale nuclear attack to be permissible. Whenever belief (a) is absent, however, initiating or retaliating against a small-scale nuclear attack will be preferred.  55  Chapter Three  Confronting an Irrational Opponent The rationality tables in the second chapter showed us that it may be rational to initiate a nuclear attack against an irrational opponent in situations in which it would be irrational to attack a rational opponent. Specifically, we saw that when A is a nationalistic utilitarian and B is irrational, fanatic, or ignorant, it may be rational for A to initiate a full-scale nuclear attack on B so long as A does not believe (a) or (b) that such an attack is likely to make life no longer worth living for all creatures. Initiating an attack is certainly rational for A when, in addition, A knows that B does not believe (a) or (b), or when A and B have exact first strike (or nearly exact first strike) capability. The purpose of this chapter is to discuss the reason why it is sometimes rational to initiate a full-scale nuclear attack against an irrational opponent when it would not be rational to initiate such an attack against a rational opponent. We will examine several examples in order to discover this reason. Subsequently we will discuss whether or not it is reasonable to suppose that there should ever actually be irrational persons in charge of large-scale nuclear armament. We will find that it is sensible to act on the assumption that such persons will exist. Finally, we will conclude from the analysis of this chapter that it is quite likely that large-scale nuclear war will occur. Clearly, nuclear strategy situations in which one side is irrational are different from the sort of situation that Gauthier discusses, since he assumes that both sides are rational and informed. This should not lead us to conclude, however, that the real world will always involve only rational actors, for actual or potential nuclear arms equipped countries may well be unreasonably patriotic, fanatically racial or religious, or simply mistaken about the probable outcomes of nuclear war. Whereas this may be more likely to occur in regions such as the middle east, where fundamentalist religion and fanatic dictators reign, it could also occur within a superpower such as Russia or the United States. Hence we will discuss scenarios involving large-scale nuclear weapons under irrational 56  control in this chapter. Scenarios involving limited nuclear arsenals will be considered in a separate chapter. Before we begin our inquiry let us note that whereas one superpower, A, may not have exact first strike capability against another superpower, B, A or B may have exact first strike capability against smaller nuclear powers. As an example, A may not be able to wipe out more than 70% of B's 1000 weapons, yet be easily able to destroy 100% of C's 200 weapons or D's 3 weapons. However, since we are dealing with large-scale nuclear exchanges in this chapter, we need not concern ourselves with situations involving very limited arsenals. What we should have in mind, instead, are situations involving two superpowers, one of which is irrationally controlled. At the outset, let us consider why, in certain situations, it would be rational for A to initiate a full-scale nuclear attack against B if B is irrational, but not if B is rational. Taking a quick look at the tables, we can see on the fifth table that, when A is a nationalistic utilitarian and B is irrational, it is rational for A to initiate an attack against B whenever A does not believe (a) or (b) and whenever A possesses at least as much destructive capability as B. In particular, it is clearly rational for A to initiate an attack against B when A has exact (or nearly exact) capability and B has massive capability, as well as when both sides have exact (or nearly exact) capability, given that A and B do not believe (a) or (b). At the same time, it may be rational for A to initiate an attack on B when A has massive capability and does not believe (a) or (b) and B has the same capability but does believe (a) or (b). Finally, it may be rational for A to initiate an attack against B when A has massive capability and does not believe (a) or (b) and B has exact or nearly exact capability and does not believe (a) or (b). It could be argued that, where large nuclear arsenals are concerned, no superpower will ever have exact first strike capability for to wipe out 100% of another superpower's weapons is impossible. As we will see in the next chapter, however, even being able to destroy somewhat less than 100% of the enemy's weapons makes nuclear war rational in situations in which it is not rational with only massive destructive capability. Given that this view will be justified later on, we will assume, for now, that a superpower does not need to be able to wipe out all of another superpower's nuclear weapons in order to 57  have something very similar to exact first strike capability against that superpower. It may also be objected that it is only rational for A to initiate a full-scale nuclear attack against B if A judges it to be very likely that B will use its nuclear weapons against A. This objection brings out a point that needs to be stated explicitly: we are assuming that the irrational side, in this case B, does not only believe that using its nuclear weapons would be permissible or desirable, but is also quite likely to intend to act on that belief sooner or later. That is, we are assuming that B is not too indifferent, lethargic, or pacifistic to actually use them, but sees using them as a way of achieving some goal which it wishes to achieve. Clearly, if A knows that B would not actually use its weapons even though B sees it as permissible or desirable to use them, then it is probably not rational for A to initiate a full-scale nuclear attack against B in the several situations described above. However, since this scenario does not seem very realistic, we will stick with the assumption that B is quite likely to use is nuclear arsenals in order to achieve some sort of conquest which it considers to be achievable in that way. But our objector might insist that, whereas situations in which the irrational side is very unlikely to use its nuclear weapons even though it believes that it is advantageous to use them may well be unrealistic, situations in which there is a significant though not very high chance, such as 10%, that the irrational side will use its nuclear weapons are not unrealistic. In fact, such situations may well be at least as realistic as situations in which there is a very high chance, such as 99%, that the irrational side will initiate a nuclear attack. Admitting the realism of this scenario does not, however, require us to add any special discussion to the present inquiry. For it is clear that even if there is only a 10% chance that the irrational country will use its nuclear weapons within the next year, provided that its attitude towards the use of these weapons does not change, there is a much higher chance that it will use them within the next ten years. What this means for the rational opponent, A, of the irrational country, B, is that A should expect B to use its nuclear weapons within the next several years. The situation is rather like flipping a coin: whereas there is a 50% chance of it landing heads up if I flip it once, there is obviously a much higher chance of it landing heads up (at least once) if I flip it ten or twenty times. Thus the assumption that B will use its nuclear weapons sooner or later, even if B is not particularly fanatical about using them, is rather plausible. 58  It may be suggested that if there is only a 10% chance that B will ever launch a nuclear attack against A, then A need not expect such an attack. However, for there to be a 10% chance that B will use its nuclear weapons against A in the next one hundred years, there must be a much smaller chance, namely .1%, that B will use its weapons against A during any particular year. Given that we are assuming that B believes that using its nuclear weapons would be advantageous, it is not realistic to suggest that there is only an extremely small chance that B will use its nuclear weapons in any particular year. It is much more realistic to assume that B will use its nuclear weapons in the foreseeable future in order to gain the advantage that it believes it can gain by doing so. Having accepted this very plausible assumption, we should now contrast the above described situations to the ones found in the third table, where both A and B are nationalistic utilitarians. In that case it is irrational for A to initiate a full-scale attack on B when A has exact capability, B has massive capability, and neither believe (a) or (b). Similarly, it is almost certainly irrational (irrational?) for A to initiate an attack against B when both have exact capability and neither believe (a) or (b). And most certainly it is irrational for A to initiate an attack on B when both have massive capability, or when A has massive capability and B has exact capability. Clearly, these cases differ significantly from the cases in which one side is irrational, fanatic, or ignorant. We may now try to discover why this difference exists. Let us analyze the comparable sets of cases which we have outlined above: turning first to the case in which A has exact capability, B has massive capability, and neither believes (a) or (b), we may see why it is rational for A to initiate a nuclear attack against B. For B can be expected to use its nuclear weapons against A in order to achieve some religious, racial, or nationalistic conquest, and A is able to eliminate the possibility of B using its nuclear weapons against A by initiating an exact first strike against B. Even if A believes, as is reasonable to assume, that any large-scale nuclear attack is likely to make life less worth living for all creatures, including A's own citizens, it is better for A to endure the suffering caused by the fallout of an attack on B than to risk being attacked by B. It may be objected that in deciding whether or not to initiate an exact first strike against B, A must not only consider the fact that such an attack will make 59  life significantly less worth living for all creatures, but must also take other countries' reaction to such a strike into account. In particular, A must consider whether other countries will look down upon A for initiating nuclear war, or whether other countries will launch nuclear or conventional attacks against A for the same reason. But since A is afraid of being the victim a large-scale nuclear attack, that is, since A is afraid of being more or less obliterated, A's reputation can hardly be a major concern to A in deciding whether or not to defend itself against B's planned attack against A. And if A suspects that other lesser nuclear or conventional powers will attack A after A has attacked B, then A may have to eliminate the possibility of such an attack against A by damaging the lesser powers' military capability. Since A is concerned primarily with the the happiness of its own citizens, and since a large-scale nuclear attack against A would bring about terrible suffering and death for those citizens, A may well consider itself to be justified in eliminating other powers' military capability, even if doing so will bring about the death of many other people. Therefore, so long as A finds it to be sufficiently probable that B will attack A, it is rational for A to wipe out B's weapons by attacking B with an exact first strike. In any case, since A will definitely be harmed by initiating a nuclear attack against B, in deciding whether initiating or refraining from initiating an exact first strike is preferable, A must calculate whether the probability of being attacked multiplied by the utility (or disutility) of being attacked is higher or lower than the utility (or disutility) of attacking multiplied by certainty. It is rational to choose the option that has the bigger product. In cases in which B is irrational, A is likely at some time to attack B rather than refraining from doing so since the latter option is likely to entail a high risk for A of being attacked by B. The situation is different when both A and B are nationalistic utilitarians. Assuming again that A has exact capability, B has massive capability, and neither believe (a) or (b), it is not rational for A to initiate a nuclear attack against B, for if both A and B believe that any large-scale nuclear attack will make life significantly less worth living for all creatures (including their own), and if both sides know that the other side prefers to maximize the happiness of their countrymen, neither will prefer to initiate a large-scale attack. Irrespective of the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of threats of retaliation, if both sides seek to maximize the happiness of their countrymen and both believe that any largescale nuclear attack will make life significantly less worth living for all creatures, 60  the expected effects of a large-scale nuclear attack will be an adequate deterrent against either side initiating one. Comparing the above two cases, we can see that the essential difference between the situations they depict is that in the second case both sides prefer acting in order to maximize the survival and happiness of their countrymen, whereas in the first case one side does not have this preference and so cannot be expected to refrain from engaging in nuclear war. The same can be seen in other cases. When A is a nationalistic utilitarian, B is irrational, both have exact first strike capability and neither believe (a) or (b), it is clearly rational for A to initiate a first strike against B, and to do so as soon as possible. For in a world in which there can only be exact first strikes and in which one's opponent is irrational (and is assumed not to be too indifferent, lethargic, or pacifistic to use his nuclear weapons), one should expect that one's opponent will exercise his capability. Since serious retaliation is not possible after an exact first strike, B need not fear retaliation after attacking A. What's more, by attacking A, B eliminates the possibility of A attacking B. So clearly, an irrational country such as B -- which seeks religious, racial, or nationalistic dominion and sees nuclear war as a means to that goal -- will prefer initiating a first strike against A to enduring a very high probability of being attacked by A. Hence B can be expected to initiate a first strike. Since A prefers initiating a first strike against B to being attacked by B, and since A knows that B can be expected to initiate a first strike as soon as possible, it is rational for A to initiate a preemptive first strike. Hence both A and B prefer initiating a first strike as soon as possible. It may again be objected that it is only rational for A to launch a preemptive attack against B if A believes it to be quite likely that B intends to use its nuclear weapons against A. However,it is even less likely in this case than in the last that B does not intend to use its nuclear weapons against A. For in deciding whether or not to use them, B must choose between a very great probability of achieving some desirable goal and a somewhat smaller probability of being attacked by A. Given this choice, B will obviously choose the first option. In the present case, as in the last, the situation is rather different when both A and B are nationalistic utilitarians and rational. For in this case, it is not clearly rational for either side to initiate an exact first strike against its opponent, 61  although it may seem rational. As in any case in which both sides have exact first strike capability, retaliation is not possible, so that threats of retaliation are not credible and are therefore ineffective as deterrents. Still, there are factors weighing strongly in favour of peace, namely the fact that both sides are rational and prefer acting in the way that will maximize the happiness of their citizens, together with the fact that both sides believe that any nuclear war of fairly large proportions will make life significantly less worth living for all creatures. These facts give A and B a propensity to avoid initiating a first strike, and bring about a much more stable situation than obtains when B is irrational. Nonetheless, a first strike may seem rational for A (or B) if A (or B) believes that B (or A) is likely to initiate a first strike, for both A and B by far prefer initiating a nuclear attack to being attacked by their opponent, so that A (or B) may prefer acting in a way which is very likely to bring about a somewhat worse situation for A (or B) to acting in a way which is less likely to bring about a terrible situation for A (or B). In other words, either or both sides may prefer initiating a first strike to standing the chance of the other side doing so first. So nuclear war is by no means ruled out in this situation, although it is far less likely to occur than when B is irrational. There are other cases in which initiating a nuclear attack may be rational for A if B is irrational, and in which it is clearly irrational for A if B is rational. This is so when both A and B have massive destructive capability, but A does not believe that any nuclear attack on a fairly large region will make life no longer worth living for all creatures, whereas B does hold this belief. Given that B is irrational, initiating a nuclear attack is permissible for B despite the fact that B believes that doing so will make life no longer worth living for everyone. As was mentioned earlier, to say that an act is permissible for B is to say that there is nothing hindering B from performing the act except, perhaps, the belief that "the time is not quite right" to do so. In any case, B may be expected to initiate a nuclear attack at some time in the future since B considers religious, racial, or nationalistic dominion to be more important than survival or happiness, and may believe that attacking A is a way of achieving such dominion. If B feels very strongly about securing dominion, B will be very likely to initiate nuclear war before long. If B is less fanatic about dominion, B will be less likely to initiate nuclear war. Since initiating a nuclear attack is permissible for B, the same may be rational for A. This is so because A does not believe that any nuclear attack on 62  a fairly large region will make life no longer worth living for all creatures, and because A may believe that it is more rational to bring about a situation that is very likely to make life somewhat less worth living for A's citizens than to stand the chance of suffering a situation in which the lives of A's citizens are certain to be ended or to be made intolerable. But since A will definitely be harmed by initiating a nuclear attack against B, in deciding whether initiating or refraining from initiating an exact first strike is preferable, A must calculate whether the probability of being attacked multiplied by the utility (or disutility) of being attacked is higher or lower than the utility (or disutility) of attacking multiplied by certainty. It is rational to choose the option that has the bigger product. So nuclear war may well occur in this situation since the likelihood of B attacking A is fairly high since B prefers dominion to happiness. This is certainly not the case when A and B are rational. In that case nuclear war is very unlikely to occur since both sides wish to maximize the happiness of their own citizens and believe that any nuclear attack on a fairly large region will make life less worth living for them. The result of this preference and this belief is that A and B have a propensity to avoid initiating a nuclear attack. Since each side knows the other side's preferences and beliefs, each side knows that the other side can be expected to avoid initiating a nuclear attack, so that neither side need attack the other side first. This situation is clearly quite stable, and is unlikely to lead to nuclear war. Thus far we have seen several cases in which it is or may be rational for A to initiate a nuclear attack against B if B is irrational, but not if B is rational. We should see from these cases that the likelihood of nuclear war occurring depends heavily on the preferences of the controllers of the nuclear equipped countries. In situations in which both or all nuclear equipped countries are moral utilitarians, nuclear war is very unlikely to occur since both or all prefer to maximize the survival and happiness of all living creatures to any other goal. When one or more countries is a nationalistic utilitarian, nuclear war is more likely to occur since that country or those countries prefer the happiness of their own countrymen to other creature's happiness. When one or more countries is irrational, fanatic, or ignorant nuclear war is quite likely to occur since that country or those countries prefer some form of dominion to survival and happiness.  