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Is nuclear deterrence rational? Otterstein, Roland O. 1992

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Is Nuclear Deterrence Rational?byROLAND 0. OTTERSTEINB.A., The University of British Columbia, 1990A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENTOF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OFMASTER OF ARTSinTHE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIESDepartment of PhilosophyWe accept this thesis as conforming to therequired standardTHE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIADecember 1992© Roland Otterstein, 1992In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanceddegree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make itfreely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensivecopying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of mydepartment or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying orpublication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my writtenpermission.(Signature)Department of  P&L 751.17/(.. The University of British ColumbiaVancouver, CanadaDate //7(721 DE-6 (2/88)AbstractIn the introduction I give a brief history of the concept of "nucleardeterrence." Next I discuss ways of approaching the subject thatconform to popular views. I reject the Scripture's "an eye for an eye"principle as a basis for nuclear strategy decisions and claim that autilitarian model is acceptable.In Chapter One I discuss cases involving rational opponentswho possess large-scale nuclear capability. The discussion focuses ona refutation and counter argument to David Gauthier's view of thissort of case. I claim that we must adopt a model of decision makingaccording to which individual nuclear acts rather than nuclearpolicies are subjected to rational scrutiny.In Chapter Two I discuss a wide range of nuclear deterrencescenarios and attempt to give a comprehensive analysis of thesubject. I discuss what sorts of factors need to be taken intoconsideration in assessing the rationality of nuclear acts. I constructtables which state under what circumstances initiating or retaliatingagainst an act of nuclear war is rational.In Chapter Three I discuss cases in which a rational countryfaces an irrational opponent, and conclude that, given that nuclearweapons 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 thecapability to wipe out nearly all of their enemy's weapons in a singleattack. I argue that this capability makes nuclear war considerablymore likely to occur so that it is rational to avoid it.In Chapter Five I discuss the possibility of limited nuclearattacks. I argue that while such attacks have some chance of beingpart of rational military strategies, we should concentrate our effortson building highly effective conventional weapons, since these areless dangerous in the long run.I conclude that we should lessen our dependence on nuclearweapons. I claim that in the majority of cases, nuclear disarmamentis the most rational policy.i iCONTENTSAbstract^ P. iiContents p. iiiAcknowledgements^ p. ivIntroduction: Nuclear Deterrence: A Utilitarian Perspective^p. 1Chapter One: Nuclear Deterrence and Full-ScaleWar in a Rational World^ P. 9Chapter Two: Nuclear Deterrence Scenarios p. 29Chapter Three: Confronting an Irrational Opponent^p. 56Chapter Four: Exact First Strike Capability^ p. 71Chapter Five: Limited Nuclear Strikes p. 95Conclusion: What Should We Do Now?^ p.107Bibliography^ p.115i i iAcknowledgementsI would like to express my appreciation to my girlfriend Lisa forsupporting me financially and otherwise throughout my Master ofArts degree and especially during the writing of this thesis. I wouldalso like to thank my family for their ongoing support. At the sametime, I am especially thankful to Dr. R. I. Sikora for the tremendousamount of time he has spent with me in helpful discussion and incriticizing earlier drafts. Finally, I would like to thank Dr. EarlWinkler for reading and criticizing this thesis.ivIntroductionNuclear Deterrence: A UtilitarianPerspectiveAccording to the concept of nuclear deterrence, nuclear war is prevented by thefact that, for each nuclear equipped country, there is at least one adversarywhich threatens to retaliate with nuclear weapons against any nuclear act ofaggression by that country. Since every rational country wishes to avoid beingattacked by nuclear weapons, every rational country will avoid using nuclearweapons against other countries since that use will result in a retaliatorynuclear 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 itsinternational relations are concerned. That is to say, each country is motivatedby greed of wealth and power to infringe upon other countries' territories.Whereas in an organized state there are laws that prohibit such infringementsas well as authorities that enforce these laws, there are no such laws orauthorities between nation-states. Hence in international relations the onlyfactor preventing the many greedy motives from being acted on is fear ofretaliation. In today's world of nuclear weapons, given that these weaponscould 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 Unionhave been the main players in the nuclear arena. From an Am ericanperspective questions of deterrence have primarily been concerned withdeterring the Soviet Union from launching a nuclear attack against the UnitedStates, western Europe, or the Soviet Union's neighbouring regions. From theSoviet perspective questions of deterrence have presumably been concernedmainly with preventing the United States from using its nuclear weaponsagainst it or against other "communist" countries. Chinese nuclear weaponshave posed an additional threat to the Soviet Union despite China's explicit `nofirst use' policy.1Since the Soviet Union no longer exists as a political entity and cantherefore no longer pursue expansionist or other aggressive policies against itsopponents, it might be argued that an analysis of nuclear deterrence is nolonger relevant to the real world. In particular, we might be tempted to think thatsince the United States' main opponent no longer exists, and since the formerSoviet republics need no longer worry about contra-communist attacks giventhat 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 beeninvented, they cannot be "uninvented." What's more, the nuclear weapons thathave been built cannot be made to disappear: even if they can be partlydismantled, they have for the most part not yet been dismantled; even if they aredismantled, they can be redeployed relatively easily should any country thatpossesses such weapons feel the need to do so. In addition, other countriesbesides the United States and the former Soviet Union have nuclear weaponsand may in the future wish to use them. Obviously, what the United States andthe former Soviet Union choose to do with their nuclear arsenals will effectthese lesser nuclear powers' nuclear programmes. In particular, if the twosuperpowers disarm their nuclear arsenals, it is quite possible that one or moreof the lesser nuclear powers will be more likely to use its nuclear weapons thanit was when the the superpowers could be expected to retaliate with nuclearweapons.Given these realities, it is perfectly reasonable and practical for us tocontinue to think about nuclear deterrence. The question then is what form ourdiscussion of this topic should take. It may seem appropriate for us to take thecommon view of nuclear deterrence as a starting point. But what constitutes thecommon view is pretty hard to determine. One view that does come up veryoften, however, and which may actually be the common view, has to do with theidea that if the Soviet Union launched a nuclear attack against it, the UnitedStates would have the right to strike back, according to some generallyaccepted and allegedly moral principle such as the Scripture's "an eye for aneye" principle. This position must be mistaken, however, since we cannot holdthe majority of Soviet citizens, let alone Soviet children, responsible for a Sovietattack against us, yet these persons are certain to suffer if the United Statesretaliates against a Soviet attack.2It could be argued that if persons in the United States were concernedonly for the plight of American people and did not care about the lives of Sovietpersons, then they might reasonably hold that they have a right to retaliateagainst a Soviet nuclear attack. But whereas this point of view might well leadpersons in the United States to advocate retaliating against the Soviets, it ishard to see how doing so could reasonably be seen as a "right." For to say thatX has the right to punish Y seems to imply that Y has done X some harm. And itis clear that most Soviet citizens, especially Soviet children, cannot be heldresponsible for attacking the United States, yet they are the ones that would beharmed 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 isrational 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 nationalwell-being or national happiness.But the beneficiaries of a rational policy need not be only one nation orone country's citizens. Rather, such a policy may be construed to include allnations or all living creatures. This broader view, which is attributed to utilitarianor consequentialist ethics, can be considered to be the "moral" view.Since neither the nationalistic nor the moral view are flawed in asobvious and fundamental a way as the common view which we consideredbriefly above, and since both are also widely accepted among political leaders,military strategists, the general public, and moral philosophers, we will frameour discussion of nuclear deterrence in terms of these two views. Through ourdiscussion it will become clear, that in analyzing nuclear deterrence situations,discovering which policies maximize utility is of extreme importance given thegravity of the consequences of nuclear acts, and should therefore play a centralrole in any such analysis.Given that both the nationalistic and the moral view concern themselveswith discovering which policies are utility maximization and thereby concernthemselves with what is the rational thing to do, our analysis will discussrational policies. However, since not all actual or possible countries are ruledby persons who seek to maximize the happiness of their citizens, nor thehappiness of all living creatures, our analysis will also need to take irrationalpolicies into consideration.3It might be objected that framing our discussion in terms of "rationality"requires us to assume that we know what is "rational." Furthermore, it might beclaimed that what we consider to be rational may seem irrational to otherpersons or to other cultures. A person with this view might ask: Who's to saythat well-being or happiness are more valuable than other goals such as racialor religious dominion?Whereas this objection would probably be justified if we were using theterm "rational" as an evaluative term, saying that it is better to be rational like usthan irrational like them, we will not use this term in that way. Rather, the termwill either stand for persons and policies that aim at maximizing the well-beingof some nation or they will stand for persons and policies that aim at maximizingwell-being for all living creatures. Policies that aim at maximizing some othergoal will, accordingly, be called "irrational." Thus "rational" and "irrational" aredescriptive terms; they are labels for particular types of policy and for sorts ofpersons. So our usage of these terms does not assume that we havediscovered what is, in itself, worth striving for.Having defined "rational" in terms of well-being or happinessmaximization, we should add to this definition by stating that a perfectly"rational" person is not just a "highly intelligent" utilitarian, nor merely someonewho makes careful decisions. In addition, a perfectly rational person is one whois not influenced by logical errors in making his decisions. Although quiterational persons may, on occasion, make decisions involving logical errors,these decisions are irrational, so that the persons making them are not perfectlyrational.While evaluating nuclear policies in terms of rationality and utility maximizationaccords nicely with the approach taken by most political leaders, militarystrategists, and the general public, the conclusions that we reach from ourwhole analysis may not be as widely accepted. In particular, although mostpersons, including political leaders and military strategists, believe that nucleardeterrence programmes are rational because they prevent terrible evil fromoccurring albeit at considerable cost and risk to everyone involved, we will findthat nuclear deterrence policies are clearly irrational in all but a few cases. Thatmeans that the common idea that nuclear deterrence is "costly but necessary" isprobably mistaken, for the "necessity" of such policies is derived from theiralleged usefulness. But since nuclear deterrence policies are irrational and4non-utility-maximizing in most situations, they are also not necessary in thosesituations. Hence it should not be claimed that it is unrealistic to conclude thatdisarmament is our most rational option unless it has has first been shown thatour argument for the view, that nuclear deterrence is irrational in mostsituations, can be refuted.Chapter One is an analysis of the main sort of nuclear deterrence situation thathas existed in the world until now. In particular, it is an attempt to discover whatpolicy is rational, from a nationalistic perspective, for a country such as theUnited States or the former Soviet Union to pursue, given that both countriespossess large-scale nuclear capability. The discussion quickly focuses on thequestion of whether or not it can be rational to threaten to retaliate against alarge-scale nuclear attack. For if it is not rational to threaten such retaliation, itcannot be rational to pursue a policy of nuclear deterrence which entails such athreat. Since this question can be most fairly responded to by considering whatcan be said for and against the rationality of threats of retaliation, the discussioncenters on an evaluation and refutation of David Gauthier's influential argumentin support of threats of retaliation and of nuclear deterrence, which he presentsin Deterrence, Maximization, and Rationality. It is argued that nucleardeterrence is irrational in situations in which both sides are rational nationalisticutilitarians who possess large-scale nuclear arsenals. David Lewis andGregory S. Kavka's arguments against Gauthier are also considered.If pursuing a nuclear deterrence policy is irrational between rationalopponents threatening large-scale retaliation, then it might still be rational insome other cases. Similarly, whereas it may be evident that pursuing such apolicy is irrational in some sorts of cases, there may be other sorts of cases inwhich assessing the rationality of nuclear deterrence is extremely difficult. Inany event, it seems very likely that whether or not nuclear deterrence is rationaldepends upon the situation that obtains. For to find out if a nuclear deterrencepolicy is rational in a given situation, it would seem that we need to askourselves 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 intoaccount, as well as considering information pertaining to his nuclear arsenals.Since nuclear deterrence may be irrational if our opponent is moral or has fewnuclear arms yet rational if he is irrational or well equipped, we must considerthese various possibilities.5Accordingly, Chapter Two is an attempt to list all of the types of realisticnuclear deterrence situations which we need to consider in order to provide acomprehensive analysis of the subject. The chapter begins by discussing whatvariables need to be taken into consideration. Levels and types of armamentare 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 isseen to make a crucial difference. After considering