63  Someone might object, that although it is clearly true that an irrational leader who values neither the happiness nor the survival of his countrymen is much more likely to initiate nuclear war than is a rational leader, the same is not true of a irrational leader who values survival but not happiness. For if such a leader knows that if he initiates a nuclear attack then his opponent will retaliate with nuclear weapons, he will not initiate an attack since retaliation would jeopardize the survival of his countrymen. Whereas it is certainly true that such a leader can be more easily deterred from initiating a nuclear war and is therefore less likely to do so than a leader who values neither happiness nor survival, he is nonetheless probably more likely to initiate a nuclear war than a leader who wishes to maximize survival and happiness. We might say that a leader who values one and not the other of these goals is irrational, but not as irrational as a leader who values neither. But since both a leader's level of rationality and his propensity to initiate nuclear war are matters of degree rather than phenomena of completely dissimilar sorts, we need not consider leaders who value survival but not happiness as well as leaders who value neither. For whatever can be said about the latter sort of leader can also be said about the former sort, but only to a lesser degree, or with less certainty. Since nuclear war is highly undesirable, the above analysis may well lead us to affirm that only utilitarian decision making, that sees happiness as the ultimate goal of nuclear policy, is rational in nuclear strategy situations. This postulation may, however, seem illegitimate: if we define rationality in terms of utilitarianism, we must not later place real significance on this definition, as if it were a real discovery. What's more, it isn't the case that military controllers who aim at religious, racial, or nationalistic dominion at the expense of everyone's happiness must be irrational. Behind this objection may be the idea that what we ultimately value, as an intrinsic good, is not happiness, or not only happiness. In contrast, it has often been claimed by deontologists that what we ultimately value is autonomy. But as has effectively been argued, the sort of autonomy that deontologists are interested in seems to be logically impossible, for if our actions are caused we are determined and not autonomous (in their sense), and if our actions are uncaused they are not caused by our selves, but rather "happen" to us, which is 64  also not autonomy. So it would seem that the deontological theory of autonomy does not warrant further consideration. But what about the idea that what we ultimately aim at is not maximizing happiness but rather being good or doing the right thing according to objective truths? Should this idea lead us to question the supreme importance of utilitarian considerations in nuclear strategy issues? There is a serious problem with the deontological conception of "good" and "right." For the idea that some actions are good or right irrespective or independent of their consequences requires the presence of discernible objective ethical qualities. Given that these qualities are discernible and objective, one would expect there to be widespread agreement about them. In reality, however, deontologists have been unable to find an uncontroversial and discernible objective ethical truth. What's more, there is serious disagreement about ethical matters between and even within various cultures(Strawson). And as David Hume made rather clear (Treatise III, I, i), there seem to be serious logical problems involved in trying to glean normativity from objective facts. These considerations may lead us to abandon deontological theories and to stick with utilitarian analysis. Alternatively, we may want to grant that the deontologists have not been completely refuted while asserting the real importance of utilitarian considerations in human affairs, and especially in nuclear strategy matters. This compromise position, which involve holding that there are objective ethical truths which are not absolute and can therefore be overridden by consequentialist reasons, is one that is supported by a number of sane-minded deontologists. According to this point of view, nuclear deterrence may be prima facie wrong because it involves forming the conditional intention to use nuclear weapons in retaliation against a nuclear attack. But nuclear deterrence may also be morally justifiable, even if it is prima facie wrong, provided that it ensures that nuclear weapons will not actually be used. Thus the good consequences of nuclear deterrence can override the prima facie wrongness of intending to use nuclear weapons, an intention which nuclear deterrence entails. 4 Even if this compromise position is defensible, it is clear that consequentialist or utilitarian reasons are of supreme importance in nuclear 4 For an analysis of absolute and non-absolute deontological theories in the context of nuclear deterrence policies, see Jeff McMahan's Deterrence and  Deontology.  65  strategy situations, for deontological theories which do not allow consequences to override questions of right and wrong are implausible. If the taking of millions of lives can be prevented only by forming an intention to do something which in itself would be wrong to do, then it is crazy to maintain that that intention should nevertheless not be formed. This might lead us to adopt a straightforward utilitarian theory for the remainder of our analysis. This point of view is supported by Douglas P. Lackey, who argues in "Missiles and Morals: a Utilitarian Look at Nuclear Deterrence," that expected consequences are the only consideration that may rationally override all other considerations in nuclear strategy situations. He states that, "[l]n normal circumstances one may well have one's doubts about utilitarianism [including the idea that it is moral to act in the way that will maximize happiness], but if nuclear war is among the results of policies under consideration, the gravity of the consequences carries all else before"(Lackey, 192). Unfortunately adopting a utilitarian or consequentialist approach cannot be simple, for utilitarians are notorious for their inability to agree on what constitutes happiness. Some say that happiness is purely pleasure and enjoyment, others say that happiness includes knowledge, esthetic experience, mystical experience, romantic love etc.. How are we to reconcile these conflicting theories and intuitions? Can we really say that we all value happiness as the sole intrinsic good if we cannot agree on what happiness is? These questions may lead us to doubt utilitarian theories, for it may seem impossible to agree on what we ultimately value. But we needn't be quite so doubtful about utilitarian analysis, for we may surely find considerable agreement on what we value intrinsically. Even if some persons believe that there are other intrinsic goods besides pleasure and enjoyment and the absence of pain, we can surely all agree that pleasure and enjoyment and the absence of pain are very highly (and intrinsically) valued. For it seems that we would all give up some measure of those other goods (such as knowledge or esthetic experience) for a larger measure of pleasure and enjoyment and the absence of pain. Moreover, most of us would consider a life that had considerably more pain than pleasure and enjoyment to be a life not worth living, whereas the same cannot be said for knowledge or some other good. So even if we disagree about whether or not knowledge and these other goods are intrinsically valuable, we all agree that pleasure and enjoyment and the absence of pain is an intrinsic good. 66  Given that we can agree that pleasure and enjoyment are very highly (and intrinsically) valued and that it is rational to value them so, we may conclude that only nuclear policy decisions that take pleasure and enjoyment very seriously are rational. For any single act of nuclear war brings about horrific pain and suffering, so that, from the standpoint of living creatures, a massive loss of pleasure is undoubtedly its main effect. Thus it seems as though the only consideration that can reasonably override all other considerations in nuclear strategy decisions is what move will cause the most pleasure and enjoyment and the least pain, since pleasure and enjoyment or pain are the main effects of nuclear acts (and omissions). This means that it is irrational to allow other considerations, such as what policy leads to greater knowledge or mystical experience, to override the question of which policy brings about the most pleasure and enjoyment and least pain. Similarly, it is irrational to bring about the annihilation of life on Earth for the sake of autonomy or racial self-assertion. It may be objected that those who value other things besides happiness as intrinsic goods would also have very much to lose from a nuclear war and would also try very hard to avoid it. Or it might even be argued that as much or more knowledge and esthetic experience than pleasure and enjoyment would be lost, so we should let effects on knowledge and esthetic experience decide the matter. In response to these objections we may admit that persons who value knowledge, esthetic experience, and pleasure and enjoyment intrinsically could be rational in deciding nuclear strategy questions on the basis of the expected effects on these three goods, rather than simply on the basis of the effects on the last. For it is clear that knowledge and esthetic experience would be greatly effected by nuclear acts (and omissions). But in order for their decisions to be rational, they would still have to place the highest importance on pleasure and enjoyment, for it is clear that all living creatures value pleasure and enjoyment very highly. If their decisions failed to treat pleasure and enjoyment as of primary importance, they would fail to be rational. As an illustration of this point, if a nuclear attack was expected to generate a large body of new knowledge and esthetic inspiration as well as tremendous suffering, it would be irrational to initiate that attack for the sake of the knowledge and esthetic experience that would be gained at the cost of the pleasure and enjoyment that would be lost. Nevertheless, loss of knowledge 67  and esthetic experience could quite rationally constitute additional reasons for not initiating a nuclear attack. Hence we will assert, as we were inclined to do before, that only utilitarian decision making, that considers happiness to be of supreme importance in nuclear policy decisions, is rational in nuclear strategy situations. We have seen above that situations in which one or more nuclear equipped countries is irrational are far more likely to result in nuclear war than are situations in which both or all sides are rational. We may now ask ourselves whether or not it is likely that a country which is controlled by an irrational person or group or persons does or will possess large-scale nuclear capability. Since we will be considering situations involving limited nuclear capability in a separate chapter, we may here ask ourselves the more specific question of whether or not it is likely that an irrational country does or will possess massive or exact nuclear capability. If such capability is very unlikely to fall into the hands of irrational persons then it might be suggested that we need not concern ourselves with these scenarios. I can, however, see no reason why we should reject the possibility that massive or even exact first strike nuclear capability will be controlled by an irrational person or persons. Indeed, in the real world knowledgeable persons have and do fear that large-scale nuclear capacity will be in the hands of irrational persons. A contemporary example is the anxiety that many persons experience about the present and future controllers of former Soviet arsenals. So clearly we would need a strong argument to the effect that large-scale nuclear arms will never fall into the hands of irrational persons in order to accept this view. Without such an argument, contemplating scenarios which involve irrationally controlled arsenals seems worthwhile. We might even go as far as to say that scenarios involving one or more irrational controllers of large-scale nuclear weapons arsenals are eminently realistic. For besides the nuclear weapons that occupy what was once the Soviet Union, we know that China, India, Israel, and several other middle eastern countries have pursued and are pursuing nuclear weapons programmes. The fact that most or all of these countries are in some sense politically unstable should make us particularly uneasy about the rationality of their nuclear strategies. 68  It might be pointed out that of the examples cited, only the former Soviet arsenals are of the massive type or approach exact capability. Although this may be true today, however, there is no saying that other countries will not achieve large-scale capability in the future. The possibility that there is or will be an irrationally controlled large-scale nuclear arsenal is therefore a real one. To sum up the above arguments, let us review their main points: first of all we saw that there are situations in which it is or may be rational for A to initiate a full-scale nuclear attack against B if B is rational, but not if B is irrational. In particular, we saw that when A has exact first strike capability, B has massive capability, and neither believe (a) or (b) (that any nuclear attack on any fairly large region will make life no longer worth living for all creatures), it may be rational for A to initiate a full-scale nuclear attack against B if B is irrational, but not if B is rational. We also saw that when A and B possess exact first strike capability, neither believe (a) or (b), and B is irrational, it is clearly rational for A to initiate a full-scale nuclear attack against B, and to do so as soon as possible. When B is rational, however, it is not at all clear that A should initiate an attack against B. Finally, we saw that when A and B have massive destructive capability, B believes (a) or (b), A does not hold these beliefs, and B is irrational, it may well be rational for A to initiate a full-scale attack against B, unless B is known not to intend to attack A. It is clearly irrational for A to initiate such an attack if B is also rational. We concluded from these examples, of which more could be fashioned, that the presence of a country which is controlled by an irrational person or persons significantly increases the likelihood that nuclear war will occur, and makes it quite possible that such a war will actually occur. Also, we saw that the reason for this fact is that irrational political or military leaders prefer some form of dominion to survival and happiness. Subsequent to this discussion we considered whether or not it is at all realistic to expect a large-scale nuclear equipped and irrationally controlled country to exist, in the present or in the future. We saw that there are countries in the world today that do, or could in the future, fit this model. Specifically, we saw that some of the Soviet Republics possess large-scale nuclear weapons which could quite possibly be used for irrational purposes. Furthermore, we saw that numerous countries in politically unstable regions, such as the middle east, India, and northern Africa do or might in the future possess significant 69  nuclear capability which could quite possibly become large-scale capability. We concluded that situations in which one or more irrational countries possess large-scale nuclear armaments are realistic. Using the two main conclusions that our analysis has led to, we may now construct a simple argument, which should look something like this:  If there is an irrational country with large-scale nuclear capability, then large-scale nudear war is quite likely to occur. There is, or quite possibly might be, an irrational country with large-scale nuclear capability. Large-scale nuclear war is, or quite possibly might be, quite likely to occur.  