the variables that need tobe taken into account, tables are constructed in which most of the possiblecombinations of these variables are listed. Columns indicate whether initiatingan act of nuclear war or retaliating against such an act is rational or irrational foreither side in each situation. Following these tables is a discussion of therationality/irrationality assignments given in these columns.Chapter Three discusses situations in which a rational nuclear equippedcountry is faced with an irrational opponent. Several examples illustrate thatirrational controllers of nuclear arsenals can be expected to use their nuclearweapons because they consider some goal such as racial or religious dominionto be more important and more valuable than well-being or happiness. It is alsoargued that an irrational person (or persons) is likely to assume control ofnuclear weapons at some time in the future. The conclusion that is reached isthat given that irrational controllers of nuclear arsenals are quite likely to usetheir weapons, and given that it is likely that such persons will exist at some timein 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 haveachieved exact first strike capability, the ability to wipe out all (or nearly all) ofthe enemy's nuclear weapons in one massive strike. It is often claimed, thatsince serious retaliation is not possible in these situations and since both sidesprefer attacking the other side to being attacked, nuclear war is more likely tooccur with exact first strike capability than without it. Our analysis evaluates thispoint of view by looking at whether or not exact first strike capability is reallymore likely to lead to nuclear war than lesser capability or disarmament, and byasking whether exact first strike capability is even a realistic possibility.Arguments presented by Nicholas Measor and by Douglas P. Lackey areappealed to in support of an affirmative answer to these questions. It is seen,however, that the certainty of their arguments must be tempered somewhat bythe fact that even if large-scale retaliation is not possible against an exact firststrike, other factors do still constitute significant deterrents against launching an6exact first strike. But even with these deterrents, nuclear war is still quite likelyto occur if one or more countries believe that they have achieved exact firststrike capability and/or if they believe that their opponent has achieved suchcapability or will do so in the near future. So obviously we should do everythingin our power to prevent exact first strike capability from being achieved.Chapter Five discusses the possibility of limited nuclear attacks andlimited nuclear capability. Since limited attacks are likely to cause less seriousglobal damage than are large-scale nuclear attacks, they stand a better chanceof being part of rational military strategies. That small nuclear arsenals areuseful for deterrent and tactical purposes ("tactical" referring to operationscalculated to gain some end) is a view that is supported by Bernard Williamsand partly also by Jeff McMahan. If sophisticated conventional weapons turnout to be adequate for deterrent and tactical purposes, however, it may berational to adopt such weapons instead of a limited nuclear arsenal since usingnuclear weapons is likely to have more serious long term and more widespreadbad effects than are conventional weapons. This point of view is argued for byKen Booth, who claims that Europe, if not the United States, should disarm itsnuclear arsenals and develop its conventional capability. After examiningBooth's argument, it is concluded that since we cannot authoritatively determinewhether or not Booth's claims are correct, we cannot say for sure that limitednuclear attacks are never rational. Indeed, they may seem completely rationalagainst imminent enemy nuclear attacks. Even so, there are several reasonsfor doubting that it can be rational to actually use nuclear weapons.The concluding chapter tries to bring together the conclusions ofChapters One, Three, Four, and Five and attempts to come up with a unifiedrecommendation. Complete certainty is not within our reach, however, giventhat we cannot be sure about the outcomes of particular and so far untestedalternatives to the sort of nuclear deterrence policies that have been pursued forthe last few decades.In the rationality tables and throughout the following chapters it is oftenassumed that there are only two countries with nuclear capability and that eithercountry has only one nuclear opponent. This assumption is made for the sakeof simplicity, and we might well be led to believe that it leads to an oversimplified depiction of the world. But since this assumption is not made in ourdiscussion of situations in which there being more than one nuclear equipped7country is really significant, the assumption should not be viewed astroublesome. Much of the analysis would be more lengthy without beingessentially any different if we refrained from making this assumption throughoutthe inquiry.Given that the United States (US) and the Soviet Union (SU) havetraditionally been the main players in the nuclear arena, many illustrations aregiven that describe the US and the SU as nuclear equipped opponents despitethe fact that the Soviet Union no longer exists as a political entity. The mainreason for this is a practical one: since many of the articles which we will refer toin the course of this enquiry were written before the collapse of the SovietUnion, many illustrate their claims by referring to the "US" and "SU." In order toavoid confusion and to achieve a reasonable level of consistency, we will stickto this convention where appropriate.8Chapter OneNuclear Deterrence and Full-Scale Warin a Rational WorldIt is commonly believed that the nuclear weapons which the superpowerspossess and the nuclear deterrence policies which they pursue are dangerousyet necessary. Thus it is held that while nuclear deterrence is an evil, it is lessloathsome than being attacked or invaded by other nuclear powers such as theformer Soviet Union. For although nuclear deterrence policies could lead to anall 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 nuclearattack against us or our allies.This way of thinking, which is perhaps most suited to "cold war" scenariosalthough it has outlived the cold war itself, rests on the view that nucleardeterrence is the most rational policy for countries like the US to pursue. It isthe most rational policy because it effectively deters the enemy from achievinghis expansionist goals, more effectively than any more submissive policy woulddo. But what if we discovered that the nuclear deterrence policies pursued bythe superpowers are actually irrational, in that they would not be effectiveamong fully rational and informed opponents? It would seem that we wouldconclude that nuclear deterrence must be given up in exchange for a morerational policy.As we will see later, despite the apparent advantages of deterrencepolicies, pursuing them is indeed irrational in situations involving the sort oflarge-scale nuclear attacks that would most likely occur between thesuperpowers if nuclear war broke out between them, since it is psychologicallyimpossible for a rational person to retaliate against a full-scale nuclear attack.Consequently, it is also psychologically impossible for a rational persons tosincerely form the intention to retaliate against such an attack, an intention onwhich most deterrence policies depend. We will see that given thepsychologically impossible demands that deterrence policies make in large-scale nuclear warfare situations, it is irrational for a country to try to adopt such a9policy. Subsequent to this analysis we will be able to judge whether or not thenuclear deterrence policies that modern countries pursue are rational orirrational.We will begin by considering nuclear deterrence policies from theperspective of a country wishing to prevent its enemy from launching a large-scale nuclear attack against it. We will argue that it is irrational for such acountry to adopt a policy of nuclear retaliation. In order to make a convincingcase for this point of view we will consider counter-arguments to DavidGauthier's influential argument for the rationality of deterrence, which hepresents in "Deterrence, Maximization, and Rationality." After the counter-arguments we will take a closer look at Gauthier's argument in order to revealthe crucial flaws contained in it.At the outset, let us take a look at Gauthier's arguments against the view that it isirrational (defined in terms of preference satisfaction) to retaliate against large-scale nuclear attacks. Gauthier summarizes the argument that he wishes todispute as follows:The argument against the rationality of nuclear retaliation, or more generally against thedeterrent policy, has this structure: it is not utility maximizing to carry out the non-submissive, retaliatory intention; therefore it is not rational so to act; therefore it is notrational to form the intention; therefore a rational person cannot sincerely express theintention; therefore another rational informed person cannot be deterred by theexpression of the intention(Gauthier, 479).We should note that this argument starts with an evaluation of the rationality ofthe act of retaliation and derives an evaluation of the rationality of forming theintention to retaliate from the evaluation of the act. How does Gauthier argueagainst this seemingly plausible argument?Gauthier considers possible reasons in support of the claim thatdeterrence policies are irrational between rational opponents threatening large-scale nuclear retaliation. We are to imagine two actors, A and B. A wishes todeter B from committing some aggressive act against A by expressing aconditional intention to retaliate. A expects her expression of the conditionalintention to deter B from the act in question by affecting B's beliefs about herpreferences and actions, since both know that rational actors such as10themselves act so as to maximize utility by fulfilling their preferences given theirbeliefs(474-5).How could A's expression of the intention to retaliate be effective indeterring B from committing the aggressive act against her? Presumably Bwishes to avoid retaliation, and expects that A will keep her word and willretaliate if he commits the aggressive act against her. But why should B expectA to keep her word? Perhaps B knows that A wishes to have the reputation ofbeing a woman of her word in the hope that in future similar situations B will bemore inclined to take her seriously. It would seem then, that on the conditionthat A wishes to be a woman of her word, B could be deterred from committingthe act in question by A's expression of the conditional intention to retaliate. ButGauthier's opponents claim that this analysis is mistaken.Since A is rational she will always act in the way that best fulfills herpreferences. It follows that the only reputation that she can have is that of beinga utility maximizer. So she cannot have the reputation of being a woman of herword, and will not act so as to give herself that reputation, unless sticking to herword and maximizing utility just happen to coincide (and even then her goal isto maximize utility, not to act on her word). As Gauthier asserts, "[i]f carrying outan expressed intention is not itself utility maximizing, then it can have no effecton the expectations of rational and informed persons [such as Bj". So it wouldseem that if retaliation is not what A prefers, her expression of the conditionalintention to retaliate cannot reasonably deter B from committing the aggressiveact against her, for he will know that she will do what she prefers rather thanretaliating. We should conclude that deterrence is not possible in a rationalworld whenever retaliation is not preferred.The same argument can be considered in a real world context. At leastuntil recently, the United States (US) feared that the Soviet Union (SU) wouldlaunch a nuclear first strike. The US sought to deter the SU from carrying outsuch an attack. According to the doctrine of Mutual Assured Destruction, thismay have been done by the US announcing the intention to retaliate againstany SU nuclear strike, even if this would provoke full-scale nuclear warfare andmassive or complete destruction. But it would seem that retaliation with nuclearweapons is an irrational policy, for the US would surely prefer less nucleardevastation to more, and would therefore prefer not to retaliate if the SU shouldinitiate a nuclear strike. Since nuclear retaliation would quite possibly result inthe annihilation of life on Earth, there would quite possibly be no relevant future11in 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 tofuture expectations, nuclear retaliation lacks such a rationale. Retaliation [inthis 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 wouldseem that if not retaliating is preferred to retaliating, a threat to retaliate cannotbe credible so that deterrence policies between the superpowers cannot beeffective.But Gauthier turns this argument on its head, contending instead that ifforming the intention to retaliate is rational, then acting on it is also rational. Inother words, he argues that if the policy of retaliating against a nuclear firststrike is rational, then the act of retaliation can itself be rational. Gauthiermaintains that the above argument against the rationality of nuclear deterrencewas reached by deriving the rationality of the act of retaliation from therationality of forming the intention to retaliate, an approach which he claims ismistaken.In justifying his way of evaluating the rationality of deterrence, Gauthierstates that:The key to understanding deterrence... is that in interaction, the probability that anindividual will be in a given situation or type of situation may be affected by the beliefsof others about what that individual would do in the situation. B's willingness to put Ain a situation, to face A with a choice, will be affected by his belief about how she willact 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 thesituation in which she must retaliate, given her previous conditional intention toretaliate if B commits an aggressive act against her, is affected by B's taking thatconditional intention into account. Now if A prefers above all not to be B's victimand would, other things being equal, prefer non-retaliation to retaliation, then inorder for retaliation to be rational for her she must believe that forming theconditional intention to retaliate will sufficiently reduce the probability of B actingaggressively against her to off-balance the hardship that she will experience ifher expression of the intention to retaliate fails to deter B.Gauthier illustrates this claim by asking us to suppose that B is auniversity professor who lives in Boston and is offered a position in Dallas. Hiswife, A, would like to deter B from accepting the position, so that even thoughshe would actually prefer to accompany him to Dallas, she tells him that she will12retaliate against his accepting the position by leaving him and staying inBoston. "Then if A is indifferent between a lottery that would offer a 70 percentchance that B would stay in Boston and a 30 percent chance that he would goalone to Dallas, and the Certainty that both would go to Dallas, .7 is a minimumrequired probability for deterrent success. If A supposes that there is a 50percent chance that B will accept the appointment in Dallas if she willaccompany him, but only a 10 percent chance... [if she won't], then theproportionate decrease effected by deterrence in the probability that he willaccept the appointment is (.5 - .1)/.5, or .8"(485). Since .8 is greater that .7, it isrational for her to adopt the deterrent policy, even if it means that she will haveto leave her husband should he accept the position in Dallas.We may conclude, in general, that the benefits of