Although this conclusion does not establish that nuclear war will indeed occur, it does show that it is pretty likely to occur. Even this weaker conclusion is very disturbing.  Works Cited: Lackey, Douglas P.. "Missiles and Morals: A Utilitarian Look at Nuclear Deterrence." Philosophy and Public Affairs 11 (1982): 188-231. Strawson, P. "Ethical Intuitionism." Philosophy (January 1949): 23-33.  70  Chapter Four  Exact First Strike Capability All along we have supposed that we must dedicate part of our enquiry to a discussion of exact first strike capability and the first strike nuclear policies which such capability makes possible. We will now look into whether or not exact first strike capability is a realistic possibility, and if so, whether or not achieving it would really result in the adoption of more offensive nuclear policies. Is nuclear war more likely to occur with exact first strike capability than with other types of technology? In order to obtain a satisfactory answer to this question we will consider Nicholas Measor's arguments in his "Games Theory and the Nuclear Arms Race" to the effect that nuclear war is far more likely to occur given exact first strike capability. We will also consider the arguments in support of the same conclusion which are presented by Douglas P. Lackey in his "Missiles and Morals: A Utilitarian Look at Nuclear Deterrence." We will be led to question Measor's and Lackey's conclusion on certain factual grounds, some of which are presented by Theodore Roszak in "A Just War Analysis of Two Types of Deterrence." However, after analyzing a number of the cases which are represented in the rationality tables, we will end by adopting a view which is largely in line with Measor's and Lackey's. To begin, let us discuss whether or not any actual country can reasonably expect to achieve exact first strike capability. We should recall that such capability obtains when one side is able to wipe out the other side's nuclear weapons to such an extent that retaliation (except perhaps with a hand full of weapons) is not possible. According to Roszak, American nuclear strategists distinguish between two basic types of nuclear strategy, one of which involves exact first strike capability and the other of which involves massive retaliatory capability. Exact first strike capability, which is also referred to as "counterforce deterrence," is something that the United States is seeking to achieve and is "based on a 'first-strike' capacity aimed at the enemy's military bases.... The object is to cripple the enemy's capacity to make war in the event he should 71  attack... an area... but not the United States directly. The weapons this strategy requires, such as the Titan ICBM and the Thor IRBM, can be housed in vulnerable quarters because they are meant to initiate an attack"(Roszak, 73). On the other hand, weapons of the massive destructive type, which are also referred to as "minimum deterrence" weapons, are aimed at the enemy's population centers and must be housed in hardened or elusive missile silos in order to survive a first-strike from the enemy. Their purpose is essentially retaliatory. That the United States seeks to have exact first strike capability, in addition to its already established massive capability, is illustrated by a comment made by Secretary McNamara that: "the United States has come to the conclusion that... basic military strategy in a possible general nuclear war should be approached in much the same way that more conventional military operations have been regarded in the past. That is to say, principle military objectives... should be the destruction of the enemy's military forces, not his civilian population"(75). This comment clearly indicates that the United States is seeking exact first strike capability, since Russian missiles and bombers could be effectively wiped out only by striking first. But the question still remains whether or not such capability is a realistic possibility. Clearly, if the American Secretary of Defense believes that the United States should approach nuclear military strategy much like conventional military strategy, he expects that Americans will achieve, or knows that they have achieved, exact first strike capability. We might be tempted to conclude that if the heads of the American Armed Forces, whom the Secretary of Defense presumably represents, believe that such capability is or will exist in the foreseeable future, then it is a realistic possibility. This simple way with the question may actually be adequate, since irrespective of whether or not either side will ever be able to wipe out nearly all of the enemy's weapons, it is clear that the United States, and probably the Soviet Union, seek to achieve such capability and may now or in the future believe that they have achieved it. And so long as either or both sides believe that they have achieved exact first strike capability, they may initiate a first strike in situations in which they would not do so without that belief. The effect on the likelihood of nuclear war occurring is thus the same whether or not the superpowers actually possess exact first strike capability, so long as they believe that they do. We may therefore conclude 72  that, for all intents and purposes, exact first strike capability is a realistic possibility. This conclusion is also advocated by Measor, who argues that the arms race is now a race to achieve exact first strike capability. Measor considers two arguments which are often raised against this view. It is argued by some strategists that the ever increasing accuracy of nuclear weapons, together with the fact that more and more of such weapons are aimed at enemy launch sites rather than urban centers, does not indicate that the superpowers are moving in the direction of counterforce deterrence. Rather, these facts show that the United States (and perhaps also the Soviet Union) are or have been developing "flexible response" strategies. Measor argues against this view by pointing out that so long as exact first strike capability is achieved, even if current military leaders do not intend to use this capability in order to launch a first strike against their opponent, future leaders may "come to relish and use it"(Measor, 246). Therefore, the increasing accuracy of nuclear weapons together with the fact that many of them are now aimed at enemy launch sites do suggest that exact first strike capability will be achieved in the foreseeable future, and warn that nuclear war will be more likely to occur than it has been. Measor also considers the argument that claims that exact first strike capability is impossible since some nuclear warhead equipped missiles are on mobile ground launchers, aircraft, or submarines. It is alleged that it is not possible to track and hit all of these relatively elusive targets. Measor responds to this claim by maintaining that "[e]ven if the US is not currently trying to develop an effective submarine tracking system (which seems unlikely), and even if the US has not yet realized the possible significance of its counter-force strategy, it is surely only a matter of time before it does realize the significance and pull out all the stops in the attempt to remove the remaining obstacles to a first-strike capacity"(247). Evidently Measor believes that there are no insurmountable technological barriers standing in the way of the superpowers achieving exact first strike capability. Having set aside the two main arguments against the view that exact first strike capability will soon be achieved, Measor argues that such capability is likely to be achieved and will drastically increase the probability of nuclear war occurring. He argues that when one or both sides possess first strike capacity this capability constitutes an incentive to initiate a first strike rather than a deterrent against such initiations. Measor illustrates this claim by considering a 73  matrix which represents the US and the USSR, each of which have the choice either to initiate an exact first strike or not to. The figures in the matrix represent some measurement of utility or desirability of the outcomes to which they are assigned for the side to which they are assigned: USSR Fire^Don't Fire Fire^X^ +10, -250 US Don't Fire -250, +10^0, 0 (page 240).  Although the figures in the matrix are obviously pretty arbitrary, Measor does provide reasons for them. The -250 figure indicates that being the victim of an exact first strike is definitely undesirable since "there is radioactive fall-out to contend with on top of massive immediate loss of life from other causes." The +10 figure indicates that initiating an exact first strike is desirable since it provides the attacking country with political advantage. Whatever advantage there may be in gaining control over a nuclear attacked country, it is clear that it will be desirable to a much smaller extent than the extent to which being attacked is undesirable. The 0 figure represents a situation in which nothing relevant has changed. The top left box is crossed out because retaliation is not possible(240). Measor argues that exact first strike capability is an incentive to initiate a first strike since +10 is better than 0 or -250. Since both sides have similar matrices, both will have this incentive, so both may try to initiate a first strike as soon as possible in order to be the first to do so. For "[s]uppose that I am deliberating about whether to fire at time t. The enemy may or may not fire at t. If he does fire at t my position if I do fire simultaneously is no worse than if I do not fire (-250 in each case). But if he does not fire at t I am much better off if I do fire then. So I should fire -- and as soon as possible, since the probability of his firing during the next ten minutes is greater than the probability of his firing during the next five"(241). 74  Even if an enemy attack is imminent, however, initiating a preemptive strike is not always rational. In particular, if a country's leader knows that the average life in his country is barely worth living and believes that launching an exact first strike will make life no longer worth living in his country, then it is probably irrational, even from a nationalistic perspective, for him to launch an exact first strike. But so long as the countries with exact first strike capability have high standards of living and the effects of an exact first strike are not too severe for the attacker, it is rational for those countries to initiate an exact first strike as soon as possible. Although Measor maintains that the above scenario may well actually occur if both sides achieve first strike capability, he acknowledges that other scenarios are also possible. It could, for instance, happen that one side achieves first strike capability before the other, in which case the side with exact first strike capability may have an incentive to fire, just as before, whereas the side without this capability will have an incentive to submit to the enemy. In order to make this last possibility clear, let us consider Measor's analysis of this sort of case. Measor imagines what would occur if the US achieves exact first strike capability before the SU does. He suggests the following matrix: USSR Fire First^Don't Fire First Fire First^X^+10, -250 US Don't Fire First^-500, -500^0, 0^(page 241).  The X in the top left box is there for the obvious reason that both sides cannot attack first. The 0,0 in the bottom right box indicates that if neither side fires, nothing changes. The -500, -500 in the bottom left box indicates that if the USSR fires first with a massive attack against US cities, the disutility for the US will be extreme. However, since the USSR does not possess exact first strike capability the US can, and presumably will, retaliate. Hence the disutility for the USSR will also be extreme. The +10, -250 in the top right box indicates that if 75  the US fires first the USSR cannot retaliate, so that the US will gain by such an attack. Since the US attack is on the USSR's weapons and industrial facilities, however, the disutility for the USSR will not be as severe as if the US attacks the USSR's cities. If the figures in this matrix are approximately correct, the US will obviously have an incentive to launch an exact first strike since +10 is better than 0 or -500. At the same time, the USSR will obviously have to do something in order to change the situation, even if this means surrendering to the US. But are these figures correct? As we will see shortly, it is very improbable that any country can actually improve its situation (as +10 suggests) by launching an exact first strike. If launching an exact first strike does not improve the situation for the country with exact first strike capability then it is probably irrational for that country to launch an exact first strike if, as the above matrix suggests, the country without exact first strike capability is unlikely to strike first. However, that the country without exact first strike capability will not strike first is not certain, since it presumably considers submitting to the country with such capability to be highly undesirable. Thus the weaker country may launch a first strike against the stronger in a last and desperate attempt to prevent its opponent from invading. In other words, the weaker country may have a "use them or lose them" mentality. In any case, there are so many variables that need to be considered in order to assign realistic values to possible outcomes and realistic probabilities to these outcomes, that it is very hard for either side to know, with any degree of certainty, that it will come out on top in the race to achieve exact first strike capability. As Measor states, "Mhere are so many shortcomings in our ability to foretell the future course of events, so many deficiencies in such matters as intelligence gathering and weather forecasting, that to put a confident figure on the relevant probabilities on the basis of the available information is only marginally more sensible than consulting the entrails of goats"(251). Measor concludes that even if the United States believes that it will come out on top in the arms race and that it will be able to cause the Soviet Union to surrender, since the US cannot know with any degree of certainty that it will be the victor, it is in the US's interest to disarm instead of continuing to try to achieve exact first strike capability against the SU, even if disarming would entail political subjugation to the SU. The effect of Measor's argument is that, given that exact first strike capability may well lead to a terrible state of affairs, it 76  is better to opt for a quite likely lesser evil (viz. political subjugation) that to choose a somewhat less likely but much greater evil (viz. full-scale nuclear war). Clearly, if the US already possessed exact first strike capability against the SU, it might not be rational for the US to disarm. However, since neither side seems to have achieved such capability, Measor does not consider this possibility. In case Measor's arguments are not sufficiently convincing, let us consider Lackey's arguments for the same view. Besides nuclear disarmament, Lackey discusses "superiority" and "equivalence" nuclear strategies. Superiority strategies involve retaining retaliatory capability and trying to achieve first strike capability, whereas equivalence strategies involve only retaliation. Lackey maintains not only that equivalence is rationally and morally preferable to superiority, but also that nuclear disarmament is morally and nationalistically preferable to equivalence. In his argument for nuclear disarmament, Lackey claims that nuclear weapons have not been effective in preventing Soviet expansion and that they have not necessarily contributed to the relative global stability that has existed since 1945. He asks metaphorically: "[Of the threat to use nuclear weapons did not prevent the subversion of Czechoslovakia, the blockade of Berlin, the collapse of Chiang Kai-shek, the fall of Dienbienphu, or the invasion of Hungary, all of which occurred before the Soviet Union could effectively deter an American nuclear strike with nuclear weapons and missiles of its own, how much less effective must nuclear threats have been towards deterring the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 and the invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, and how little effect could such threats have as a deterrent to the much discussed but little expected invasion of West Germany...?"(Lackey, 190). It would seem that the Soviets have not been deterred from spreading communism despite American threats of nuclear attacks. To the same effect, whether or not nuclear weapons are effective at preventing a world war from occurring is debatable, since nuclear war in some ways increases the chances of war occurring while in other ways decreasing those chances. For as Lackey maintains, "it can be argued that every decrease in the chance of a nuclear first strike that results from fear of a retaliatory second strike is matched by an increase in the chance of a nuclear first strike that results from accident or mistake, human or mechanical failure." Lackey goes on 77  to suggest that, contrary to many people's opinion, "there is [actually] little... evidence... that supports the idea that the construction of nuclear weapons for the purpose of issuing nuclear threats has contributed to the prevention of nuclear war since 1945, or will contribute towards preventing them in the future"(191). With this preliminary and inconclusive discussion behind him, Lackey goes on to consider nuclear disarmament policies, and compares them to superiority and equivalence nuclear strategies. Whereas Gregory Kavka holds that equivalence strategies are morally and prudentially preferable to disarmament or superiority strategies, Lackey argues against this view. Kavka maintains that since there are so many things that we do not know about any nuclear deterrence situation, we should not attempt to assess exact probabilities and preferences, but should stick to the information that we really do have, such as which outcome is more and which is less probable. Given such a simple ordering of probabilities we should follow the principle of "Disaster Avoidance," which states that: When choosing between potential disasters under [conditions ofj uncertainty, it is rational to select the alternative that minimizes the probability of disaster occurrence(Lackey, 202).  Kavka claims that this principle applies to situations with certain characteristics, one of which is that all disastrous outcomes are roughly equally bad. Since nuclear deterrence situations allegedly have the relevant characteristics, Kavka concludes that equivalence strategies are the rational choice given that "[w]e can be confident that the likelihood of Soviet domination if the U.S. disarms is greater that the likelihood of war if the U.S. practices deterrence"(203). In arguing against Kavka's analysis, Lackey points out that Kavka's argument requires Kavka to hold that the disasters entailed by Soviet domination and by nuclear attacks and acts of retaliation are roughly equally bad. But clearly this is false, for "[t]he main catastrophe of the Equivalence Strategy is all out nuclear war... [whereas] the main catastrophe of Nuclear Disarmament is a one sided nuclear war"(203). These two disasters are not equally bad, not even roughly so. Consequently, Kavka's argument in support of equivalence strategies is unacceptable. We may wish to observe, at this point, that if it were true that we know as little about nuclear strategy situations as Kavka maintains, then arguments that rely on more detailed knowledge of the various probabilities involved would be -  -  78  illegitimate. We might be led to reject numerous arguments that rely on such knowledge, including Measor's. However, as we saw in the last chapter's argument against Lewis, it is unnecessarily pessimistic to suppose that we have little idea about the possible outcomes of different nuclear policies, for there is much that we do know about the effects of nuclear weapons as well as about the levels of rationality of the leaders of nuclear equipped countries. Lackey concurs with this view, for he claims that we can know more about the probable outcomes of various policies than Kavka allows. Although he acknowledges that in nuclear strategy situations "we cannot supply precise numbers for the probabilities of the outcomes, nor can we attempt to supply precise figures for the corresponding utilities," Lackey maintains that we should attempt to adopt a natural way of dealing with the uncertainties of nuclear strategy situations, namely that we should consider each possible outcome of a particular policy, take the expected probability of each outcome multiplied by the expected utility, sum up the products of the possible outcomes of the policy, and compare this sum to the sums of other policies. However, since our knowledge of the outcomes and utilities of nuclear strategy situations is limited, we should conduct this analysis in terms of approximations. Lackey estimates the probability that superiority, equivalence, and nuclear disarmament will lead to a one sided or all-out nuclear war. "Fifty-fifty" refers to a 50% chance, "Small" refers to a small chance, and "Zero" refers to a 0% chance. Lackey tabulates his approximations as follows (for the purposes of this chapter only the first two columns are given): One-sided All-out TABLE 1^Strike^Nuclear War Superiority^Fifty-fifty [a]^Fifty-fifty [b] Equivalence^Small [e]^Small [f] Nuclear^Small [i]^Zero [j] ^ Disarmament  (page 206)  Lackey defends the "fifty-fifty" assignment in [a] by pointing out that whereas strategists disagree about the likelihood of a first strike occurring if both sides are seeking first strike capability, it is fairly clear that such a strike will be quite likely to occur within a fairly long time span, such as fifty years. For (1) any actual or imagined step towards first strike capability on either side make it 79  more likely that the other side will undertake a preemptive strike; (2) the interest in technological innovation prompted by the search for first strike capability may lead to a technological breakthrough on either side, with a destabilization of the balance of power as the likely result; (3) the increased technological complexity makes firing by mistake or accident more likely; and finally, (4) the constant technological improvements necessitated by the superiority strategy may lead to frequent replacement of weapons, so that obsolete weapons may be readily available on the arms market, which would lead to greater proliferation(207). Lackey defends [b] by suggesting that the chance of an American response to a Soviet first strike is about the same as the chance of a Soviet first strike, for although the American President may not retaliate, the military systems of superiority strategies are geared for "belligerence"(207). The assignment of "small" to [e] is justified by the fact that the pressures for a first strike that exist given superiority strategies do not exist given equivalence strategies. However, the likelihood of a first strike occurring by mistake, accident, or human folly is not negligible. Assigning "small" to [f] is justified by the fact that if the chance of a first strike is small under equivalence, then the chance of an all-out nuclear exchange is even smaller, for the American President may decide not to retaliate for whatever reason, including the fact that retaliating will almost certainly be irrational(208-9). Lackey defends his assignment of "small" to [i] by claiming that if the United States disarms the chances of a Soviet first strike will be small because: (1) with only half as many nuclear weapons in service as when both sides have massive or exact capability, there is only about half the chance of a mechanical failure leading to war; (2) since only one side has nuclear arms the chance of a nuclear war occurring by mistake are smaller than if both have such arms since "[t]he principle mistake that might cause a nuclear war is the mistake of erroneously thinking that the other side is about to launch a nuclear attack"(210); (3) the main peril of nuclear disarmament is what is referred to as "nuclear blackmail," which describes threats more than acts of nuclear war; (4) any country that would use nuclear weapons would suffer serious diplomatic losses since nuclear weapons are considered to be especially terrible; (5) a large scale nuclear attack on North America might contaminate Canadian and American crops on which the Soviets and others are dependent; (6) the Soviets will find it difficult to find situations in which it is practical to use nuclear 80  weapons given the nature of the damage caused by such weapons; otherwise they might have used them against Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Afghanistan, or China(210-12). The assignment of "zero" to [j] is obviously justified since an all-out nuclear exchange is impossible if only one country has nuclear weapons. Lackey concludes from his analysis of TABLE 1 that equivalence is morally and nationalistically preferable to superiority since the former makes first strikes and all-out nuclear wars less likely to occur than does the latter. Similarly, nuclear disarmament is morally and nationalistically preferable to equivalence because nuclear disarmament is even less likely to lead to a first strike or all-out war than is equivalence. Translated into our earlier language, this means that massive destructive capability is morally and rationally preferable to exact first strike capability since the latter is more likely to lead to nuclear war than the former. Similarly, disarmament is morally and rationally preferable to massive destructive capability since the latter is more likely to lead to nuclear war than the former. Hence policies involving massive or exact capability are irrational. Lackey provides further support for this conclusion by considering the main causes of war between two rational countries in situations of equivalence. These causes, namely nuclear attack by accident and nuclear attack by mistake, are equally present in situations of imagined superiority. Where nuclear attacks by accident are concerned, Lackey acknowledges that the chance of such attacks occurring is fairly small, though he disagrees with Defense Department officials who claim that the chance is not only small, but negligible. Lackey argues that the chance is not negligible since accidents which might well have led to nuclear attacks have already occurred. "In 1979 and 1980 alone, there were at least three serious instances of computer failure leading to the conclusion that the United States was being attacked by Soviet missiles.... [What's more,] a report to the Senate Armed Services Committee stated that the nation's [US's] missile-monitoring system produced about 147 false indications of Russian missile attack in the preceding year [1979]"(Lackey, 216-7). If such accidents and false alerts have happened and continue to happen, then the chance of nuclear attacks occurring by accident is by no means negligible. For we cannot count on these accidents being straightened out soon enough to avoid war every time they occur. 81  Nuclear attacks can also happen by mistake. That is to say, leaders of nuclear equipped countries may mistakenly believe that it is in their interest to launch a nuclear attack. (If exact first strike capability is actually achieved it may not be a mistake for them to believe that initiating a nuclear attack is preferable to not initiating one given the risk that both sides face of the other side attacking first.) Lackey lists situations in which a nuclear attack may occur by mistake: (a) American leaders might mistakenly come to believe that they have achieved first-strike capacity against the Soviet Union, and launch a first strike in order to solidify this advantage; or (b) Soviet leaders might mistakenly come to believe that they have obtained first-strike capacity against the United States, and act to solidify this presumed advantage; or (c) American leaders might feel that they are losing second strike capacity, and decide to launch a strike before things get worse; or (d) Soviet leaders might feel that they are losing second-strike capacity, and strike to prevent themselves from losing the nuclear race; or (e) American leaders might mistakenly believe that they are under Soviet attack, and launch American missiles in order to prevent their presumed destruction on the ground. This mistaken belief might arise from mistaken interpretations of terrorist nuclear attack, catastrophes in an American nuclear reactor, etc.; or (f) Soviet leaders might make the same mistake and take the same action(217-8).  These hypothetical situations seem realistic enough in order to cause us to be worried that they might actually occur. Still, many intelligent persons would claim that, although disarming would eliminate possible occurrence of mistakes (a), (c), (d), (e), (f), and perhaps also (b), allowing for the possible occurrence of such situations is just a price that we have to pay in order to hold back the enemy. This point of view rests on the belief that if we would eliminate or reduce the possibility of nuclear war occurring by accident or mistake by disarming our nuclear arsenals, our enemy would take advantage of his superior strength and would invade our territory by launching a nuclear war against us. As we might expect, Lackey argues against this belief by pointing out that using nuclear weapons would be diplomatically very costly and militarily very awkward. He concludes, furthermore, that given that nuclear first strikes by accident or mistake are far less likely to occur if one side disarms, and given that using such weapons would be diplomatically costly and militarily ineffective, we should disarm our nuclear arsenals. This conclusion follows from a moral and from a nationalistic point of view since, in the world or in a nuclear equipped superpower such as the US, 82  the number of deaths resulting from a nuclear war in a situation of equivalence multiplied by the chance of such a war occurring in such a situation is greater than the number of deaths resulting from a nuclear attack in a situation of disarmament multiplied by the chance of such an attack occurring in that situation, provided that certain facts can be expected to obtain. These expected facts are firstly, that the SU would use less weapons in an attack against a disarmed western nation than against an armed enemy and secondly, that the chance of such an attack occurring against the US are not vastly greater under disarmament than under equivalence. Since the former seems very likely to be true, and provided that we accept Lackey's arguments for the latter, we must agree that from a moral as well as from a nationalistic point of view, we should disarm. Since it is hard to show conclusively that the chance of an enemy attack in a situation of disarmament is not much higher than the chance of such an attack in a situation of equivalence, there may be doubt as to whether or not Lackey has shown that it is rational, from a nationalistic perspective, to disarm. However, there is little doubt that we should disarm from a moral perspective. For it is unreasonable to suppose that even if we disarm, our enemy will be just as likely or more likely to attack us with a great number of nuclear weapons than he is in a situation of equivalence. If our enemy initiates a nuclear attack despite the fact that he is no longer being threatened with nuclear weapons, he is very likely to launch a much more limited attack than he is want to do against an armed opponent since an unarmed opponent will be more ready to submit to him. Moreover, since only one side is armed if disarmament obtains, there is a far smaller chance of nuclear war occurring by accident or mistake (as Lackey has shown) and the chance of retaliation and all out war occurring is zero. These facts together strongly support the argument in favour of the view that morally, if not nationalistically, it is rational to disarm. So although equivalence strategies are to be preferred to superiority strategies, disarmament policies are to be preferred above all. Thus far we have seen arguments presented by Measor and Lackey in favour of the view that exact first strike capability may realistically be achieved in the foreseeable future and is more likely to lead to nuclear war than equivalence or disarmament policies. We may now consider reasons for doubting Measor's and Lackey's point of view, at least to some extent. 83  It may be argued that launching an exact nuclear attack in order to wipe out one's opponent's nuclear arsenals (and industrial installations) must involve very many very powerful weapons since destroying targets which are either quite elusive or housed in hardened missile silos is extremely difficult, so that many missiles must be expected to either miss or fail to penetrate their targets. The only way around the almost indestructible nature of nuclear weapons facilities is to hit each with several very destructive war heads. Given that an exact first strike involves the use of a large number of extremely powerful weapons, the effects that such an attack would have on the world would be very bad. These effects, caused directly or indirectly by fallout, could be so bad as to make life very much less worth living in the country of the attacker as well as, and obviously, in the country which is attacked. If the effects were bad enough even for the attacking country, it would be irrational for that country to launch an exact first strike. This argument can be supported by Roszak's article. Roszak claims that weapons of exact first strike capability "must also exist in quantities sufficient to match enemy missiles in a ratio of two or three to one; for we cannot assume that every American missile will be accurate enough to destroy the Russian missile it has as its target. [Exact first strike]... weapons must also be extremely powerful, perhaps ten to thirty times as powerful as a Polaris or Minuteman missile [which are part of the US's minimum deterrence arsenal], for they may be aimed at hardened enemy bases that are supposed to be invulnerable"(Roszak, 72). It is claimed by advocates of exact first strike (or counterforce) capability that since weapons of exact first strike capability are aimed at the enemy's weapons and industrial centers rather than at his population centers, counterforce deterrence is morally preferable to minimum deterrence policies. The implicit assumption on which this argument is grounded is that an exact first strike would bring about less suffering and death than a massive minimum deterrence strike. As Roszak points out, this assumption is unwarranted since weapons, industrial centers, and population centers cannot be effectively separated. With respect to segregating civilian populations and military forces, Roszak states that "it is quite clear that this is impossible, since the Russians, as well as ourselves, have located many of their bomber and missile bases close to cities -- this is especially true of anti-aircraft missile installations, such as the American Nike bases, which would be prime counterforce targets"(74). 