succeeding at deterringsomeone from committing some undesired act must be weighed against thecosts of failed deterrence, and only the probability of the undesired actoccurring both with and without deterrence, weighed against the intervalmeasure of utility which gives us the minimum probability necessary fordeterrent success, will tell us whether non-deterrence or deterrence is rational.Gauthier concludes that his argument "refutes the claim that deterrence isnecessarily an irrational policy because carrying out the deterrent intention isnot utility maximizing"(486). Whereas the argument that Gauthier contestsrejects deterrence because there are costs involved if deterrence fails,Gauthier's argument recognizes that there are such costs, but relates them tothe benefits of deterrent success in order to determine the rationality of formingthe conditional intention to retaliate. Thus Gauthier's argument quitereasonably recommends that countries making nuclear strategy decisionscompare the costs and benefits of whole policies rather than weighing the costsand benefits of individual nuclear acts. For whereas acts of retaliation mayseem irrational when they are considered separately and in isolation, theywould be thought to be rational by anyone who sees them as parts of generaland utility maximizing nuclear deterrence policies.It would seem, then, that nuclear deterrence policies and the acts of retaliationthat these policies entail are rational so long as we have sufficient foresight anda broad enough understanding of military programmes to see that acts ofnuclear war must be evaluated on a policy by policy rather than an act by actbasis. But we might well find this conclusion troublesome, especially if we13believe that retaliating against a large-scale nuclear attack would only makethings worse for everyone involved, so that it must be irrational. Is Gauthier'sanalysis really any better than the one that he has attempted to refute? Let usconsider a counter-argument to Gauthier's view that will give us good reason tosearch for flaws in his argument. In particular, let us consider reasons forrejecting the view which is essential to Gauthier's argument that nucleardeterrence policies that entail retaliating in situations in which doing so wouldserve no useful purpose are appropriately evaluated on a policy by policy ratherthan an act by act basis.We may proceed by claiming that in radically non-iterative (or non-repeatable) situations, we judge the rationality of our actions case by caserather than on the basis of general policies. In other words, in cases which willnever be repeated we judge the rationality of the action from the time at which itis performed. As Gauthier acknowledges, this way of judging rationality, thisway of calculating utility, is common among economists, decision theorists, andgame theorists. But Gauthier claims that this approach is misguided. He statesthat:the fully rational actor is not the one who assesses her actions from now but, rather, theone who subjects the largest, rather than the smallest, segment of her activity to primaryrational scrutiny, proceeding from policies to performances, letting assessment of thelatter be ruled by assessment of the former (488, italics mine).The claim here seems to be that following rational policies is more likely tosatisfy ones preferences (and to maximize utility) than is following rationalprocedures case by case. Is this a plausible view?It might seem that Gauthier is recommending a rule utilitarian decisionprocedure instead of an act utilitarian one. In general, reasons for preferring theformer to the latter are strong. As R.B. Brandt has argued, a society of actutilitarians would be deficient in several ways. Firstly, although it might initiallyseem 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 ofintelligence would probably fare very badly by following such a rule, for wewould be hopelessly incompetent at identifying which acts would actuallymaximize utility. Furthermore, figuring out which acts have this feature wouldeither be extremely inaccurate or extremely time consuming. In either case,decision-making would be an inefficient process. Secondly, the reasoning14involved in figuring out which acts would maximize utility would be complex andwould 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 expensecould frequently be done without being noticed. Thirdly, it would be verydifficult to predict what other persons in such a society will do, and knowing thisis often important. If, for instance, I could not predict whether or not you willrepay a loan to me since you will only do so if you figure that repaying the loanwill maximize utility, then I will surely not give you a loan. Likewise, in an actutilitarian society, I could not count on you fulfilling a promise, or refraining frominjuring me, provided that breaking promises and injuring people is sometimesutility maximizing(Brandt, 271-274).Brandt's three reasons for questioning the adequacy of an act utilitariandecision procedure seem conclusive in the context of ordinary persons makingordinary decisions. It may well be that Gauthier has some such reasons in mindwhen 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 bycase on rational performances. But do such reasons really apply to the sort ofcase in question? Since Gauthier is discussing fully rational persons, and notthe average sort of person, we might well question whether Brandt's reasons, orothers like them, apply to Gauthier's case. For it would seem that fully rationaland informed persons could presumably maximize utility case by case withouthaving difficulty making the necessary calculations, without rationalizing in theirown favour, and without having trouble predicting each other's actions. In short,the sort of reasons against adopting an act utilitarian decision procedure whichapply in an average society do not apply in a fully rational and informed one.Moreover, as Brandt acknowledges, there may be situations in our actualsociety in which it is highly appropriate to decide how to act case by case ratherthan policy by policy. Radically non-iterative situations, such as those involvedin nuclear warfare, seem to be cases in point.Why would the strategic decisions of the nuclear weapons equippedsuperpowers call for case by case utility calculations? Precisely because anysingle move could result in massive destruction and the annihilation of life onEarth, so that each move must be calculated for its effects on utility. There mayjust not be enough cases of a similar sort to warrant deciding on rationalpolicies or rules, since any single move could result in the elimination of thepossibility of future similar cases. It would seem, then, that Gauthier's claim that15fully rational persons subject policies rather than performances to rationalscrutiny does not apply to the sort of case under considerations, although it maywell apply to cases of conventional or limited nuclear strikes.This would mean that fully rational persons deciding on whether or not toretaliate against a nuclear strike, given a failed deterrent policy, would notchoose to retaliate if doing so is not, in itself, what they prefer. In makingdecisions such as whether or not to retaliate with nuclear weapons, it is notrational to carry out a conditional intention to retaliate just because doing so ispart of an existing deterrence policy, since decisions of such weight are morerationally decided on their own merits rather than on the merits of generalpolicies by which they could be entailed. To act on the conditional intentionwould be 'rule worshiping,' and irrational.Perhaps Gauthier would object to this argument by reminding us that ifadopting a deterrence policy is likely to lead to a happier world than if we do notadopt 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 notbe 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 antecedentof the conditional intention come true. In nuclear strategy situations, in whichfully rational persons decide case by case, any assertion of the conditionalintention to retaliate would not be credible unless retaliation is preferred. Soexpressing the intention to retaliate would serve no purpose, and would thus beirrational. Hence nuclear deterrence cannot work in a fully rational andinformed world in which retaliation is not preferred.Gauthier's argument for the view that deterrence is rational, even insituations of large-scale nuclear attacks, hinges on a model of rationality whichis inappropriate for nuclear strategy situations involving threats of large-scalenuclear retaliation. If we adopt the correct model, namely the one underlyingthe argument which Gauthier has argued against, we must conclude thatpursuing a policy of nuclear deterrence against large-scale nuclear attacks isirrational. How shall we determine whether our point of view or Gauthier's is thecorrect one? Let us take a closer look at Gauthier's argument. We will see thatit is, in fact, unacceptable.Throughout his argument against his opponents, Gauthier's strong point seemsto be that if it is rational to form the intention to retaliate against a nuclear attack,16it is also rational to act on that intention by retaliating. For it is clearly true that ifit is rational for me to intend to t if X, then, everything remaining equal, if X occurit is rational for me to t. To say otherwise would clearly be inconsistent.Since he is able to establish this point against his opponents, Gauthierpresents 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 intentionit is rational to act on the intention; [4] therefore a rational person can sincerely expressthe intention; [5] therefore another rational and informed person can be deterred by theexpression of the intention(479-480, numbering mine).From what we have just seen, it is clear that we must accept the third premise ofthis argument. Let us also grant that the first premise is acceptable. But we willvery 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, wewill have to reject his implied conclusion that nuclear deterrence, even againstlarge-scale nuclear attacks, can be rational. This will enable us to determinethat the argument that Gauthier has attempted to refute, which recommendsevaluating the rationality of nuclear deterrence policies from the moments atwhich 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 thisnuclear age we may well be tempted to reiterate the claim that to intend toretaliate against a nuclear attack would be crazy if retaliating would probablyresult in the annihilation of life on Earth. But besides the fact that this point ofview, though different than Gauthier's, does not refute his argument, Gauthiercould remind us that in order to resort to this claim we must have failed toconsider the benefit of deterrent policies, namely probable relative stabilitybetween the superpowers and globally. That this stability would be possiblewithout deterrent policies, which entail taking the risk of having to retaliate, maybe unlikely.Clearly, the argument that nuclear deterrence is actually rational rests onthe claim that relative global stability is a sufficiently great benefit to risk nucleardevastation, provided that the probability of the former occurring is substantiallyhigher than the probability of the latter occurring. If nuclear deterrencedrastically reduces the chance of nuclear war occurring, then it would seem tobe rational to adopt a policy of nuclear deterrence, even against large-scaleattacks.17Yet we need not accept the view that nuclear deterrence is rational evenin situations in which retaliating would cause more harm than good sinceGauthier's second premise is faulty. In particular, R.I. Sikora points out 1 thatpremise [2], which states that "it may be rational to form such an intention" (seeabove), is ambiguous. Moreover, it must be interpreted in one way to beentailed by [1] "it may be utility maximizing to form the nonsubmissive,retaliatory intention," and it must be interpreted in another way in order tosupport [4] and [5], the claims that "a rational person can sincerely express theintention" and that therefore "another rational and informed person can bedeterred by the expression of the intention." Specifically, in order to be entailedby [1], [2] must be construed to mean [a] that it is rational to intend to retaliate ifyou can intend to retaliate. But [a] is not strong enough to entail the rest of theargument. Yet in order for [2] to entail [4] and [5], it must be construed to meanthat [b] you can in a rational state intend to retaliate. But this does not followfrom [1].Gauthier could make his argument valid by changing it to: "[1 a] it may beutility 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 onlyform the intention but do so when you are rational, it is rational to act on theintention. [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 theexpression of the intention"(Sikora). However, as we will see presently, [4a]and [4b] are false since it is psychologically impossible in a rational state tointend to retaliate in the sort of case in question. The same could be said aboutGauthier's premise [4]. We will conclude that Gauthier's argument, whether inthe original or in the revised form, is invalid. The view that is it ispsychologically impossible for a rational person to rationally form the intentionto retaliate against a large-scale nuclear attack.Sikora provides an example that brings out the flaw in Gauthier'sargument . We are to imagine that the US president knows that, for religiousreasons, Ayatollah K plans to use his limited number of nuclear weapons, withina week, to wipe out Hawaii. In order to deter Ayatollah K from bombing Hawaii,1These arguments were presented in a seminar in which I participated at theUniversity of British Columbia. As far as I know they have not beenpublished.18he must threaten to retaliate with a type of nerve gas that will eventually causeall living creatures to suffer an agonizing death. The chances that Ayatollah willbe deterred by this threat are millions to one.Sikora now argues that it would be irrational and psychologicallyimpossible to form the intention to retaliate. For "in order to intend to retaliateyou would have to believe that you would retaliate," and it is just not possible tobelieve that you would actually retaliate or want to retaliate if doing so will wipeout all life on Earth. It would be terribly irrational to decide to retaliate in thatsituation.It might be objected that some persons would be able to bringthemselves to retaliate in that situation. It would seem, though, that such aperson 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 ofretaliation, with the idea of rationality tied to utility maximization, we are notconcerned with the sort of person who is irrational by virtue of not caring aboututility. So this objection fails as an objection to the claim that it would beirrational, in our sense, to retaliate.Sikora brings out the point that to retaliate would be irrational andpsychologically impossible by asking us to imagine a non-rational retaliationmachine. This machine would retaliate against pre-selected sorts of attack, andwould be impossible to stop from retaliating during a certain period.Alternatively, we may prefer to imagine taking a drug that causes us to besufficiently irritable and irrational so that we would ourselves retaliate againstthe bombing of Hawaii. In either case, Sikora concedes that it would be rationalto activate the machine or to take the drug and to tell Ayatollah about it, sincethe chance that he would be deterred by this threat would be very great. ButSikora insists, quite reasonably, that without such a machine or drug, retaliationwould be impossible.Sikora observes that it may be objected that if it is psychologicallypossible to activate the machine it is also psychologically possible to retaliate inthe absence of the machine. But "in activating the machine or taking the drug Iwould