84  In order to validate his claims Roszak quotes US Admiral Burke, who says: "Many of these missile bases are right close to our cities, right close... So an attack on our major bases would necessarily destroy a great many cities and a great many of our people. When those missiles start coming over you do not know whether the intent of the enemy was to hit or not to hit a city if he hits it. The same thing is true with the Russian military installations"(75). As has been claimed, an exact first strike would bring about terrible suffering and death not only in the attacked region, but also globally. Roszak elaborates on this claim by stating that "the megatonnage of a counterforce attack is apt to be immensely higher than that of a minimum deterrence attack. Atlas and Titan missiles, for example, can carry several megatons of thermonuclear explosives, each megaton equaling fifty Hiroshima bombs. This means that the fallout from the exploded weapons is very much greater and thus the worldwide damage to civilians is bound to be immense"(75). If these arguments are as good as they seem, then any country contemplating whether or not to launch an exact first strike against its enemy will have a very strong incentive not to do so. This means that exact first strike attacks are not so likely to occur as we have previously been arguing. Initiating an exact first strike is most clearly irrational when the average life in the country of the attacker provides only slightly more happiness than unhappiness. For if life is barely worth living for the citizens of the attacking country even before an exact first strike has occurred (as can reasonably be assumed given that their lives entail nearly as much unhappiness as happiness), then life will almost certainly not be worth living after the effects of fallout from an exact first strike have taken their course. Clearly, any act which is almost certain to make life no longer worth living for the majority of the persons for whose well-being one is concerned, is irrational. The bad effects of fallout on the territory of the attacker and globally is not the only factor giving a potential first strike attacker a propensity not to exercise his first strike capability. Another and related factor is that it would be very difficult to actually wipe out all of the enemy's nuclear weapons since many of them are housed in hardened missile silos and others are on mobile ground launchers and in submarines. Since nuclear superpowers have a very large number of nuclear weapons, even if only a small percentage of the victim's weapons survives an exact first strike, the possibility of serious retaliation exists. If, for instance, the US attacks Russia (RU) with an exact first strike and only 85  manages to wipe out 99% of RU's nuclear arsenals, then if RU possesses one thousand nuclear weapons, it will be able to retaliate with ten (presumably powerful and accurate) nuclear missiles. Those ten weapons will be able to cause very serious damage to cities in the US. It might be argued that a country with exact first strike capability would be able to wipe out more than 99% of its opponent's nuclear weapons. However, given how difficult it would be to hit certain targets, such as submarines which are several hundred feet beneath the surface of the ocean at the other side of the planet, it seems unlikely that any country's exact first strike capability could ever be more than 99% effective. Measor disagrees with this point of view and argues that "it is true as far as I [Measor] know that the US is not currently able to identify the position of Soviet submarines once they have left port, and it is true that until they are able to do so there will be a deterrent against an American first strike. But... [e]ven if the US is not currently trying to develop an effective submarine tracking system (which seems unlikely)... it is surely only a matter of time before it does... pull out all of the stops in the attempt to remove the remaining obstacles to a first-strike capacity"(Measor, 247). Measor claims more generally that small changes in accuracy can make big differences in the percentage of enemy weapons that are hit. Citing Michael Pentz, Measor states that "if there are 1,000 Soviet launching sites [which is probably a conservative estimate]... then a 0.99 probability for each American missile of destroying the Russian silo it is aimed at will give a very low probability (0.99 to the power 1000, which is scarcely greater than 0) of knocking out all the Soviet sites in one attack. But an increase in accuracy of American missiles such as to give each a 0.99998 probability of knocking out its target will tip the scales dramatically, since the chance of disabling all Russian launching sites will now have increased to something which is scarcely smaller than 1. But the US is striving to produce just such an increase in accuracy in its weapons"(246). Given that small changes in accuracy can make big differences in the percentage of weapons that are destroyed, it would seem that eventually the superpowers could achieve adequate accuracy to make striking first a viable option. Since Measor's first argument is simply a statement of what he believes to be likely, we cannot treat it as an adequate defence of the view that the superpowers will be able to knock out 100% of their enemy's weapons in an 86  exact first strike. Similarly, his second argument only shows that perfect accuracy may be achieved before long, but does not show that a superpower will soon be in a position to know that it can destroy all enemy weapons by an exact first strike. For even if the US has missiles which are perfectly accurate, they will not be able to wipe out targets that cannot be found, such as mobile ground launchers and submarines. Clearly, increased accuracy needs to be accompanied by the ability to track all mobile missile launchers in order to ensure that all of the enemy's weapons will be hit. Without evidence showing that a superpower will be able to track enemy mobile missile launchers, it is still quite reasonable to claim that not actually being able to knock out all of the enemy's weapons is a real disincentive to initiating an exact first strike. There is, however, one further consideration which might lead us to believe that a superpower such as the US will be able to destroy all enemy missiles without having several cities bombed in retaliation. In particular, we need to ask whether or not it would be possible to intercept incoming enemy missiles before they reach the attacker's territory. That such an antimissile system is possible to develop is a view which is supported by the fact that the superpowers have been or are in the process of attempting to develop the necessary technology, even though it is not unlikely that there efforts will prove to be in vain. If such technology is developed, however, any disincentive brought about by the possibility of retaliation will obviously be eliminated. Roszak considers the possibility of wiping out all of the enemy's weapons to be so remote that he states that "a well-developed civil defense program is essential to counterforce. So also would be an effective antimissile system"(Roszak, 72). But until we know that such a system has been developed we may still reasonably believe that some retaliation would be possible against an exact first strike. Whereas Measor and Lackey have argued that exact first strike capability is immanent and is more likely to lead to nuclear war than massive destructive capability or unilateral disarmament, we have now seen two factors that act as disincentives to initiating an exact first strike. Specifically, we have seen that such an attack involves so many so powerful weapons that the effects caused by fallout in the territory of the attacker and globally are likely to be terrible. We have also seen that retaliation would probably be possible since it is very difficult to actually wipe out all of the enemy's missiles. 87  With this analysis behind us we should now be in a pretty good position to determine whether or not we should be concerned about US and SU efforts to achieve exact first strike capability. Is such capability realistic, and if so, does it really make nuclear war more likely to occur than it is under minimum deterrence policies? The fact that it may be impossible to wipe out 100% of the enemy's nuclear weapons may mean that exact first strike capability of the most perfect sort (which ensures that all enemy weapons are destroyed) is unrealistic. Since with perfect exact first strike capability it would be impossible for the enemy to retaliate, whereas with less than perfect exact first strike capability some retaliation is possible, it is probable that perfect first strike capability is more likely to lead to nuclear war than imperfect capability. Nonetheless, even imperfect capability is more likely to lead to war than massive capability or disarmament. Moreover, although perfect exact first strike capability may never be achieved, imperfect first strike capability will probably be achieved before long, since nuclear weapons are becoming more and more accurate and since the US surely wants to find a way of tracking enemy mobile missile launchers, and will make great efforts to develop the necessary technology. Hence it is quite realistic to imagine that such capability will exist. But does exact first strike capability really make nuclear war more likely to occur? Since the main bad effect for the initiator of an exact first strike is fallout on the territory of the attacker and globally, if exact first strike capability is achieved there exists less of a nuclear deterrent than in situations in which both sides have only massive capability, for in those situations large-scale retaliation is possible. Nonetheless, since the initiator of an exact first strike is definitely harmed by the attack, he must calculate whether initiating an exact first strike or refraining from doing so is preferable. More exactly, he must calculate whether the probability of being attacked multiplied by the utility (or disutility) of being attacked is higher or lower than the utility (or disutility) of attacking multiplied by a probability of one. As in cases in which one is faced with an irrational opponent, in this case it is rational to choose the option with the bigger product. As a sample calculation, suppose the probability of Russia (RU) attacking the US is .5, and that the disutility for the US of suffering such an attack is -500 units. Then the product of this option is -500 X .5 = -250. Suppose also that the disutility for the US of the US attacking RU with an exact first strike is -50. Then 88  the product of this option is -50 X 1 = -50. Since -50 is a bigger product than 250, the US should initiate an exact first strike against RU, given these probabilities and disutility assignments. It might quite reasonably be asked what is meant by "units" of utility or disutility. Perhaps the best answer to this question is that it refers to some established measure of pleasure and enjoyment or of suffering. Many years of pleasurable existence for the majority of a large population would, for instance, be represented by a fairly high positive number. An equal number of years of suffering for the same number of persons would be represented by a an equally large negative number. Someone may argue, however, that even if we could in theory assign numbers to levels and durations of pleasure and enjoyment for different populations, in practice such assignments can never be made since it is not possible to "measure" pleasure and enjoyment. Even if we cannot measure pleasure and enjoyment with any precision, however, we can surely have a pretty good idea, in a 'rough and ready' way, of the effects on pleasure and enjoyment of different nuclear programmes. It is most obvious, for instance, that attacking the population centers of an enemy nation will bring about a great decline in the pleasure and enjoyment for its citizens. If the attack destroys most of the population centers, the average level of suffering in that nation will obviously be significant. So we should have no trouble assigning a large negative number to such an outcome even of we cannot, strictly speaking, measure the total suffering of the attacked nation. A way around measuring the effects on pleasure and enjoyment of particular nuclear programmes is suggested by Lackey. He states that "given the subject matter of nuclear war, for many problems value can be equated with human lives, and the outcome A can be considered better than outcome B if fewer people are killed by war in A than are killed by war in B"(Lackey, 193). But since some persons would presumably prefer to be 'dead' than 'red,' and since nuclear war is likely to leave persons in outlying regions alive but very unhealthy, Lackey's approach is not completely satisfactory. However, estimating the number of deaths brought about by an act of war may well be a good way to begin to calculate the effects on pleasure and enjoyment of that act.  89  Let us now consider some examples from the rationality tables in terms of the above sort of calculation. We will discover that it may often be rational to initiate nuclear war if one or both sides have exact first strike capability. The third table represents the situation that obtains when both sides are nationalistic utilitarians. This table suggests that when both sides have exact first strike capability and neither side believes (a) or (b), that any fairly largescale nuclear attack is likely to make life intolerable for all creatures, it may be rational (i.e. it is rational?) for either side to initiate an exact first strike against its opponent. Since both sides are rational and both sides believe, quite plausibly, that any fairly large-scale nuclear attack will make life significantly less worth living for their citizens, both sides prefer no nuclear war to initiating nuclear war. However, since retaliation is not possible so that neither side can be sure that the other will not initiate nuclear war, as soon as either side has reason to suspect the other side of planning a nuclear first strike, it may be rational for the suspicious side to initiate a preemptive attack, for both sides prefer attacking to being attacked. In such a situation, the suspicious side, A, must engage in the following calculation: A must calculate the utility (or disutility) of being attacked by an exact first strike as well as the utility (or disutility) of initiating such a strike. Subsequently, A must estimate the probability of B initiating an exact first strike against A. Finally, A must calculate whether the probability of being attacked multiplied by the disutility of being attacked is higher or lower than the disutility of attacking multiplied by one. Whichever option has the higher product is the nationalistically rational choice, although it may not be the morally rational one. Although we can by no means be sure what utility assignments A would give to attacking and to being attacked, we can make reasonable estimates. Since being attacked by an exact first strike would involve very many very powerful weapons, it would cause tremendous loss of life and property in the territory of the attacked side. Also, it would cause serious fallout globally, which would contaminate vast regions and would probably bring about serious climatic change etc. Given all of these bad effects, we should assign a large negative number to being attacked by an exact first strike. So let us say that being attacked has a disutility of -5000 for the attacked side. On the other hand, fallout, climatic change etc. would also effect the territory of the attacker. And if the above arguments are correct, some retaliation would occur. Given these several bad effects, a fairly large negative number should also be assigned to 90  initiating an exact first strike. Exactly how large a negative number should be assigned to attacking is very difficult to say, however, since how bad the global effects of a large-scale nuclear attack would be is indeterminate. But let us say that the disutility of attacking is -2500. With -5000 assigned to being attacked, -2500 assigned to attacking, and an estimated probability of B initiating an attack against A of .4, it is irrational for A to initiate a preemptive strike, since the product of -5000 X .4 is -2000, whereas the product of -2500 X 1 is -2500. However, if the estimated probability of B initiating an attack against A is .55, it is rational for A to initiate a preemptive strike, since the product of -5000 X .55 is -2750, whereas the product of -2500 X 1 is still -2500. Naturally, the disutility assignments used in this calculation are quite arbitrary, and different assignments would lead to different conclusions. However, the crucial feature of the assignments is not their specific numbers, but rather their relative size. In this calculation we assumed that from a nationalistic point of view, being attacked is twice as bad as attacking. If we had said, instead, that being attacked is three times as bad as attacking, assigning 6000 to being attacked and -2000 to attacking, we would have concluded that an estimated probability of B attacking A of .34 or greater is enough to make initiating an exact first strike against B rational for A. On the other hand, if we had said that being attacked is only one and one half times as bad as attacking, assigning -6000 to being attacked and -4000 to attacking, we would have concluded that an estimated probability of B attacking A of .67 or greater is enough to make initiating an exact first strike against B rational for A. Although we may not be able to actually say whether or not initiating an exact first strike will be rational for a country like the US if it achieves exact first strike capability, we can reach certain interesting conclusions on the basis of the above calculations. Specifically, we can conclude that the better a side becomes at wiping out the other side's nuclear weapons while creating as little global damage as possible, the more likely that side will be to initiate a nuclear attack. As we have seen, the less severe the bad effects of attacking are expected to be, the lower the estimated probability of being attacked needs to be in order for attacking preemptively to be rational. We may also conclude, quite obviously, that the greater the estimated probability of an enemy attack, the more likely it will be that a preemptive strike will appear rational. Finally, we may conclude that even fairly moderate disutility assignments make it rational to 91  initiate an exact first strike, given quite realistic probability assessments, if both sides possess, or believe that both possess, exact first strike capability. This means that if exact first strike capability is achieved, nuclear war is quite likely to occur. The last of these conclusions is particularly true if a country with exact first strike capability faces an irrational opponent. For as is suggested by the fifth table, so long as neither A nor B believe (a) or (b), that any fairly large scale nuclear attack will make life intolerable for all creatures, if A is rational and possesses exact first strike capability and B is irrational and possesses either massive destructive capability or exact first strike capability, it is rational for A to initiate an exact first strike against B. The case is clearest when both side have exact first strike capability. As in all such cases, since serious retaliation is impossible, the likelihood of either side attacking is increased given that initiating an exact first strike will not make life not worth living in the country of the attacker. In this case, as in previously discussed cases, in deciding whether or not to attack, both sides have to compare the disutility associated with being attacked multiplied by the estimated probability of the other side attacking to the disutility associated with attacking multiplied by one. Whichever option has the higher product is to be preferred. But unlike cases in which both sides are rational, in cases in which