be running a minute risk of bringing about a horrible consequence inorder to prevent something less bad but still bad enough to justify taking thechance, while in retaliating if the deterrence failed, I would be certain of bringingabout a horrible consequence with no redeeming features"(Sikora). Hence thisobjection must also fail.19Clearly, Sikora's arguments refute Gauthier's second and fourthpremises, and with them the claim that if the benefits of nuclear deterrence aresufficiently great, it is rational for us to adopt a policy of nuclear deterrence. Forif it is psychologically impossible to act on the intention to retaliate against alarge-scale nuclear attack and it is psychologically impossible to believe that wewould act on that intention, then we could not sincerely form and express theintention to retaliate. Thus nuclear deterrence would be an irrational policy toattempt to pursue (unless we invented a retaliation machine or drug and judgedthat, even with the added risks entailed by using such a machine or drug,nuclear deterrence is the utility maximizing policy. But this scenario takes ustoo far away from Gauthier's argument to warrant further consideration.)Someone might claim that quite rational persons who are highlyintelligent and make careful decisions might nevertheless fail to see the logicalerrors in Gauthier's argument and may therefore adopt a policy of nucleardeterrence. It might seem that if such intelligent and careful decision makerswould adopt a policy of nuclear deterrence, then such a policy would berational. But as was mentioned in the introduction, persons who makedecisions that involve logical errors are not perfectly rational since suchdecisions are irrational. Therefore when intelligent and careful decision makerschoose nuclear deterrence, given that they must commit a logical error in doingso, we cannot say that nuclear deterrence is rational on the grounds that suchpersons would choose it.In defense of nuclear deterrence we may want to consider whether it could berational to pursue a policy of nuclear deterrence that is based on insincerethreats of retaliation. This idea is supported by Jonathan Glover, who wishes toretain the advantages of deterrence policies despite the irrationality of actuallyretaliating. He argues against the rationality of retaliating by pointing out thatafter a large scale attack on a country, "[i]t is too late to avoid the catastrophicdamage to the victim country, and so retaliation would merely double the size ofthe catastrophe to no useful purpose"(Glover, 265). Glover argues that sinceretaliating is irrational, sincerely threatening to retaliate is unjustified. Butinsincerely threatening may not be, for it may be the only way of avoiding alarge-scale nuclear attack on one's country.Does this view successfully get around the claim that nuclear deterrenceis irrational because retaliating would cause nothing but tremendous suffering20and would consequently be psychologically impossible? At the outset weshould note that Gauthier does not consider insincere threats since he isconcerned with fully informed persons. And if B knows that A's threats ofretaliation are insincere, then A's threats will serve no purpose. But since ourpurpose should ultimately be to discover whether or not nuclear deterrence isrational in the real world, and since insincere threats may be effective in the realworld, we may want to disregard Gauthier's restriction in order to show thatnuclear deterrence policies can be rational in the real world.But insincere threats bring about serious problems. As Jeff McMahanpoints out, insincerely threatening to retaliate against a large-scale nuclearattack requires the threatener to keep the insincerity of his threat secret sinceotherwise the insincerity would be detected by the enemy. But political leaders'keeping their real intentions secret goes against the fundamental goals ofdemocracy, so that doing so is very hard to justify in a democratically ruledcountry such as the US.Another problem with insincere threats is that the deception can be tooeffective. 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 ssubordinates may go ahead with what they believe to be official policy, and mayretaliate. And even if the president is not killed but is voted out of office, hisfollower may be convinced by the deception. It might seem that the presidentshould avoid these possible risks by telling enough people about his realintentions. But if more people than just the president (and perhaps his closestfellow politicians and military leaders) know that he will actually not give theorder to retaliate if his country has been attacked, then there is greater dangerof the enemy discovering this fact.And what if the enemy does find out about the insincerity? It is quitepossible that in that case the enemy will launch an attack against the insincerethreatener since the enemy will no longer be afraid of retaliation. Threateninginsincerely unavoidably entails the risk of the enemy finding out about thedeception. So threatening insincerely is a less reliable deterrent thanthreatening sincerely. It does not follow, of course, that insincere threats are notbetter than no threats at all. Nevertheless, since insincere threats are not areliable form of deterrence, it is unlikely that any country will be satisfied with thelow level of security that they can achieve by issuing insincere threats. As a21result, they will prefer deterrence strategies that do not rely on threats ofretaliation against large-scale nuclear attacks.We may therefore reasonably conclude that since maintaining nucleardeterrence on the basis of insincere threats is not a very realistic possibility, itcannot be rational to pursue a policy of nuclear deterrence that relies on threatsof retaliation against large-scale nuclear attacks, whether these threats besincere or insincere.Whereas Gauthier maintains that both forming the intention to retaliate andacting on that intention are rational, David Lewis and Gregory S. Kavka hold adifferent view. They agree with Gauthier that forming the intention to retaliate isrational, but disagree with him in holding that the act of carrying out the intentionis nonetheless irrational. How do they support this unusual and seeminglyinconsistent view?Lewis maintains that "paradoxes of deterrence" -- that is, situations inwhich it would seem to serve our purpose to form an intention which it would notserve our purpose to carry out -- tell us that it may sometimes be "rational tocommit oneself to irrational behaviour"(Lewis, 143). To deny Gauthier's claimthat such a view is inconsistent, Lewis asserts that the rationality of forming theintention and the rationality of carrying it out are quite appropriately evaluatedseparately, since the intention and the act are separate things. For "[T]o form anintention today is one thing. To retaliate tomorrow is something else"(144).Lewis considers the practical implications of his view by discussing howwe would judge one person, say the Commander-in-Chief of the AmericanArmed Forces, who both forms and carries out the intention to retaliate against amassive Soviet attack. Is he rational or irrational, good or evil? Lewis avoidsforming a single judgement of this person by suggesting that we do not reallyneed one. For persons like the Commander-in-Chief are a "strange mixture orgood 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 opposingjudgements, Lewis puts our minds to rest by claiming that such judgementswould not occur in the real world. Arguing about paradoxes of deterrence is"good fun for philosophers. But... it has nothing to do with the nucleardeterrence that our country faces"(147). However, this assertion, that22paradoxes of deterrence would never actually occur, is an empirical claim . Weshould be led to wonder what evidence Lewis has in support of it.Lewis argues that we are terribly ignorant about what would happen in anuclear war as well as about what life would be like after its occurrence. Sincewe are so ignorant, we could never be sure that retaliating against a massivenuclear attack would not be in our interest. Hence we could never findourselves in the paradoxical situation of having sincerely expressed theintention to retaliate against a massive nuclear attack, being massivelyattacked, and acting on the intention even if we know that it is not in ourinterests 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 byacknowledging that we could never be sure about the effects of a massivenuclear attack, we may disagree with his opinion that we could not have goodreason to believe that retaliating against such an attack would be irrational.Given our knowledge of the damage caused by the nuclear attacks andaccidents that have occurred, and given our knowledge of the ever-increasingpower and accuracy of nuclear weapons, we should be able to infer, to a highlevel of probability, that a massive nuclear attack would have sufficiently badconsequences for animals (including persons) and the environment to makeretaliation not worthwhile. Increasing the extent of nuclear devastation byretaliating would make it more difficult for any survivors to find refuge in someless devastated and more inhabitable part of the planet, To the same effect,retaliating would increase the bad effects of fallout around the world, includingin the region of the retaliating nation. Thus even from a purely self-interested ornationalistic perspective, retaliation would be irrational.Although Lewis might agree with the claim that retaliating against amassive nuclear attack would be irrational, he could still claim that theCommander-in-Chief would not be in a position to know that an attack againsthis country was "massive." As we have seen, Lewis has argued that suchinformation would be unavailable to him.But in order to defend this claim Lewis would have to give us reason tobelieve that the communication systems in America would be so seriouslydamaged, even after a limited nuclear attack, that the Commander-in-Chiefwould be unable to assess the damage. But Lewis gives us no reason tobelieve that this would be the case. He acknowledges that his factual claims23are based largely on an article by McGeorge Bundy entitled "ExistentialDeterrence and Its Consequences." But nowhere does Bundy argue that theCommander-in-Chief would be unable to assess the damage of a nuclearattack. His argument is meant to show that neither superpower knows whatstrategy the other would follow in commencing a nuclear war. That they wouldalso be ignorant about their opponent's strategy after it has been implementedis a claim that Bundy does not make, and one for which Lewis would have toprovide additional evidence if he wanted us to accept it. Given that Lewis givesus no such evidence, he must consider his factual claims to be evident. Wehave seen, however, that they are neither evident nor plausible.We may conclude, that if Lewis wishes to hold the view that forming theintention to retaliate against a massive nuclear attack is rational even if carryingout the intention is not, he must accept the possibility that situations may arise inwhich it is necessary to make very awkward twofold and opposing judgements.To argue that the Commander-in-Chief would be unable to infer enough aboutthe nature and extent of the damage caused by a nuclear attack to know thatretaliation would be irrational, simply because such an attack has neveroccurred, seems to attribute an implausibly low level of existing knowledge tothe relevant experts, knowledge which could provide them with pretty goodgrounds from which to project probably outcomes of a nuclear attack. That anysuch projections would be less than perfectly accurate is likely but of littleconsequence for our purposes, since we are arguing against the claim that itwould be impossible to determine the rationality of retaliating after a massiveattack. For we should recognize that so long as we know that an attack isindeed massive we know enough to know whether or not to retaliate. We neednot know exactly how massive it is. So we may reject Lewis's argument to theeffect that paradoxes of deterrence are unlikely to occur.But how plausible is his view that an intention can be rational even if theact of carrying it our may not be? If the above argument against Gauthier'smodel 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 rationalpersons to retaliate against a large-scale nuclear attack, we need not acceptGauthier's model of rationality. And according to our alternative model, neitherthe act of carrying out the conditional intention to retaliate against a massivenuclear attack, nor the intention itself, are rational. To recapitulate ourargument, given that persons making nuclear strategy decisions act rationally24by assessing each single move for its utility and by acting on that assessment, ifit would not be utility maximizing for them to act on a conditional intention toretaliate, then it would also not be rational for them to form the intention. Forasserting such an intention would not be credible, so that forming the intentionwould serve no purpose. Hence we may reject not only Lewis's factual claimsabout paradoxes of deterrence but also his model of rationality.Before turning to Kavka's arguments, let us briefly consider a responsewhich Gauthier makes to Lewis's arguments in "Responses to the Paradox ofDeterrence." There Gauthier argues against the assertion that persons whoform and act on the intention to retaliate against massive nuclear attacks areboth "benefactors of us all" and "evil... fiends in human shape." Gauthier claimsthat it would be psychologically impossible to be in such a position, for "[i]f Iknow... 