one side is irrational, the disutility associated with being attacked (caused be fallout and global destruction) may be compensated for by some very highly valued religious, political, or racial dominion. Since irrational countries may value such goals more highly than pleasure and enjoyment and the avoidance of suffering, initiating an exact first strike may actually represent an increase rather than a decrease in what they regard as utility. In that case such countries have no reason not to initiate an exact first strike. In fact, they have a very good reason to do so as soon as possible. Since irrational countries with exact first strike capability have reason to launch an attack as soon as possible, any rational country that faces such an irrational opponent should initiate a preemptive exact first strike as soon as possible. Let us assign some numbers to the above sort of case. Given that B is irrational, whereas B assigns a disutility of - 5000 to being attacked, it assigns a utility of 0 to attacking. If B estimates the probability of A attacking at .8, then it is preferable for B to initiate an exact first strike since - 5000 X .8 is lower than 0 X 1. Since it is clearly preferable for B to initiate an exact first strike, it is also 92  rational for A to launch a preemptive strike if possible. For if A assigns a disutility of -5000 to being attacked, assigns a disutility of -2000 to attacking, and estimates the probability of B attacking at .9, then attacking is rational for A since -5000 X .9 is lower than -2000 X 1. Even if considerably more conservative probability assessments and utility assignments are used, initiating an exact first strike remains rational for A. The same is true, although not quite so certainly, when B has only massive destructive capability. The only difference then is that an added bad effect for B of B attacking A is that A might retaliate against B's attack. If A does retaliate against B, then the disutility for B of attacking will be greater, so that attacking will be less clearly preferable to not doing so. But even if A retaliates, B might well prefer attacking to not doing so since B prefers religious, political, or racial dominion to pleasure and enjoyment and the avoidance of suffering. Someone might object that it would only be preferable for B to initiate an attack against A if B knows, or has good reason to believe, that B will win the war against A. Whereas if winning the war is what B wishes to do, it is obviously not preferable for B to initiate a war which B does not believe it can win, B may not expect to win a war yet may nonetheless prefer it. That is, B may consider A to be an evil nation, a nation whose continued existence is detrimental to God's project, and may wish to eliminate or seriously harm A even if A manages to retaliate. So clearly it may be preferable for B to attack A even if B does not believe that B will win the war against A. Of course if B's attacking A resulted in B being dominated by A, then B would very probably not prefer attacking A to not doing so. However, since there are many possible scenarios in which A's retaliating against B's attack does not give A the upper hand but puts both countries into a miserable state, there are many possible cases in which religiously fanatic B would prefer harming A and suffering A's retaliation to not harming A. This follows from the fact that B may have an "I'll kill A even if doing so will end up killing me" mentality. Having analyzed examples from the rationality tables in terms of the reasoning of this chapter, we may now end by recapitulating the main points that have been made. At the outset we asked whether or not exact first strike capability is a realistic possibility, and if so, whether or not it is really more likely to lead to nuclear war than massive capability or disarmament. In order to give an 93  affirmative answer to these questions we considered arguments presented by Measor and Lackey in favour of such an answer. We noticed, however, that the certainty of their answers needs to be tempered somewhat since the bad effects on the planet of an exact first strike, as well as the fact that it would be very difficult to actually wipe out all of the enemy's retaliatory capability, still act as considerable deterrents in a world in which the nuclear powers possess exact first strike capability. We concluded, that even with these deterrents, exact first strike capability makes nuclear war more likely to occur than do massive capability or disarmament since attacking is certainly preferred to being attacked and since neither side can be at all sure that its enemy will not initiate an exact first strike. The only obvious solution to this problem is to ensure that exact first strike capability, or anything approaching such capability, is never achieved.  Works Cited: Lackey, Douglas P.. "Missiles and Morals: a Utilitarian Look at Nuclear Deterrence." Philosophy and Public Affairs 11, 1982. Measor, Nicholas. "Games Theory and the Nuclear Arms Race." Applied Ethics. Ed. Peter Singer. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986. Roszak, Theodore. "A Just War Analysis of Two Types of Deterrence." Nuclear Deterrence: Ethics and Strategy. Ed. Russell Hardin et al. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985.  94  Chapter Five  Limited Nuclear Strikes In the world today there are several countries, besides the United States and Russia, that have or are trying to develop nuclear weapons. Among the countries that already have such weapons are Great Britain, France, China, Israel, former Soviet republics and allies, and India. Countries that have or are trying to develop nuclear weapons include Iraq and other middle eastern countries as well as northern African countries. With the exception of Great Britain and France, most of us would probably be worried about these countries using their nuclear weapons if the US and Russia decided to disarm In the case of Iraq, we might be worried about it using its nuclear weapons even if the US and Russia do not disarm. The most obvious reason for this fear is that these countries are unstable to varying degrees and for various reasons. Foremost among these reasons is a high probability that they are or may in future be ruled by irrational persons. What can be done about limited nuclear capability in the hands of irrational political, religious, or military leaders? Should we not use our nuclear weapons to wipe out these irrational countries' nuclear arsenals in order to make the world a safer place? The seventh and eighth rationality tables suggest that an affirmative answer to these questions is appropriate in certain circumstances. It is the purpose of this chapter to discuss one of these circumstances and to look at it in terms of the sort of decision-making procedure that we have used in earlier chapters. Subsequently we will consider two reasons for doubting that nuclear weapons should ever be used for tactical purposes (we should note that "tactical" is used to describe a procedure which is meant to prevent large-scale nuclear war from occurring; a limited number of nuclear weapons could presumably be used "tactically" to wipe out a nuclear arsenal in the hands of an aggressive opponent). We will see, however, that despite these reasons, limited nuclear strikes, and the capability that they require, are less dangerous 95  to all living creatures than massive or exact first strike capability, and therefore stand a better chance of being part of rational defense policies. To begin, let us take a look at the sort of situation represented by the eighth table, in which one side, A, is rational and in which the other side, B, is irrational, ignorant, or fanatic. In such circumstances, provided that neither A nor B believe that (a) a substantial though small-scale nuclear attack on any fairly large region would make life not worth living for all creatures, it may be rational for A to launch a small-scale nuclear attack against B. This will be true whenever A believes that B has or is developing nuclear weapons and that attacking B's nuclear facilities with nuclear weapons is the utility maximizing strategy. As an illustration of this sort of case, imagine that A is a rational superpower and that B is an irrational country that has fifty nuclear equipped missiles which it is expected to use sooner or later. Since B has fifty nuclear weapons instead of only two or three, it may not be feasible for A to coerce B into giving up its nuclear weapons, or to destroy them, in any other way than by initiating a small-scale nuclear attack against B. Or it may just be most efficient for A to deal with the situation in this way, although A could also deal with it in some more costly and non-nuclear way. In any case, in deciding whether or not to initiate a small-scale nuclear attack against B, A must calculate whether the probability of B using its weapons multiplied by the utility (or disutility) for A of B's attack is higher or lower than the utility (or disutility) of initiating a small-scale nuclear attack multiplied by one. It is rational for A to choose the option with the bigger product. What does A need to consider in order to make a good estimate of the probability of B using its nuclear weapons, in order to figure out the disutility of B attacking, and in order to calculate the disutility of A attacking preemptively? As we saw in the chapter on irrational opponents, in making an estimate of the likelihood of B using its nuclear weapons A must consider whether B intends to use its nuclear weapons in order to achieve some sort of political, racial, or religious conquest, or whether B only considers its weapons to be useful in that way but does not intend to use them. If B does not intend to use its nuclear weapons it may not be rational for A to launch an attack against B. But given the sort of country that B is, B may in time be ruled by a more aggressive leader,  96  the present leader of B may himself become more aggressive, or other changes in the world may make using its nuclear weapons look more attractive to B. These reasons, among others, make it much more likely that B will use its nuclear weapons in the next ten years than in the next one or two years. As was mentioned earlier, the situation is rather like flipping a coin, in that the likelihood of a coin being heads up at least once after ten flips is far greater than the likelihood of it being heads up at least once after only one or two flips. So even if B does not now intend to use its nuclear weapons, it may be rational for A to wipe out B's weapons with a small-scale nuclear attack. In calculating the disutility of B attacking, A must consider the nature and extent of the damage that B would attempt to effect by such an attack. Obviously the number and power of B's weapons is relevant to this matter, as are the intentions of B's leader(s). Does B wish to hit A's nuclear weapons facilities, its industrial centers, or its population centers? The answer to this and similar questions will make a big difference to the disutility for A of B attacking. But since B has fairly many weapons (namely fifty), it is clear that any attack against A with all or most of these weapons would bring about a lot of disutility for A. Many of the citizens of A would die, others would suffer from agonizing side effects, and serious damage to property would occur. In the worst case scenario, life would no longer be worth living for all or most of the citizens of A. Calculating the disutility of A attacking preemptively may be more difficult than the previous calculation, for although in this case A does not have to determine what B intends to do with its nuclear weapons, which is obviously no easy task, A does need to predict other countries' reactions. Since any nuclear attack sufficiently powerful to wipe out fifty nuclear warheads would cause serious death and suffering in B, many other countries would consider attacking B to be an immoral and unacceptable way of dealing with B's arsenals. Moreover, countries neighbouring on B or down wind from B would probably also suffer either from the direct effects of the attack on B, or from the fallout caused by the explosions. That these effects would be considerably worse than the effects of the accident at Chernobyl is certain. So clearly, A would be making itself quite unpopular by attacking B. Whereas reputation and popularity clearly play little part in A's decision if A must decide whether or not to defend itself against an imminent large-scale attack, the same is not true of this case. Not only is the harm that A expects to result from this limited attack probably less severe than the harm of a large97  scale attack, but also the possibility of solving the problem by non-nuclear means is greater. As a consequence, the situation may not be viewed as a "life or death" situation by other countries who may prefer diplomatic, terrorist, or conventional war methods of dealing with B's weapons and who would criticize a nuclear solution. Since attacking B would probably cause A to be heavily criticized by other countries, A will have an incentive to choose a non-nuclear way of eliminating B's nuclear arsenals. Additionally, the negative reaction against A's attacking B with nuclear weapons may not be limited to criticism. Instead, countries that are sympathetic to B's cause may decide to retaliate for B by attacking A. At the same time, other countries may take the opportunity to attack their enemies with conventional or nuclear weapons since less attention will be focused on them at this time, given that a good deal of attention is focused on the conflict between A and B. What's more, there are other possible ways in which A's attacking B could cause nuclear war to spread beyond the initial region of attack. For this reason, a considerable number of nuclear strategists believe that limited nuclear war, confined to a specific region, is impossible. Whether or not this point of view is correct, it is very likely that in crossing the nuclear threshold by attacking B, A takes the chance of encouraging other countries to use their nuclear weapons. Also, if A is a democracy, the leader of A will have to consider his own people's reactions to a nuclear attack on B. If eliminating B's nuclear weapons with a nuclear attack is unpopular among the citizens of A, the leader of A will have an additional incentive to find a non-nuclear solution. On the other hand, if a nuclear solution is popular among the citizens of A, the leader of A may have an incentive to use nuclear weapons against B. A dictator does not have to worry about reputation to the same extent that the leader of a democracy must. Accordingly, he may not worry about his subjects' reactions. However, if the dictator believes that using nuclear weapons against B will cause an uprising in his country, he may heed the opinions of his subjects. Despite the above factors that give A an incentive to choose a nonnuclear method of eliminating B's weapons, A might consider a nuclear attack to be the rational choice. This may be so when B's attacking A is imminent and a quick solution is necessary. It would seem that in such situations, nuclear weapons are tactically quite useful. 98  Having considered some of the issues that are relevant to the question of whether or not it can be rational for a country to use a limited number of nuclear weapons for tactical purposes, let us try to get an answer to this question by looking at what some philosophers have said on the subject. Although Douglas P. Lackey maintains that nuclear weapons are not useful for tactical purposes, a view which is supported by the fact that neither the Soviet Union nor the United States have ever used nuclear weapons for tactical purposes although plenty of opportunities to do so have arisen, other philosophers believe that it is useful to maintain a limited number of nuclear weapons for tactical or deterrence purposes. Bernard Williams is one philosopher who believes that maintaining a limited nuclear arsenal is useful. He argues that we should reduce, but not eliminate, our nuclear weapons since there may be situations in which we will need to use them for tactical purposes. Although these situations are not likely to arise in conflicts between the superpowers, they may occur in other conflicts. Williams states that lilt seems to me that there is a perfectly plausible argument that if a country were in fact faced with a clear, immediate and realistic intention by another aggressive power to destroy everybody in that country, for instance by nuclear means, then its government would be justified in using a nuclear attack to prevent it happening"(Williams, 105). So clearly Williams believes that nuclear weapons can be used effectively as tactical weapons. In addition, Williams holds that the superpowers may want to possess some nuclear weapons as a deterrent. To justify this view Williams states that "I do not even think that once nuclear weapons have been invented, we want a situation in which everybody has given them up -- unless of course everyone has also given up their quarrels as well.... If everybody gave up nuclear weapons, you would not go back to a situation before nuclear weapons were invented: you would rather get a situation where nuclear weapons were always just about to be invented. The level of security you could achieve with that would be pretty low. As soon as there was an outbreak of hostilities then in fact there would be a race to reconstruct nuclear weapons and that would be so unnerving that preemptive action almost certainly could not be avoided"(108). Although Williams holds that nuclear weapons are useful for tactical and deterrent purposes, he claims that everyone should reduce their nuclear arsenals and that European countries should get out of the nuclear arms race altogether. Even though he does not say so explicitly, it seems clear from what 99  he does say that Williams believes that the United States should hold on to some of its nuclear weapons in order to avoid the sort of situation which he claims would exist if everyone disarmed. Another philosopher who believes that we should reduce our nuclear arsenals is Jeff McMahan, who argues that we should either disarm completely or adopt a policy of "Scrupulous Retaliation"(McMahan). A policy of Scrupulous Retaliation involves threats of morally permissible retaliation. That is, it threatens the destruction of such things as military facilities rather than population centers. A policy of this