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? Itseems clear to me that it is not possible"(Kavka and Gauthier, 160).Although it is a significant achievement to show that Lewis's model ofrationality rests on an implausible analysis of human psychology, a nachievement for which Gauthier's argument deserves credit, what is moreimportant for the purpose of this essay is that Gauthier, in making this argument,acknowledges that the fourth premise of his argument for the rationality ofnuclear deterrence is false. In particular, he recognizes that it is psychologicallyimpossible to sincerely express the intention or to act on it when one knows thatacting on it would have terrible consequences. He insists, however, that even ifa person knows that retaliating against a massive nuclear attack would havesuch consequences and even if he is psychologically incapable of forming theintention to retaliate, it is still rational for him to form the intention and to act onit. This position is clearly implausible, however, since it is logically impossiblefor there to be creatures who could rationally form the intention to retaliate(which entails believing that they would retaliate) while at the same timebelieving that they would maximize utility by not retaliating should theantecedent 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, therecannot be creatures who hold both beliefs at once. Consequently, Gauthier'sacknowledgement of the fact, that nuclear deterrence policies that entailretaliating against large-scale nuclear attacks make psychologically impossibledemands, should encourage us to adopt our alternative model of rationality25according to which the intention to retaliate and the act or carrying out theintention are irrational.Let us finally consider Kavka's arguments against Gauthier. Since Kavka holdsbasically the same model of rationality as does Lewis, and since we have seenthat Lewis's is implausible, we need not consider Kavka's model. But Kavkadoes give some interesting arguments against Gauthier. In particular, Kavkaargues 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'swillingness to carry out one's retaliatory threats once deterrence h asfailed"(Kavka and Gauthier, 156). Kavka now suggests that whereas it istempting 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 long-range deterrent effects which may render retaliation rational in the repeatablecontext are by definition, either absent or outweighed in the problematicdeterrent situations"(156).Kavka's argument is particularly interesting since it nicely supports theearlier argument against Gauthier, that in radically non-iterative situations, suchas those involved in massive nuclear attacks, the rationality of actions should beassessed case by case rather than policy by policy. We may recall that thereason given for this view was that "any single move [of the superpowersmaking nuclear strategy decisions] could result in massive destruction and theannihilation of life on Earth, so that each move must be calculated for its effectson utility. There may just not be enough cases of a similar sort to warrantdeciding on rational policies or rules, since any single move is likely to result inthe elimination of the possibility of future similar cases"(see above). Clearly,Kavka's argument against Gauthier supports this view and thereby underminesGauthier's argument in support of nuclear deterrence.In addition to the above argument, Kavka makes an observation thatdispels any lingering sympathy for Lewis's claims that paradoxes of deterrenceare unlikely to actually arise. Specifically, although Kavka believes thatparadoxes 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 contingencynuclear war plans do involve obliteration-type retaliation against the Soviets....This belief is reinforced by George Quester's remarks to the effect that the US26has weapons assigned to cover virtually every conceivable military andindustrial target in the USSR -- with the obliteration of Soviet society thepredictable result of a high percentage of these targets being hit"(157). Kavkareaches the plausible conclusion that paradoxes of deterrence do arise insome, though not all, of our nuclear strategies. Lewis's denial of the possibilityof such cases occurring seems unrealistic given the number and sophisticationof nuclear weapons possessed by both superpowers. His claim to the effectthat deterrence paradoxes are insignificant fabrications can therefore berejected.Let us conclude this chapter by stating that Gauthier's argument in favour ofnuclear deterrence fails. We have refuted his argument by recognizing that it ispsychologically impossible for a rational person to retaliate or to form theintention to retaliate, since retaliation would have terrible results and wouldperhaps even cause the annihilation of life on Earth. Although the view that ifdeterrence would maximize utility then retaliation must also be rational, at firstseems plausible, our counter argument has shown us that Gauthier's position isgrounded on a model of rational decision-making that does not suit the sort ofcase in question. Specifically, we have seen that although in most situationsinvolving ordinary persons making ordinary decisions it is appropriate to assessthe rationality of their decisions policy by policy, cases in which fully rationalpersons make nuclear strategy decisions are different in that it is appropriate toassess the rationality of these decisions case by case rather than policy bypolicy. This is so because any one of these decisions could seriously affect theprospects of all living creatures. That deterrence policies and retaliation may berational and psychologically possible in situations not involving this level ofdestruction or in situations involving irrational leaders are separate questionsthat 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, thismust be due to the fact that they see the possibility of a limited nuclearexchange or, perhaps more realistically, because they predict that there will beirrational participants in the nuclear arena. But as we will see before long, eventhese two possibilities may not justify nuclear deterrence policies.27Works Cited:Bundy, McGeorge. "Existential Deterrence and Its Consequences." TheSecurity Gamble. Ed. Douglas Maclean. Totowa (NJ): Rowman andAllanheld, 1984.Gauthier, David. "Deterrence, Maximization, and Rationality." Ethics (April1984) :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 ofDeterrence." 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 andStrategy. Ed. Russell Hardin et al. Chicago: University of ChicagoPress, 1985.28Chapter TwoNuclear Deterrence ScenariosIn trying to determine whether a nuclear deterrence policy is rational orirrational, we must take a number or factors into consideration. Specifically, inevaluating a particular deterrence policy, we must think about the levels ortypes of technology involved. This will lead us to consider, for instance, whetherthe nuclear weapons of the country or countries that pursue this policy arenumerous and highly accurate or few and inaccurate. Besides thesetechnological questions, we must think about the beliefs of the parties, on bothsides of the deterrence policy, about the effects that nuclear war would have ontheir territory and on the rest of the world. Finally, we must think about the sortsof factors that the parties take into consideration in their evaluation of thepossible outcomes of a particular policy. Do they care about the happiness oftheir fellow countrymen, of all human beings, or of all living creatures? Yetmore fundamentally, do they even care about securing happiness above allelse, or do they rather strive towards some other goal, such as religious or racialdomination?Despite the apparent cogency of the previous chapter, the number andcomplexity of the above questions may lead us to wonder whether we couldever come up with an analysis which is realistic and thus useful, for we willsurely never know exactly how to answer all of these questions. This way oflooking at the philosophical analysis of nuclear deterrence may seem to bewarranted, for given the level of secrecy that exists around both thetechnological and the epistemic/rational question, it seems unreasonable tosuppose that we will ever be in the position of knowing exactly what factors totake into consideration in evaluating the rationality of nuclear deterrencepolicies. From a practical perspective, moreover, there may seem to be littlereason for contemplating the rationality of nuclear deterrence scenarios whichmay, for all we know, prove to be completely out of touch with the deterrencepolicies that military leaders actually pursue. So it would seem that we should29be led to conclude that nuclear deterrence is not an area in which philosopherscan have any valuable input.But as the Chapter One has shown, this conclusion is unnecessarilydismal, for we can conduct a useful analysis of nuclear deterrence since we dohave a pretty good idea of how to answer the questions raised above. What'smore, although many of the analyses of nuclear deterrence that have beencompleted may be of little use since the numerous factors that need to be takeninto consideration in such an analysis are either not properly considered or arearbitrarily chosen, there is a solution to this problem. Unfortunately, the solutioninvolves a rather laborious task, namely, to consider a large selection ofcombinations of "realistic" technological scenarios and "realistic" beliefs about,and preferences for, the possible outcomes of those scenarios. Such acomprehensive approach to the philosophical analysis of nuclear deterrence, ifproperly carried out, would be useful by virtue of taking many realisticscenarios into consideration. Of course we must restrict our analysis to"realistic" scenarios, for it would otherwise be an endless task. Given thisrestriction, however, a comprehensive analysis seems possible.It may be objected that selecting "realistic" scenarios must itself be anarbitrary process, so that any analysis of these scenarios would also bearbitrary and thus incomplete. This objection seems to rest, however, on anunreasonably dim view of our ability to select, from all possible situations, thosewhich are at all likely to occur from those which are not so likely. To deny thatwe can have a pretty good idea about what might actually happen is a point ofview which seems too unreasonable to warrant any further consideration.Let us move on to consider, in a preliminary way, which nuclear deterrencesituations we must include in our comprehensive analysis of the subject. Ingeneral, we must analyze situations involving levels of technology, beliefsabout the effects of nuclear war, and preferences with respect to differentpossible outcomes, that reflect the status quo as well as deteriorated andimproved states of affairs. A deteriorated state of affairs might be one in whichone or more of the countries in possession of nuclear weaponry are controlledby irrational and fanatic persons who cannot be expected to attempt to securehappiness, not even for their own countrymen. Instead, they may try to securesome other goal, such as religious domination or racial self-assertion, thesecuring of which is incompatible with the securing of happiness. A pessimist30may argue that the status quo is already of this "deteriorated" sort. Whether ornot he is correct, it is clear that we will have to concern ourselves withdeteriorated scenarios. But of equal interest are improved states of affairs, suchas those that would obtain if one or more of the countries in possession ofnuclear weapons adopted a moral stance. An example of a moral attitude is thepoint of view that what a country should attempt to secure by means of itsmilitary policies is the greatest possible happiness for all living creatures. Asituation in which one or more countries have this point of view would clearly bean improvement on the status quo since in such a world the chances that anuclear war would be started, except perhaps by accident, would be lower thanat present given that nuclear war is very unlikely to lead to the greatest possiblehappiness.In addition to thinking about present, deteriorated, and improved states ofaffairs we will need to consider situations involving present levels and types aswell as possible future levels and types of technology. To also take past typesof technology into consideration would be a waste of time, since we cannot"uninvent" what has already been invented. But we must not forget to considerthe possibility, or perhaps the reality, of smaller countries developing nuclearweapons that are less sophisticated than other modern weapons.Finally, we need to consider different possible beliefs about the effects ofnuclear 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 theannihilation of life on Earth, we need not consider beliefs that are quite sodismal. Similarly, we need not concern ourselves with specific insane views,such as that a nuclear war would result in eternal bliss for everyone, since, aswill 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. Turningfirst to possible levels and types of technology, we can reasonably divide thefield of realistic possibilities into three groups. First, there might be situations inwhich one or more countries possess limited destructive capability. Thisobtains when a country or countries can cause serious damage to othercountries or to each other. Retaliation of small- or full-scale levels is possibleagainst a limited nuclear strike of this sort. This scenario can be construed so31as to include unsophisticated as well as highly sophisticated weapons.However, since the main feature of this level of nuclear armament is therelatively limited damage that it may cause, countries with highly sophisticatedand destructive weapons who possess only limited destructive capability mustobviously have fewer weapons than countries with unsophisticated weaponsand the same or similar destructive capability.Another level and type of nuclear weapons technology that countriesmay achieve is massive destructive capability, which exists when one or morenuclear superpowers can cause extremely serious damage to their opponent bystriking at the opponent's population centers. Such an attack can be completedwithin a short period of time. Since this level and type of technology need notinvolve extremely accurate weapons, full-scale retaliation would still bepossible. This scenario, which is an essential part of the Mutual AssuredDestruction ideology, has probably obtained between the US and the SU forthe past few decades. Hence scenarios involving this level of nucleararmament will probably be the closest of all to the status quo.Weapons of massive destruction, which are designed to wipe out theopponent's cities, are considered, according to Theodore Roszak, to be part ofthe US's "Minimum deterrence" systems. The purpose of these systems is todiscourage an attack on the US or any other form of "extreme provocation,"such as an SU invasion of western Europe. The weapons of Minimumdeterrence must be invulnerable, either because of their mobility or because ofthe hardness of the silos in which they are housed. "The object is to guaranteethe survival of a large number of weapons after the United States has beenbombarded by the enemy. This 'strike back' capacity is, of course, aimedmainly at the enemy's civilian population, for it will presumably not be put intoeffect until the enemy's weapons have been used and thus his bases are nolonger important targets"(Roszak, 72). Clearly, weapons aimed at cities arecapable of causing terrible suffering, so that even if only a relatively smallnumber of warheads survived the enemy's attack, serious retaliation couldoccur. The threat of such retaliation is the essence of Minimum deterrencepolicies.The third level and type of nuclear weapons technology that countriesmay possess is exact first strike capability. This obtains when one or moresuperpowers have a large number of weapons which are very accurate andwhich can be expected to reach and destroy nearly all of their targets, including32all or nearly all of the enemy's military and industrial facilities. Given this leveland type of technology, a country can eliminate the retaliatory capability of itsopponent(s), so that serious retaliation is impossible.It is very likely that the US and the SU are developing, or are trying todevelop, extremely accurate nuclear weapons of the sort that might be used inan exact first strike. Indeed, Roszak maintains that the US has been pursuing a"Counterforce" deterrence policy since the early 1960's, a policy whichincorporates weapons of exact first strike capability. Unlike Minimumdeterrence policies, "counterforce deterrence... is based on a 'first-strike'capacity aimed at the enemy's military bases, not his civilian population. Theobject is to cripple the enemy's capacity to make war in the event he shouldattack, or prepare to attack, an area vital to American interests, but not theUnited States directly.... Counterforce weapons must also be extremelypowerful... for they may be aimed at hardened enemy bases that are supposedto be invulnerable"(72).That the US and SU will inevitably develop exact first strike capability isvery likely. For it is clear that both the US and the SU are investing tremendousresources in their nuclear weapons programmes, yet to build nuclear weaponsof ever increasing destructive capability seems futile within the context ofMinimum deterrence policies, since existing nuclear weapons are alreadypowerful enough to cause severe destruction to the enemy's populationcenters. Moreover, launching a nuclear attack with weapons that are morenumerous or more powerful than necessary is undesirable, since the morenuclear devastation one causes, the less likely it is that one can achieve whatcan reasonably be called a nuclear "victory."An alleged advantage of exact first strike technology is that its accuracyallows a country to select only military and possibly industrial targets, so thatblanket bombing is not necessary. Consequently, the possibility of there beingsurvivors after an exact first strike might be greater than after a strike