sort would presumably allow for the elimination of dangerous arsenals in the hands of irrational persons, and it could also function as a deterrent against nuclear attacks. However, it would have to do so without requiring a large number of nuclear weapons since it is clear that using very many nuclear weapons would cause terrible suffering globally and would thus be immoral and "unscrupulous." A policy of Scrupulous Retaliation has several advantages over massive and exact first strike policies. The most obvious advantage is that it does not commit us to immoral and irrational acts, such as wiping out the enemy's population after he has done the same to us. As we have seen in Chapter One, threats of massive retaliation are not credible in most situations involving rational actors, so that threats of Scrupulous retaliation may be more credible and consequently better deterrents in such situations. In addition, a policy of Scrupulous Retaliation may make it less likely that nuclear war will occur by accident or mistake. For the missiles of the smaller arsenal that are required by such a policy are less likely to be fired by accident than are the missiles of larger arsenals (given the fact that a smaller arsenal requires less triggering devices and other technological gadgets that can malfunction). Also, an effective policy of Scrupulous Retaliation sends a message to other powers that the country which has adopted this policy is attempting to act morally and will therefore not attack a rational opponent preemptively as long as the opponent is not planning to attack that country. Whereas McMahan's and Williams' arguments support the view that maintaining a limited number of nuclear weapons may be useful in dealing with dangerous arsenals in the hands of irrational persons and may constitute an effective deterrent against various forms of aggression, many persons believe 100  that nuclear disarmament is preferable to maintaining limited nuclear capability. While some advocates of disarmament believe that it is better to submit to one's opponents than to risk nuclear war, others believe that there are enough nonnuclear deterrents against using nuclear weapons to make nuclear war very unlikely to occur even if one superpower disarms. Yet other proponents of disarmament believe that conventional weapons are as effective at deterring an opponent from initiating a nuclear attack as are nuclear weapons themselves. Ken Booth holds the third of these views. Booth argues that NATO's pro-nuclear stance makes nuclear war quite likely to occur. Given that nuclear war would be a horrific event, we should do everything we can to reduce the chance of nuclear war being initiated. For Booth, the solution lies not in eliminating all forms of armament, but in European countries laying down their nuclear weapons in exchange for sophisticated conventional weapons. Having a strong non-nuclear defence in Europe, in place of the present nuclear battlefield missiles, would probably make nuclear war less likely to occur in that region. Since the United States would be unwilling to give up its nuclear weapons, they could continue to defend their own territory by means of a straightforward minimum deterrence policy. In Booth's words, although "it is unrealistic to expect the United States to give up its nuclear weapons... the whole of NATO, including US forces, should begin making a slow adjustment to a conventional posture in Europe. While many Americans would be uneasy about depriving US forces overseas of a direct battlefield and theatre nuclear retaliatory capability, stability would be maintained by the presence of the distant US nuclear threat"(Booth, 59). As Booth points out, NATO strategy has always seen conventional weapons as important, but only in contributing to a phase in nuclear strategy rather than as an alternative method of defence. Indeed, NATO's position may be supported by many persons who claim that conventional weapons alone cannot provide an adequate deterrent against enemy aggression. Booth argues against this view, for he believes that conventional weapons can cause sufficiently terrible suffering and death in order to constitute an adequate deterrent. He states: The non-nuclear option should not be embraced simply because it seems to offer some form of escapism from the horrors of nuclear war, for as a dozen campaigns have shown in recent years, modem 'conventional' war can be terrible. And obviously a major conventional war in central Europe between such heavily armed and technically proficient forces as those of NATO and the Warsaw Pact would be a bloody affair indeed. If it were to break out, the only consolation such a  101  war might offer would be the thought that it would fall short of the nightmare of nuclear war, since the latter could wreak the damage of the Second World War in less time than it takes to read this essay. Advocates of a non-nuclear strategy for Britain must accept the potential horror of modern conventional war. For one thing, they must be able to convince their potential adversaries of this horror, so the latter will not imagine that any invasion on their part will be worth the costs. In this way a conventional defence will be transformed into an effective deterrent(65).  Booth in effect argues that the likelihood that conventional war "would fall short of the nightmare of nuclear war" is great enough to make a conventional strategy preferable to a nuclear one, especially since the long term bad effects of a conventional war would probably be significantly less serious than the long term bad effects of a nuclear war. So apparently he does not think that nuclear weapons are sometimes preferable to conventional weapons for fighting a tactical war. Having discussed Williams' and McMahan's view that a limited number of nuclear weapons are an effective deterrent and might also be useful as tactical weapons, and having discussed Booth's contrary view, we may now ask ourselves whether it is rational for actual countries to pursue a policy of limited nuclear deterrence or whether it is rational for them to disarm. Although Booth argues only that lesser nuclear powers such as Great Britain and France should disarm, others, including Lackey, argue that even the superpowers should do so. If Booth's argument about the deterrent and tactical adequacy of conventional weapons is correct, it contributes significantly to Lackey's argument about the rationality of disarming. But fear of becoming the victim of an irrational and aggressive small-scale or large-scale nuclear opponent may make us hesitant to accept the view that it is rational for actual countries such as the US to disarm. For although it is quite clear that possessing exact first strike or nearly exact first strike capability is likely to lead to large-scale nuclear war, and although it is also clear that possessing massive destructive capability entails terrible inherent risks, it is less clear that possessing a limited number of nuclear weapons is more dangerous than disarming our nuclear arsenals completely. We may quite reasonably believe that an irrational commander of a large-scale nuclear arsenal would not be deterred from attacking us if we had only conventional weapons. We may also believe that an irrational commander of a small-scale nuclear arsenal may be impossible to stop when, in the last moment, we discover that he is planning to attack some region with his nuclear weapons. 102  This last possibility is indeed quite realistic. It is quite possible, for instance, that some irrationally controlled country such as Iraq is developing or will develop a nuclear arsenal sufficiently large to be able to cause terrible suffering in the territories of its opponents. If Iraq were controlled by a rational leader it would probably be possible to deter him from using his nuclear weapons by threatening large-scale conventional retaliation. But Iraq is controlled by an irrational person who may accept the fact that his territory will be massively attacked in an act of retaliation, so long as he is able to exercise his military power on his enemy. In other words, since Iraq's leader is irrational, no amount of weapons, whether conventional or nuclear, may be enough to deter him from using his nuclear weapons. Someone might object that it is not realistic to suppose that an irrational leader, such as the leader of Iraq, cares neither about the pleasure and enjoyment of his subjects nor about their survival. Surely, it would be more realistic to suppose that although he prefers to make his subjects victorious than to give them pleasure, he is intent on ensuring their survival. If he wishes to ensure the survival of his subjects, he will be disinclined to use nuclear weapons against a nuclear opponent who intends to retaliate. Whereas it is quite possible that there will be an irrational leader who cares for the survival though not for the well-being of his countrymen, it is similarly possible that there will be an irrational leader who cares for neither. What's more, as we saw in Chapter Three, whether we discuss an irrational leader of the first or of the second sort does not matter very much since their irrationality and propensity to initiate nuclear war are matters of degree, so that while both are more likely to initiate war than a rational leader, the second is even more likely to do so than the first. Consequently, it will more likely or more often be rational to initiate a preemptive attack against the second than against the first irrational leader. Given the possibility that any number of weapons cannot act as a guaranteed deterrent against an Iraqi nuclear attack, other countries who wish to defend themselves against such an attack must do so by wiping out Iraq's nuclear weapons or by terminating Iraq's leadership. Provided that the latter option is not feasible, a preemptive strike against Iraq may be necessary. And on the assumption that Iraq's nuclear weapons are housed in hardened missile silos, this attack will have to be nuclear in character since conventional weapons are not able to penetrate hardened silos. 103  If the above situation seems realistic, then it would probably be rational to hold on to some of our nuclear weapons. At the same time, however, it would be rational to avoid using them whenever possible. In the example just considered, we could probably avoid using our nuclear weapons by preventing Iraq from developing and building nuclear weapons or by terminating its present leader. Only if all such methods fail, and Iraq is expected to use its nuclear weapons soon, should a nuclear attack against Iraq be considered. George H. Quester believes that sophisticated missiles equipped with conventional warheads would be an effective weapon for dealing with this sort of case before it gets out of hand. He considers an example: One can imagine such a truly 'surgical'... use of conventional warhead missiles for at least one important and serious situation. Turning to the nuclear proliferation front, suppose that we had strong evidence that a regime like Colonel Khaddafy's in Libya were embarking on a diversion of fissionable materials to nuclear warheads. The world consensus might indeed be supportive of a move to head this off, as long as it was not too messy, as long as it did not entail the use of nuclear weapons in battle. The destruction of the reactor or plutonium separation plant in question, by direct hit with one or two conventional warhead missiles, might be exactly what the world would applaud(265).  Clearly the success of this sort of attack would depend upon obtaining the intelligence that Libya is developing nuclear weapons before Libya has actually constructed them or before it has housed them in more or less invulnerable quarters. What should be clear from this sort of case is that even if we should refrain from using nuclear weapons as much as possible, unless we are confident that we will always be able to deal with this type of situation in a nonnuclear way, we should side with Williams in holding that it is rational not to disarm our nuclear arsenals completely. But this does not mean that Booth's claim that conventional weapons provide adequate deterrent and tactical defence is all wrong, for such weapons might very possibly provide adequate defence in most situations. In order to see how conventional weapons could deter even a nuclear equipped though rational enemy from using its nuclear weapons, let us consider another example. It is well known that China has nuclear weapons and that it has, for some time, seen the SU as an enemy. If the former SU and the US disarmed their nuclear arsenals, could China be expected to give up its 'no first use' policy by attacking the former SU? If the former SU were indeed completely helpless against China, then China would quite possibly take advantage of its enemy's weakness by invading the former SU. But the former SU is not likely to be so 104  helpless, for if the former SU (or US) disarm their nuclear arsenals, they are likely to do so in conjunction with an expanded conventional weapons programme. Such a programme would presumably include stationing substantial conventional arsenals along the borders of nuclear equipped enemies like China. The former SU (and US) could then threaten to retaliate against the use of nuclear weapons with these conventional weapons. But why would China be deterred from launching a nuclear attack by a threat of conventional retaliation? It is obvious, as Booth makes clear, that conventional weapons can cause terrible damage and suffering to a country and its population. If China wanted to eliminate the possibility of a retaliatory attack against it by wiping out the nearby enemy forces with nuclear weapons, it could only do so by causing real damage and suffering to its own territory and population since nuclear explosions cause harmful effects over a widespread area. On the assumption that the leaders of China are rational, they will not wipe out the enemy's weapons with nuclear weapons since doing so would cause terrible harm to China. To the same effect, it is likely that the former SU and US would have substantially more conventional weapons in reserve than any other country, so that winning a conventional war against the former SU or US in order to take over parts of their territory would be extremely difficult or impossible. Any attempt to break the US or former SU by wiping out their conventional arsenals, including arsenals that are not stationed in the vicinity of China, would involve the destruction of vast areas of the planet. It would thus be impossible for China to use its nuclear weapons against the former SU without endangering its own territory and destroying many other territories which China might otherwise like to take over. Therefore, SU conventional weapons stationed near China, together with large reserves of conventional weapons stationed elsewhere, would act as a deterrent against a Chinese nuclear attack against the SU. Despite the fact that conventional weapons could deter rational opponents from using their nuclear weapons, no weapons could deter irrational opponents from using their's. Consequently, situations may arise in which the superior destructive force of nuclear weapons could be used to eliminate enemy arsenals. Unless irrational countries can be controlled in some non-military way so that using nuclear weapons to wipe out their arsenals is believed to be unnecessary, or unless their arsenals can be wiped out with conventional 105  weapons before they are fully developed and deployed, it is probably rational for the US to maintain some nuclear weapons in order to be able to deal with aggressive and uncontrolable irrational nuclear equipped opponents. But we must emphasize the fact that possessing and using nuclear weapons is very dangerous since such weapons can easily be used by accident or mistake and because the effect of a nuclear attack is bound to spread much further than intended, both in terms of the fallout that it causes and in terms of the political reaction and instability that it is bound to bring about. Consequently, we cannot say unreservedly that maintaining a limited nuclear arsenal is rational.  Works Cited: Booth, Ken. "Unilateralism: A Clausewitzian Reform?" Dangers of Deterrence: Philosophers on Nuclear Strategy. Eds. Nigel Blake and Kay Pole. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1983. McMahan, Jeff. "Is Nuclear Deterrence Paradoxical?" Ethics (January 1989): 407-422. Quester, George H. "Substituting Conventional for Nuclear Weapons: Some problems and Some Possibilities." Nuclear Deterrence: Ethics and Strategy. Eds. Russell Hardin et al. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1984. Williams, Bernard. "Morality, Skepticism and the Nuclear Arms Race." Objections to Nuclear Deterrence: Philosophers on Deterrence. Eds. Nigel Blake and Kay Pole. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1984.  