of theMinimum deterrence sort. Moreover, achieving a nuclear victory may be easierthan with only Minimum deterrence weapons.Although Counterforce deterrence may seem potentially less harmful topersons and other creatures, since the object of such policies is to destroymilitary targets rather than cities, the weapons used in any Counterforce attackare likely to be extremely powerful, each being hundreds of times as large asthe bomb used on Hiroshima, so that the fallout and consequent widespread33damage of an exact first strike would be immense. In fact, the fallout caused bysuch an attack might be so far reaching that it would cause serious suffering inthe country of the attacker as well as in the country that is attacked. If this is thecase, 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 twoevils. Moreover, that such an attack would be extremely serious for the countrywhich has been attacked is certain, for many military targets are in fact veryclose to large cities, so that many persons would be victims of direct nuclearattacks. To claim that a Counterforce deterrence policy is relatively innocuousis therefore quite unreasonable.The above three levels of technology seem to cover all interesting andrealistic possibilities. Of course, it could happen that a country comes topossess less than limited first strike capability, which is a level of technologywhich we have not considered. But whereas this very small nuclear arsenalmay well be a source of concern for the opponents of the country whichpossesses it, the threat posed by such an arsenal is really insignificant incomparison to the threats posed by limited and massive nuclear arsenals. For ifa country cannot cause extremely serious damage to its opponent by using itsnuclear weapons, damage more serious than the damage which can be causedby a small number of conventional weapons, then these nuclear weapons are,for all intents and purposes, on a par with conventional weapons and should betreated with the same level of seriousness. In any case, confronting anopponent 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 firststrike capability, the situation may be more serious than situations involvingexact capability, but only as a matter of degree. In particular, if a countryachieves more than exact first strike capability, which might entail being able towipe out not only its enemy's nuclear and industrial facilities, but also similarfacilities around the world as well as innumerable population centers, it maynow be more clearly rational for its opponents to disarm, or to do whatever itwould be rational for them to do, but less clearly so, if that country had onlyexact first strike capability. Since such situations are only different as a matterof degree, we need not consider them further.34Let us now move on to consider the beliefs, that could be held by the controllersof nuclear arsenals, about the effects of nuclear war. As has already beenmentioned, given a very limited knowledge of nuclear warfare as well as someawareness of the nuclear accidents that have occurred, it is reasonable tobelieve that a large-scale nuclear war would make life significantly less worthliving for all creatures. Similarly, on the same evidence it is reasonable tobelieve that a small-scale nuclear war would have significantly less seriouseffects than a full-scale war. It was concluded earlier that since it is irrational tohold beliefs that contradict these two evident truths, persons holding suchirrational beliefs could quite reasonably be analyzed together with persons whoare irrational for other reasons. It may, however, be objected that we reallyneed to consider each possible irrational belief separately in order to provide acomprehensive analysis of nuclear deterrence. As we will see, however, allsorts of irrational beliefs that controller of nuclear equipped countries might holdwill tend to have the same effect, namely, to lead their opponents to distrustthemBut why would persons distrust irrational leaders of a nuclear equippedcountries? Since any single military operation of a country using nuclearweapons could cause horrific suffering and also possibly the annihilation of lifeon Earth, it is imperative that the controllers of nuclear weapons operate on arational basis. While it is clearly important that these leaders can predict whatthere opponents will do in particular situations, it would be extremely difficult forany 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 bevery well acquainted with their beliefs and preferences. Moreover, what hisirrational opponents will actually do must also depend, at every moment, uponwhether or not they adopt rational beliefs and preferences in favour of irrationalones. But if all of the leaders act rationally by attempting to maximize thehappiness of living creatures, any rational leader will understand hisopponents' reasoning and will be able to predict their actions without beingintimately acquainted with their beliefs and preferences.It may be objected that even if a leader operates irrationally byattempting, for instance, to secure eternal salvation or racial self-assertion forhis subjects, he can be fully understood, and his actions predicted, by anyonewho tries to understand his reasoning. Although this claim is partly true, in thattrying to understand the reasoning of an irrational person may enable one to35have some idea of how he will act, this objection does not refute the claim thatirrational leaders will be distrusted. For rational persons value particular things,such as happiness and the avoidance of pain, which they believe to beintrinsically worth striving for. If, however, they encounter an irrational personwho values things that to them seem to have no intrinsic value, such as eternalsalvation or racial self-assertion, they are bound to believe that he is mistakenin his beliefs and preferences. And if they know, not only that he is seriouslymistaken, 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 rationalpersons, we cannot seriously entertain the possibility that all leaders of nuclearequipped countries will be irrational in the same way. And so long as some ofthese leaders are irrational while others are rational, or so long as they areirrational in different ways, aversion and distrust will arise between them.It may again be objected, that even if rational leaders would distrust anopponent because of his irrational preferences, they would not distrust him forhaving irrational beliefs about the effects of nuclear war. But given the clearevidence in support of such views as that large-scale nuclear warfare wouldmake everyone's life less worth living, or that small-scale nuclear warfare wouldbe substantially less harmful to most persons, a person who holds contraryviews is not only irrational, but must also apparently be quite unintelligent. Aleader of a nuclear equipped country who is irrational as well as unintelligentwill surely be distrusted. We may therefore conclude that irrational leaders ofnuclear equipped countries, whether they hold irrational beliefs or irrationalpreferences, will be distrusted by their opponents.Although we do not need to consider specific sorts of irrational beliefsthat a leader of a nuclear equipped country may hold about the effects of anuclear 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 relativelysmall region allows life to go on at the same or nearly the same level of comfortin regions removed from the attacked territory, the view that any use of nuclearweapons would devastate the planet is irrational. But there has never been asubstantial nuclear attack on a fairly large region, so that the belief that such anattack might make life not worth living for all creatures is rational and warrantsour consideration. Somewhat similar to this belief and even more likely to betrue, is the opinion that a full-scale obliteration-type nuclear attack on any36country would make life not worth living for all creatures. This is also a beliefthat we need to consider. In addition, we have to consider the the belief thatsuch a full-scale attack would make life not worth living for the inhabitants of theattacked region, but that life could continue to be worth living for the inhabitantsof the attacking country as well as of other countries, provided that retaliationdoes not occur. Finally, we must consider the belief that, although a full-scalenuclear war would make life less worth living for all creatures, life could still beworth living for most survivors after such a war.The above four rational beliefs about the effects of nuclear war on theworld seem to cover a broad enough range, and are general enough so thatother possible beliefs will only be variants of these four. This allows us to moveon to consider, finally, what preferences, regarding the outcomes of theirpolicies, 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 ofnuclear deterrence, we must consider one or more types of rationality that reston the idea that it is rational to bring about or secure equality or fairness in theworld, or in some portion of it. But while preferring and acting on nuclearpolicies that result in greater equality or fairness may at first seem rational sincefairness and equality are quite commonly very highly valued, the apparentrationality of this point of view is illusory, for nuclear strategy moves are not anappropriate means by which to secure these goals. How can we support thisclaim?Although it may well be reasonable to hold that fairness or equalityshould be valued very highly, it can hardly be reasonable to hold that fairnessor equality should be brought about at any expense. If, for instance, the veryhappy but unequal members of a community could only be made equal bymaking them all terribly miserable, it would be unreasonable to hold that theyshould be made equal anyway. Similarly, if a large community could be madevery happy rather than very miserable only if one of them were required toremain 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 ofexample have to do with nuclear policies?Since any single nuclear strategy move could result in the annihilation oflife on Earth and/or the bringing about of terrible and widespread suffering, thissort of move is inappropriate as a means to securing fairness or equality. If, for37instance, a country attacks another country with a limited nuclear attack, sinceeven an attack of this limited sort will result in terrible suffering and death in theafflicted region, an act of retaliation of similar magnitude, brought about for thesake of fairness, would be irrational. For it is surely irrational to say that fairnessshould be secured at any expense, even if it means bringing about terriblesuffering and death for a large number of person. This analysis is even morepersuasive if it is claimed that, for the sake of fairness, retaliation should occurafter a massive nuclear attack on a very large region. Clearly, all that shouldcount in trying to decide how to respond to a nuclear attack is how to minimizefurther suffering and how to maximize happiness. We may therefore concludethat types of rationality that take fairness or equality as the ultimate goal ofnuclear policies are, in fact, types of irrationality.What sorts of rationality does this leave us with? If the above argument iscorrect, we are left with utilitarian decision making procedures and withirrational decision making procedures. Consequently, we will have to considermoral utilitarianism, the view that what is moral and rational is to bring about theoutcome that leads to the greatest possible happiness in the world. Accordingto moral utilitarianism, the happiness of all persons, or of all creatures, isequally valuable. It follows that the use of nuclear weapons is immoral andirrational in almost all circumstances, for nuclear warfare is almost certain tocause more unhappiness than happiness. So, according to moral utilitarianism,no nuclear war is preferred above all, and not retaliating against a massivenuclear attack is preferred to retaliating against such an attack. The only use ofnuclear weapons that is allowable, according to the moral utilitarianism, issmall-scale retaliation against a limited nuclear attack, provided that such small-scale retaliation is considered to be an adequate deterrent against futurenuclear attacks, an outcome which is believed to bring about the greatestpossible happiness in the long run.As we saw in the Introduction, a very popular utilitarian attitude that wemust consider, one that is less magnanimous than moral utilitarianism butequally rational, is nationalistic utilitarianism. According to this view it isacceptable, or even one's duty as a military leader, to count the happiness ofone's fellow countrymen more heavily than that of others. Hence one shouldprefer policies the result of which is to secure the greatest possible happinessfor one's countrymen. Still, outcomes that do not entail needlessly harmingother people are preferred to outcomes that do entail such needless harm. In38other words, if harming others is of no advantage to one's countrymen, thenothers should not be harmed. From this perspective the use of nuclearweapons is acceptable only in situations in which an act of limited retaliation isconsidered 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 amassive attack against one and that attacking the opponent first will reduce theamount of suffering in one's own country, or when it is believed that a small-scale and relatively innocuous nuclear attack on one's opponent will causethem to surrender.The third and final point of view that we will have to consider is irrationalnationalism, fanaticism, or ignorance. As we will recall, it has been claimed thatall sorts of irrationality -- whether this be irrationality about the likely outcomes ofnuclear war or irrationality about preferences for particular outcomes -- can beincluded 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 attackone's opponents and/or extend one's territory, even if the outcome wouldprovide one's countrymen, not to mention other people, with less worldlyhappiness, 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 isbelieved that such a war would seriously harm one's opponent. Some sorts ofirrationality may additionally include other goals, such as to provide one'scountrymen with eternal heavenly bliss, but the most common goal seems to beto harm one's adversary, given that this is the most obvious feature of nuclearattacks.This brings us to the end of our discussion of what variables must be included inany comprehensive analysis of nuclear deterrence. We will now constructrationality tables that indicate whether initiating a nuclear war or retaliatingagainst a nuclear attack would be rational, irrational, permissible, or desirablefrom the points of view of different sorts of nuclear weapons controllers facedwith a variety of situations. Before we construct these tables, however, we needto 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.39Outline of items in tables:Levels/types of technology:Limited destructive capability: this obtains when a country can causeserious damage to another country or countries. Full-scale or small-scaleretaliation would be possible.II^Massive destructive capability: this obtains when one or eithersuperpower can cause extremely serious damage to the other superpowerwithin a short period of time. Still, full-scale retaliation would be possible giventhat the weapons are not so accurate as to hit all targets. This level/type oftechnology is required for the policy of Mutually Assured Destruction to be acredible deterrent.III^Exact first strike capability: this obtains when one or either superpowercan eliminate the retaliatory capability of its opponent. Since the nucleartechnology must be fairly accurate for one superpower to effectively wipe out itsopponents arsenal, it may well be the case that a type Ill attack would causeless 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 alsonot be possible.Possible beliefs about the effects of nuclear war:Given the belief that any large-scale nuclear war will make life significantly lessworth living for all creatures, and that a very small-scale nuclear war will have asubstantially less harmful effect on all creatures, except for those in the attackedregion, the following beliefs can also be held:a^The belief that a substantial nuclear attack on any fairly large regionwould make life not worth living for all creatures.40b^The belief that a full-scale (or obliteration-type) nuclear attack on anycountry would make life not worth living for all creatures.c^The belief that a nuclear war resulting in surrender rather than retaliationwould make life not worth living in the conquered region, but worth living for thevictor.d^The belief that life would still be worth living even after a full-scalenuclear exchange.Possible preferences regarding outcomes (i.e. sorts of rationality):Moral utilitarianism: the belief that what is moral and rational is to bringabout the outcome that leads to the greatest possible happiness in the world.From this perspective, no nuclear war is preferred above all, and not retaliatingagainst a massive nuclear attack is preferred to retaliating against the same.On the other hand, small-scale retaliation against a limited nuclear attack maybe preferred to not retaliating against the same, provided that such small-scaleretaliation is considered to be an adequate deterrent against future attacks.ii^Nationalistic utilitarianism: the belief that it is right, in terms of one's dutyto one's country, to bring about the outcome that leads to the greatest possiblehappiness in one's own country. The happiness of one's fellow countrymen isconsidered to be of greater importance, at least in terms of military strategyconsiderations, than the happiness of other people. But outcomes that do notentail needlessly harming other people are preferred to outcomes that entailsuch needless harm. If harming others does not make one's fellow countrymenhappier, then others should not be harmed. From this perspective, the use ofnuclear weapons should be avoided except in situation in which an act oflimited nuclear retaliation is considered to be an adequate deterrent againstfuture attacks, when it is believed to be quite possible that one's opponents willinitiate a massive attack against one and that attacking one's opponent first willmake his initiating such an attack impossible, or when it is believed that a small-scale and relatively innocuous nuclear attack on one's opponent will cause himto surrender.41iii^Irrational nationalism, fanaticism, or ignorance: the belief that it is right orpermissible, whether morally or in terms of one's duty to one's country, to attackone's opponents and/or to extend one's territory as far as possible, even if theoutcome would allow less worldly happiness for one's fellow countrymen, not tomention for other people. From this perspective, nuclear war may well bepreferred to no nuclear war if it is believed that such a war would obliterate orseriously harm one's opponents.Rationality Tables (assuming full-scale nuclearinitiations and acts of retaliation)Note: some assignments are followed by a question mark (?). This introduces an element ofdoubt to the assignments in question, and should be read as "... in certain circumstances, orgiven certain beliefs." As an example, "desirable ?" should be read as "desirable in certaincircumstances or given certain beliefs." The reasons for the particular assignments will have to bediscussed in subsequent sections.( (I) will not be considered in this set of tables since we are assuming full-scale nuclear attacks andacts of retaliation.)First Table (assuming i on both sides)Side A Side B Initiation for A Initiation for B Retaliation for A Retaliation for BII/a,b II/a,b irrational irrational rational rationalII/a,b II/c,d irrational irrational rational irrationalII/c,d II/c,d irrational irrational irrational irrational11/a,b,c,d IU/a,b irrational irrational impossible rationalII/a,b,c,d fflic,d irrational irrational impossible irrationalIII/a,b,c,d 111/a,b,c,d irrational irrational impossible impossible42Second Table (assuming i for A and ii for B)II/a,b^II/a,b,c,d^irrational^irrational^rational^irrationalII/c,d II/a,b,c,d^irrational^irrational^irrational^irrationalIII/a,b^II/a,b,c,d^irrational^irrational^rational^impossibleIII/c,d^II/a,b,c,d^irrational^irrational^irrational^impossible11I/a,b,c,d^JII/a,b,c,d^irrational^irrational^impossible^impossibleThird Table (assuming ii on both sides)II/a,b,c,d^II/a,b,c,d^irrational^irrational^irrational^irrationalII/a,b,c,d^Iti/a,b,c,d^irrational^irrational^irrational^impossibleM/a,b^Til/a,b^irrational^irrational^impossible^impossiblelIt/c,d M/c,d^irrational?^irrational?^impossible^impossibleFourth Table (assuming i for A and iii for B)II/a,b II/a,b irrational permissible rational permissibleII/c,d II/c,d irrational desirable? irrational desirable?II/a,b,c,d M/a,b irrational permissible impossible permissibleII/a,b,c,d III/c,d irrational desirable impossible desirable?11I/a,b II/a,b irrational permissible rational permissible111/a,b II/c,d irrational desirable? rational desirable?IIVc,d lI/a,b irrational permissible irrational permissibleIII/c,d II/c,d irrational desirable? irrational desirable?M/a,b,c,d 1II/a,b irrational permissible impossible impossibleIII/a,b,c,d IIL/c,d irrational desirable impossible impossibleFifth Table (assuming ii for A and iii for B)II/a,b II/a,b irrational permissible irrational permissibleII/c,d II/a,b rational? permissible irrational permissibleII/a,b II/c,d irrational desirable? irrational desirable?43II/a,b III/a,b irrational permissible impossible permissibleII/c,d III/c,d rational? desirable impossible desirableIII/a,b II/a,b irrational permissible irrational impossibleIII/c,d II/c,d rational desirable irrational impossibleIII/a,b M/a,b irrational permissible impossible impossibleIII/c,d III/c,d rational desirable impossible impossibleSixth Table (assuming iii for both sides)II/a,b II/a,b permissible permissible permissible permissibleII/a,b II/c,d permissible desirable? permissible desirable?II/c,d II/c,d desirable desirable desirable desirableII/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 impossibleIII/c,d ill/c,d desirable desirable impossible impossibleRationality Tables (assuming small-scale orlimited nuclear initiations and acts of retaliation)(Since we are considering limited nuclear strikes and acts of retaliation countries possessingtechnology 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 Initiation B Retaliation for A Retaliation for BIJI,III/a I,II,III/a irrational irrational rational (i) irrational (11)I,II,M/b,c,d I,II,RVb,c,d irrational (i) irrational (i) irrational irrationalI,11,M/b,c,d I,11,11Vb,c,d rational? (ii) rational? (ii) rational? rational?44Eighth Table (assuming i for A and iii for B)1,11,11I/a^1,11,1Cl/a^irrational^permissible^rational^permissible1,11,111/b,c,d^1,11,1LVb,c,d^irrational?^desirable^it atonal?^desirableNinth Table (assuming ii for A and iii for B)1,11,1II/a^1,I1,M/a^irrational^permissible^irrational^permissible1,11,111/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^permissible1,11,1IVb,c,d^1,11,M/b,c,d^desirable^desirable^desirable^desirableExplanation of outcomes on tables:Although the above tables do not include all possible combinations of thevarious items contained in them, they do include a rather large number ofcombinations, so that filling in any missing combinations would be fairly easy.In any event, the combinations that are considered above represent a goodsample of realistic nuclear deterrence situations.The first table is pretty straight-forward. Since both sides A and B are assumedto be moral utilitarian decision makers, and since this table considers full-scalenuclear attacks, it is no wonder that initiating a nuclear attack is irrational forboth sides in all cases. For provided that both sides will always attempt to bringabout 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-scale45nuclear war will make life significantly less worth living for all creatures, they willboth prefer not initiating a nuclear war to initiating one, since nuclear war is notthe happiness-maximizing outcome.If it should be the case that one side is not a moral utilitarian decisionmaker, and if it should be the case that the moral side expects the non-moralside to initiate a substantial nuclear attack, then it might be rational for the moralside to initiate a small-scale nuclear attack against the non-moral side, providedthat the moral side believes that such a small-scale nuclear attack will be anadequate deterrent for preventing its opponent from using its nuclear weapons.This is, however, a situation that will not be fully considered until later, and doesnothing to change the fact that moral utilitarian decision makers will alwaysprefer not initiation a full-scale nuclear attack to initiating one.Similarly, there are several circumstances in which retaliating against afull-scale nuclear attack is seen as irrational by side A and/or side B. Thereason for this is that retaliating, like initiating a full-scale attack, is not thehappiness-maximizing option. Provided that A or B believes (c) that nuclearwar resulting in surrender rather than retaliation would allow life to remain worthliving 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-scalenuclear war, it is irrational to retaliate, since retaliation would worsen the livesof the survivors.A different and perhaps surprising result can be seen in situations inwhich side A and/or side B are moral utilitarians and believe (a) or (b), that anysubstantial nuclear attack on a fairly large region would make life not worthliving for all creatures, or that a full-scale (or obliteration-type) nuclear attack onany country would have the same effect. In situations in which a moral sidebelieves (a) or (b), it is rational for that side to retaliate. 2 Why should this beso? Since A and/or B believes that a nuclear attack will make life not worthliving for all creatures, it is rational and moral to retaliate and to use morenuclear weapons, for this will put more creatures out of their misery and will thuslead to less overall suffering.It may be objected that it can only be rational for A to retaliate against afull-scale nuclear attack if A believes that the main effect of retaliating would beto bring about the death of miserable creatures. If A believed, instead, that2 I was first made aware of this idea by Dr. R.I. Sikora.46retaliating would cause more suffering but would not relieve very m an ycreatures of their miserable lives, it would not be utility maximizing, and hencerational, for A to retaliate. Clearly this objection is essentially an empiricalmatter, and cannot be conclusively settled without providing empirical support.However, we can supply a very plausible response to this objection, aresponse that relies only on rather obvious empirical claims. Specifically, wemay recall that the nuclear attacks that have occurred (on Japan in the SecondWorld War) have killed very many creatures very quickly, especially near thelocation of the explosions. Provided that A has nuclear weapons that are atleast as destructive as those that have already been used, and provided that Aknows where to aim them, A will be able to bring about the death of very manymiserable creatures by retaliating. If A has relatively innocuous nuclearweapons and doesn't really know where to aim them, retaliating may well causemore suffering than death and will therefore be irrational. It has been assumedin the first tables that this latter state of affairs does not obtain.Finally, there are situations represented by the first table in whichretaliation is impossible. This is a reflection of the fact that after a nuclear attackof the "exact first strike" type, serious retaliation is impossible since nearly all ofthe victim's nuclear weapons are wiped out. It is, of course, likely that some ofthe victim's weapons will remain, since some of the attacker's weapons willhave missed their targets or will have failed to penetrate the hardened silos, butretaliation with the remaining weapons will presumably not be of full-scaleproportions. Small-scale retaliation after an exact first strike may, however, berational for some countries with certain beliefs and preferences.The second table contains a few different results. Given that side A is a moralutilitarian 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 bothsides believe that any large-scale nuclear war will make life significantly lessworth living for all creatures, and since they try will to bring about the outcomethat provides the greatest possible happiness for their countrymen or for allliving creatures, initiating a full-scale nuclear war is not an option which theyprefer. Everyone would be happier without a nuclear war.Following the same reasoning as above, since only side A is a moralutilitarian decision maker, it is only ever rational for side A to retaliate. If side Bis massively attacked and life for its citizens or for all living creatures is no47longer worth living, since B prefers the happiness of its own citizens to thehappiness of others, B must act in the most efficient way possible to relieve itscitizens of their misery. B can best reduce the suffering of its own citizens byreleasing its nuclear weapons upon its own territory, thereby quickly ending thelives of many or all of its citizens rather than enduring the gradual death that theadditional fallout of retaliating would create.It might be argued, however, that using its nuclear weapons on its ownterritory would not be politically feasible for B, whereas retaliating would be. Butin the situations under discussion, political reputation and popularity no longermatter since the end of the attacked society or of the world is very near. Butwhat if it would be impossible for the political leader of the devastated country toget anyone to release the country's nuclear weapons over its own territory?This question is really quite implausible, since the leader could surely employirrational 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 havebeen trained to perform terribly irrational and horrible acts. We may thereforereasonably conclude that the above objection fails, so that we may safely saythat it is never be rational for a nationalistic utilitarian to retaliate against amassive nuclear attack.The third table is interesting, not because it contains novel results, but becauseit may well represent a situation which is very similar to the status quo. Inparticular, it represents a situation in which both sides are rational, but notrational to the extent of being moral utilitarians. This is the sort of situationwhich was discussed in Chapter one. Let us take a look at the results containedin this table.The results of the third table show that it is never rational for either side toinitiate a nuclear war or to retaliate against a massive nuclear attack and thatconsequently, many of the nuclear deterrence policies currently or formerlypursued by the superpowers are irrational. Given that both sides hold the veryplausible belief that large-scale nuclear war will make life significantly lessworth living for all creatures, it is easy to see why they would prefer not initiatingsuch a war to initiating one. Similarly, and following the same reasoning asabove, since both sides prefer less nuclear devastation to more, in that for everyincrease in devastation, there is a smaller chance that their own countrymen willbe able to live lives that are worth living, both sides will prefer not retaliating48against a full-scale nuclear attack. If A has been massively attacked by B, A willsurely not wish to worsen its already terrible situation by increasing globalnuclear devastation, for doing so will only make it more