106  Conclusion  What Should We Do Now? In Chapter One, Three, Four and Five we considered four types of situations in which an actual or potential nuclear equipped country could find itself. Specifically, we discussed the possibility of full-scale war in a rational world. After discussing nuclear deterrence scenarios in general in Chapter Two, we moved on to consider situations involving an irrational opponent. Then we looked at whether or not possessing exact first strike capability makes any difference to what policy is rational to pursue. Finally, we considered the possibility of small-scale or limited nuclear attacks. The purpose of this chapter is to draw together the insights and arguments that we reached in the previous chapters, to bring together the various parts of our analysis so that we can decide, from a perspective of greater knowledge, what policy is rational, all things considered, for a country such as the United States to pursue. We will begin this analysis by briefly restating the main arguments that we have endorsed. Subsequently, we will juggle these apparently somewhat conflicting arguments so that, using some of the insights of the foregoing analysis, we can come up with a relatively clear recommendation that is sensitive to the realities and possibilities of the world. Obviously, in deciding what defense policy to pursue, a country has to make compromises. Similarly, in recommending a defense policy, we will need to make some compromises. If these compromises are unacceptable to other persons, our recommendation will probably be objectionable as well. Let us now review the main conclusions of the previous chapters. In Chapter One we saw that it is nationalistically irrational and immoral for a country to retaliate against a large-scale nuclear attack since such retaliation would lead to greater suffering and less chance of relief for the citizens of that country. Given that retaliation would only make things worse to a very great extent and for everyone involved, it is psychologically impossible to retaliate against a large-scale nuclear attack. We also argued that since any single move of a 107  nuclear equipped country could result in terrible and widespread suffering and perhaps even the annihilation of life on earth, assessing the rationality or irrationality of nuclear strategy decisions is appropriately done on an act by act rather than a policy by policy bases. Consequently, nuclear deterrence policies that involve retaliating against large-scale nuclear attacks are irrational since retaliating against a large-scale nuclear attack is considered to be irrational. Since retaliation is irrational and psychologically impossible in such situations, a rational military or political leader would not retaliate against a large-scale nuclear attack. As a consequence, threats of retaliation against such an attack are not credible so that pursuing a policy of nuclear deterrence that involves retaliating against such an attack must be irrational. It may be objected that if one side, A, could make the other side, B, believe that A will retaliate against a nuclear attack by making B believe that A is irrational, nuclear deterrence would be rational for A to pursue. But as we have seen in Chapter One, there are several reasons why insincere threats are not realistic, especially in a democracy. Hence pursuing a policy of nuclear deterrence is not rational unless limited nuclear attacks, against which it would not necessarily be irrational to retaliate, are a real possibility. Chapter Three showed us that since irrational persons regard racial domination, religious victory, or some other goal as more important than the bringing about the greatest possible well-being in their country, they may be deterred from using nuclear weapons, neither by threats of retaliation, nor because of fear of nuclear fallout or political turmoil. Consequently, irrational controllers of nuclear weapons can be expected to use their weapons, especially in the long run. Since it is quite likely that nuclear weapons will fall into the hands of an irrational person within the foreseeable future, nuclear war is quite likely to occur. In Chapter Four we saw that exact first strike capability -- if it is actually achieved or if political or military leaders believed it has been achieved -makes nuclear war more likely to occur than do other capabilities. Since largescale retaliation is not possible against an exact first strike, there exists considerably less of a deterrent against launching such an attack than against initiating a massive nuclear attack. Also, either of two or more countries that possess exact first strike capability clearly prefer to initiate an exact first strike than to suffer an exact first strike. Consequently, so long as one such country believes that it is quite likely that the another country is planning to launch an 108  exact first strike against it, it is nationalistically rational to launch a preemptive strike. Given that such countries are in a "use them or lose them" situation, they have an incentive to launch a preemptive strike. Chapter Five showed us that while it may in some situations be necessary to use a small nuclear arsenal for tactical purposes, it is not necessarily rational to maintain nuclear weapons. If an irrational political or military leader has developed nuclear weapons which he intends to use, there may be no way of stopping him from launching a nuclear attack other than by wiping out his nuclear weapons with a limited and precise nuclear strike. But since possessing and using nuclear weapons entails certain risks, and since there may be non-nuclear methods of avoiding the sort of situation in which nuclear weapons are necessary, it may be rational to eliminate all of our nuclear weapons. It may be pointed out that if nuclear war is quite likely to be initiated by an irrational person in the foreseeable future, then it is hard to see how it could be rational to eliminate all of our nuclear weapons. This objection can be set aside, however, provided that it can be shown that a country such as the US can or will be able to prevent nuclear weapons from falling into the hands of irrational and aggressive persons, or that the US can eliminate such irrational persons and/or their nuclear arsenals by non-nuclear means before these persons have a chance to launch a nuclear attack. Since we do not have detailed information about US intelligence and conventional military capability, we cannot say whether or not the US, or any other country for that matter, can or will be able to deal with irrationally controlled nuclear arsenals without having to resort to nuclear weapons. Thus we cannot say for sure that it is rational for the US to eliminate all of its nuclear weapons. We should not be surprised at this result, however, since even persons who are fully informed about US intelligence and conventional military capability would probably have difficultly predicting whether or not nuclear weapons will ever be needed. But even we can say, that it is certainly rational for the US to unilaterally or multilaterally disarm most of its nuclear weapons. And this conclusion is an important one. Having reminded ourselves of the main content of the previous four chapters, we can now try to come up with a defence policy that is rational, all things considered, for actual countries to pursue. Given the terrible risk to all living creatures that nuclear weapons pose, it would be wonderful if everyone 109  destroyed their nuclear weapons and forgot how to make them. But this dream will never be actualized. Consequently, we must look for a more practical and less perfect solution. Let us take the US as our point of perspective. Should the US continue to attempt to achieve exact first strike capability against other nuclear equipped countries, should it hold on to its massive destructive capability and continue to pursue a policy of mutual assured destruction, should it disarm to a large extent while maintaining a limited nuclear capability, or should it disarm its nuclear arsenals completely? The first possible strategy is probably the easiest to dispel. It is clear that exact or nearly exact first strike capability is destabilizing. If the US and former SU achieve such capability at more or less the same time, then it is very probable that extremely large-scale and damaging nuclear war will occur as soon as a conflict arises between the US and former SU, and perhaps also if conflict arises between US and SU allies. Even if the US and former SU do not achieve exact first strike capability at the same time and the US is far ahead of the former SU in the race to achieve this capability, the former SU may be led to use its nuclear weapons against the US before it is no longer possible to do so if the former SU believes that the US is likely to use its capability against it. With this belief, the former SU may even attack the US in order to prevent the US from ever achieving exact first strike capability. So working towards exact first strike capability makes nuclear war more likely to occur than otherwise. It may be objected that since the US and former SU are now on friendly terms, the former SU will not come to believe that the US wishes to launch an exact first strike against it. If we are allowed to assume that the US and former SU will remain on friendly terms, then this objection is correct. However, this same assumption makes trying to achieve exact first strike capability against the former SU seem clearly irrational, for if the US and former SU are allies, the US does not need to be able to wipe out the former SU's nuclear capability. Thus with or without the assumption, it is irrational for the US to pursue exact first strike capability against the former SU. But what if a country with a large nuclear arsenal is controlled by an irrational person who plans to launch a nuclear attack against the US or against one of the US's allies? Wouldn't it be rational for the US to maintain exact first strike capability against all actual or potential nuclear opponents in case such a situation arises? This question is very difficult to answer, for although exact first 110  strike capability creates an incentive to use nuclear weapons in times of conflict, it would certainly be nationalistically rational for the US to defend itself against a large-scale nuclear attack by wiping out the enemy's weapons before he has a chance to use them, once a conflict has arisen. Therefore, in deciding whether to continue or to abort efforts to achieve exact first strike capability, the US has to weigh the likelihood of a large nuclear arsenal falling into the hands of an aggressive irrational person against the likelihood of war being initiated because of the existence or exact or nearly exact first strike capability. But there may be a way around this difficult decision that we can briefly mention. Although only exact first strike capability against an irrational opponent would be sufficient to eliminate the threat that he poses to the world, an effective antimissile system would provide the US with excellent defence against irrational opponents without creating the risks entailed by exact first strike capability. Provided that such a system can be made adequately effective, it would be nationalistically (and also morally) rational for the US to give up seeking exact first strike capability and to concentrate on building a highly effective antimissile system. Given that the US and SU have made efforts to build such a system, it seems likely that it is technologically possible to do so. Now what about the US's massive destructive capability? Is it rational for the US to maintain its massive capability and to pursue a mutual assured destruction policy? As Chapter One has made sufficiently clear, nuclear deterrence through mutual assured destruction is ineffective and irrational between rational opponents, or between an irrational and a rational opponent, since it is psychologically impossible for a rational person to retaliate against a large-scale nuclear attack, so that pursuing a policy of nuclear deterrence that requires such retaliation is ineffective and irrational. So it doesn't make sense to pursue a policy of mutual assured destruction. Moreover, if the US disarms most of its nuclear weapons so that it no longer possesses massive destructive capability, it is very unlikely that a rational opponent will attack the US with a large-scale nuclear attack since the US will no longer constitute a nuclear threat and since such an attack would cause so much destruction in North America that it would no longer be worth taking over. And as we have just argued, if the US is threatened by an irrational opponent, it could defend its citizens against a nuclear attack by means of an effective antimissile system. it is therefore clearly rational for the US to give up its massive destructive capability. 111  Someone might argue that even if the US could defend itself by means of an effective antimissile system, other countries would be vulnerable to nuclear attacks if the US disarmed the majority of its nuclear weapons. Western Europe, in particular, might feel vulnerable if nuclear weapons were removed from the European continent. But provided that Western Europe's adversary is at least nationalistically rational, he will not attack that region with nuclear weapons if Europe has disarmed since Western Europe would no longer pose a nuclear threat and since a nuclear attack would destroy much or all of what he would seek to gain by invading. But what if Western Europe's adversary is irrational and wishes to destroy the continent for some non-expansionist reason? Presumably, Western Europe would be vulnerable to such destruction. If a small nuclear arsenal in the hands of the US and/or some of its allies would be an effective tool for dealing with nuclear arsenals in the hands of irrational persons, should the US (and/or its allies) maintain a small nuclear arsenal? As we have seen, although rational opponents could be deterred from launching a nuclear attack by a serious theat of conventional retaliation, irrational opponents may be stopped only by wiping out their nuclear arsenals (with nuclear weapons) before they can use them, so that maintaining a small nuclear arsenal may be a rational means for preventing an attack against a region that is not protected by an effective antimissile system. Such an arsenal may also be rationally used if it is believed that using an antimissile system instead may not prevent all of the damage that a nuclear attack is intended to cause to the country that possesses such a system. Despite the possibility that the US and/or its allies will need a limited nuclear arsenal to wipe out nuclear weapons in the hands of an irrational leader who intends to launch a nuclear attack in the foreseeable future, it is still not clear that it is rational for the US and/or its allies to maintain even a limited nuclear arsenal since any nuclear arsenal entails risks. Besides the danger of nuclear war being initiated by accident or mistake, we should recall that the most obvious risks entailed by using nuclear weapons have to do with the fact that the effects of nuclear explosions are impossible to contain within a small region as well as the fact that crossing the nuclear threshold will invite other nuclear powers to use their nuclear weapons. If these risks are real, it may be rational for the US and its allies to disarm its nuclear arsenals completely. 112  To the same effect, it may be objected that if working towards or possessing exact first strike capability against a large-scale nuclear opponent is very probably irrational, why might possessing a small nuclear arsenal to wipe out small irrational opponents be rational? Surely if the whole world could be defended by an effective antimissile system, it would be rational for countries to give up their nuclear weapons even if some irrational nuclear equipped countries refused to do so. But such a system may be far too costly, so that regions outside the US might be vulnerable if they have no nuclear weapons to protect them against irrational attack, as we have just seen. The difference between exact first strike capability against a large nuclear opponent and the capability to wipe out a limited arsenal in the hands of an irrational controller seems to be one of degree. Whereas the former could lead to a nuclear attack that could bring about the annihilation of life on earth, the latter could presumably be used without causing nearly as serious suffering and destruction. Here again, in deciding whether to maintain a limited nuclear arsenal or to disarm its nuclear weapons completely, the US must weigh the likelihood of nuclear weapons falling into the hands of an irrational and aggressive person who intends to launch a nuclear attack too soon for the US to be able to attempt non-nuclear solutions, against the likelihood that possessing and possibly using some nuclear weapons will bring about unacceptable effects (with both likelihoods multiplied by some measure of expected utility). Since it is quite realistic to expect an irrational political or military leader to intend to use nuclear weapons against the US or one of the US's allies, the deciding factor must be whether or not the US believes that it is able to destroy such nuclear programmes before they become impossible to destroy with conventional means, or whether or not it is able to eliminate the offending leader and his compatriots before they give the order to fire. Although we cannot decide this question for any actual country such as the US, we may recall that budding nuclear arsenals have already been effectively wiped out by non-nuclear means, specifically in Libya. So it seems quite possible that the US and its allies will be able to successfully conduct similar operations in the future. But since future irrational leaders may better conceal and protect their nuclear projects, it is not certain that those projects can be quelled by non-nuclear means. 113  To bring our analysis to a close, let us question how likely it is that actual countries, such as the US, will disarm their nuclear weapons, either completely or to a large extent. In this context it seems not at all certain, and perhaps not even likely, that large-scale disarmament will take place within the foreseeable future. Provided that the arguments of the foregoing analysis are more or less in order, it is irrational for countries not to begin to disarm their nuclear weapons in exchange for better conventional arsenals. Regrettably, however, politicians do not always see it as their duty to bring about the greatest possible well-being in their country, nor indeed, among all living creatures. Instead, they often consider political popularity and partisanship to be their main agenda. All we can hope for as philosophers is, on occasion, to bring them back to their rational bearings.  114  Bibliography Blake, Nigel and Kay Pole, eds. Dangers of Deterrence: Philosophers on Deterrence. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1983. Blake, Nigel and Kay Pole, eds. Objections to Nuclear Defence: Philosophers on Deterrence. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1984. Brandt, Richard B.. A Theory of the Good and the Right. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1979. Booth, Ken. "Unilateralism: A Clausewitzian Reform?" Dangers of Deterrence: Philosophers on Nuclear Strategy. Eds. Nigel Blake and Kay Pole. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1983. Bundy, McGeorge. "Existential Deterrence and Its Consequences." The Security Gamble. Ed. Douglas Maclean. Totowa (NJ): Rowman and Allanheld, 1984. Gauthier, David. "Deterrence, Maximization, and Rationality." Ethics (April 1984): 474-495. Glover, Jonathan. Causing Death and Saving Lives. Harmondsworth (Middlesex): Penguin Books, 1977. Gregory, Shaun. 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Nigel Blake and Kay Pole. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1984.  116  

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