difficult for the survivorsof 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 survivorsof the attack against A with the satisfaction and happiness of giving B what Bdeserves. This argument will not work, however, since we are assuming that Ais rational in that A always acts in order to maximize the happiness of its citizensand in order to avoid unnecessary harm to others. In any situation in whichthere are a good number of survivors who have a chance of living lives that areworth living, it will surely maximize happiness to give those survivors thatchance rather than to give the dying victims of the attack the temporary pleasureof retaliating.But what about situations in which any survivors in A can expect to livevery short and miserable lives? Wouldn't it be rational for them to givethemselves the satisfaction of retaliating? Whereas an affirmative answer couldbe given to this question, anyone who did so would have to have a very lowopinion of the survivors of the attack against A. For in order to hold that it wouldbe rational, from their perspective, to retaliate since doing so would give themsatisfaction, 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 somesatisfaction, 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 canbe 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 personswho surely do not deserve to be killed, so that giving a few persons what theydeserve by retaliating would at the same time be causing harm to many personswho do not deserve it.As we saw in Chapter One, it has been argued, 3 that since threatening toretaliate against a massive nuclear attack is likely to act as an adequatedeterrent against initiations of nuclear war, and since, in order to be credible, athreat to retaliate must be sincere, it is rational to form the intention to retaliateand to retaliate after nuclear war has been initiated. Since we have alreadydiscussed this argument at length, we need not go into it now. Clearly, if it had3 Notably by David Gauthier in his Deterrence, Maximization, and Rationality.49succeeded, retaliation could be rational in the sort of situation which isrepresented by the third table.Although it is never straight-forwardly rational for either side to initiate anuclear war since any large-scale nuclear war will make life less worth living forall creatures, there is some doubt as to whether it is always irrational for eitherside to initiate such a war when both sides possess exact first strike capabilityand neither side believes that any fairly large-scale nuclear attack will make lifeintolerable for all creatures. This doubt is brought about by the fact that seriousretaliation is not possible for either side in this situation, so that threats ofretaliation cannot be credible. As a consequence of this fact, neither side canexpect 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 eitherside to know what the other side will do. If A expects that B will initiate a nuclearattack against A, it will be better for A to initiate such a war against B before Bdoes, provided that A does not believe that any full-scale war will make lifeintolerable for everyone, including the citizens of A. But if A does not expectthat B will initiate an attack against A, it will be better for A not to initiate oneeither. Similarly, if B expects A to initiate a nuclear attack against B, B shoulddo so before A does, and otherwise not. Although both sides undoubtedlyprefer no nuclear war to initiating a nuclear war, since neither side can be surethat the other side will not initiate such a war, as soon as either side has reasonto suspect the other side of planning a nuclear first strike, it may be rational forthe suspicious side to initiate a first strike, for it may be more rational to go with ahigher probability of a lesser evil than with a lower probability of a much greaterevil. In other words, it may be rational for A to initiate a first strike against B evenif A is quite sure that such a massive nuclear attack will make life less worthliving for everyone, rather than take the chance that B will initiate a first strikeagainst A, which would make life intolerable for the citizens of A. Althoughinitiating a first strike may be an option that is never chosen by either side, thereis a good chance that it will be chosen. In any case, any situation in which bothsides possess exact first strike capability will be extremely unstable. For thisreason 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 strikeprovided that one side suspects the other of planning such an attack, then itmay also be rational to initiate a massive attack in that situation. The two casesare not parallel, however, since after an exact first strike serious retaliation is not50possible, whereas after a massive attack retaliation is still possible. So if Asuspects B of planning a massive attack against A, it is irrational for A to initiatea preemptive massive attack since such an attack will not make it any lesspossible for B to carry out its plan to attack A. In contrast, a preemptive exactfirst strike can be rational since it will prevent the attacked side from launching anuclear attack since all or nearly all of its weapons will be destroyed. Sincemassive attacks do not eliminate enemy weapons, initiating a preemptivemassive attack can be rational for A only if A somehow knows that it will preventB from initiating the attack which B has been planning. In any case, given thefact that a massive attack does not rule out retaliation, and given the fact thatsuch 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 isrational. But the above objection should be reconsidered in our discussion ofcases in which B is irrational.The fourth table assumes that side B is irrational, fanatic, or ignorant. The resultof this assumption is that initiating a nuclear attack, as well as retaliating againstsuch an attack, is permissible or desirable from B's point of view. To say thatinitiating a full-scale nuclear attack or retaliating against one is "permissible" forside B is to say that there is nothing hindering B from engaging in nuclear warexcept, perhaps, the belief that "the time is not quite right" to do so. This meansthat B cannot be counted on to refrain from engaging in nuclear war.To say that initiating a full-scale nuclear attack or retaliating against oneis "desirable?" is to say that such an attack or act of retaliation may well be bothpermissible and desirable, but may not be entirely desirable, given the beliefthat nuclear war might well result in a miserable state of affairs. A situation inwhich initiating or retaliating against an act of nuclear war is "desirable?" shouldbe seen as a situation in which the political/military/religious leader(s) have todecide between maintaining a tolerable state of affairs and expressingthemselves racially, religiously, territorially, and/or politically. Probably themore fanatic or irrational they are, the more they will tend to conclude thatnuclear war is indeed desirable.Finally, to say that initiating a full-scale nuclear attack is "desirable" for Bis to say that B prefers initiating such an attack, and can be expected to do so inthe very near future.51We can see in the fourth table that initiating or retaliating against a full-scale nuclear attack is only permissible, rather than desirable, for B whenever Bbelieves that a nuclear attack or act of retaliation is likely to make life no longerworth living for all creatures. Clearly, this belief of B's will tend to make B lessinclined to initiate an act of nuclear war, although B may still consider such aninitiation to be desirable. However, it seems likely that only extremely irrational,fanatic, or ignorant leaders would consider engaging in full-scale nuclear war tobe desirable even though they believe that doing so will make life no longerworth living for everyone.But nuclear war is "desirable?" (i.e. desirable given certain beliefs andcertain preferences) for B whenever B believes that, if A retaliates, conditionscould be made considerably worse for B's citizens. However, if B is certain thatA is a moral utilitarian, B will know that A will not retaliate, in which caseinitiating or retaliating against a full-scale nuclear war may be not only"desirable?," but straight-forwardly "desirable" for B. In any case, initiating orretaliating against a full-scale nuclear war is desirable for B whenever B knowsthat retaliation would be impossible for A.The fifth table assumes that side A is a nationalistic utilitarian and that side B isirrational, fanatic, or ignorant. The main difference between the results of thistable and the results of the last table is that initiating a full-scale nuclear war isnot always irrational for A. Although initiating such a war is still irrational for Awhenever A believes that full-scale nuclear war is likely to make life no longerworth living for all creatures, at other times it is "rational?" or even "rational." Ofthese two alternatives, the former refers to situations in which A does notbelieve that a full-scale nuclear attack on B will make life intolerable in its ownterritory, but does believe that B will retaliate. In such situations it will berational for A to initiate a full-scale attack against B whenever A expects that Bwill otherwise initiate such an attack against A, and/or whenever A believes thatB's retaliating against A will not be too terrible for A. On the other hand, in suchsituations it may not be rational for A to initiate a full-scale attack against B if Adoes not expect B to initiate such an attack if A doesn't and/or if A expects B'sretaliating against A to make life terrible for the citizens of A.Initiating a full-scale nuclear attack against B is undoubtedly rational for Awhenever A knows that B could not retaliate against such an attack. This will bethe case when A possesses exact destructive capability.52The sixth table assumes that both sides are irrational, fanatic, or ignorant. Thefrightening thing about the situation represented by this table is that initiating afull-scale nuclear attack is permissible or desirable in all cases and for bothsides. Retaliation is similarly permissible or desirable whenever it is possible.In fact, when both sides are irrational, fanatic, or ignorant the only case in whichthere is a reasonably good probability that no full-scale nuclear war will occur isthe case in which both sides believe that such a war will make life no longerworth living for all creatures. When A has this belief but B doesn't, it is relativelyunlikely that A will initiate or retaliate against a full-scale nuclear attack, but it isnot so unlikely that B will do so. When neither A nor B believes that full-scalenuclear war will make life intolerable for everyone, the probability that either orboth sides will initiate such a war is extremely high, for in that case each sidewill not only be very likely to wish to achieve racial, religious, territorial, orpolitical dominion, but will also be afraid that the other will try to do so. Hencethis is probably the least stable of all possible cases.Let us now turn our attention to the tables in which small-scale or limitedinitiations of nuclear war or acts or retaliation are considered. The seventhtable assumes that both sides are moral utilitarians or nationalistic utilitarians.In either case, whenever A and/or B believe that (a) a substantial nuclear attackon any fairly large region would make life not worth living for all creatures, Aand/or B will consider initiating a small-scale nuclear attack to be irrational (withthe possible exception of an extremely small-scale attack, such as that onHiroshima). Retaliation against such an attack will also be irrational for anationalistic utilitarian side, although, for the same reason as before, it will berational for a moral utilitarian side.In cases in which either or both sides are moral utilitarians but do notbelieve 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 nuclearattack to be irrational. In cases in which either or both sides are nationalisticutilitarians, however, either or both may consider initiating or retaliating againsta small-scale nuclear attack to be rational. Initiating a nuclear attack will berational for A, for example, whenever A believes that B is likely to initiate anuclear 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 will53cause B to surrender. Retaliation may be rational for A whenever retaliation isconsidered 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 anysubstantial attack on a fairly large region will make life no longer worth living forall creatures, A will consider initiating a small-scale nuclear attack to beirrational, and will consider retaliating against such an attack to be rational. If Bhas the same belief, B will consider initiating a small-scale nuclear attack, orretaliating against one, to be permissible. That is, B will initiate or retaliateagainst a small-scale nuclear attack whenever it considers racial, religious,territorial, or political domination to be achievable and worth enough to endurean intolerable life for everyone.In case neither A nor B believe that a nuclear war will make life no longerworth living for everyone, A considers initiating or retaliating against a small-scale nuclear attack to be "irrational?" For a moral utilitarian such as A initiatingany nuclear attack is irrational in most cases. The only exception occurs whenA believes that initiating a small-scale nuclear attack now will prevent a larger-scale nuclear attack from being initiated later. An example of this sort of caseoccurs when A knows that B is developing a substantial nuclear weaponsprogramme which it wishes to make use of in the future and which can mostefficiently be wiped out with a small-scale nuclear attack.Retaliation against a small-scale nuclear attack is rational for A onlywhen A believe that retaliating will be an adequate deterrent against futureattacks. In the same case, however, B considers initiating or retaliating againsta 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 isirrational, 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 orretaliating against a small-scale act of nuclear war is irrational for A, andpermissible for B, only when A or B believe that a nuclear attack on any fairlylarge (although limited) area is likely to make life no longer worth living for allcreatures. In all other cases, initiating or retaliating against a limited nuclearattack is "rational?" for A, and "desirable?" for B. The reasoning behind theseascriptions is as follows: initiating a limited nuclear attack may be rational for A54if A believes that such an attack will prevent B from attacking A or that such anattack, assuming that it is relatively innocuous, will cause B to surrender withoutcausing widespread suffering. Retaliating against a limited nuclear attack isrational for A if A believes that such an act of retaliation will deter B from usingnuclear weapons against A in the future. On the other hand, initiating orretaliating against a limited nuclear attack is desirable for B if B believes thatdoing so is B's moral, religious, racial or patriotic duty.The tenth and last table assumes that both sides are irrational, fanatic, orignorant. In case either or both sides believe (a) that a substantial nuclearattack on any fairly large region will make life intolerable for everyone, either orboth sides will consider initiating or retaliating against a small-scale nuclearattack to be permissible. Whenever belief (a) is absent, however, initiating orretaliating against a small-scale nuclear attack will be preferred.55Chapter ThreeConfronting an Irrational OpponentThe rationality tables in the second chapter showed us that it may be rational toinitiate a nuclear attack against an irrational opponent in situations in which itwould be irrational to attack a rational opponent. Specifically, we saw thatwhen A is a nationalistic utilitarian and B is irrational, fanatic, or ignorant, it maybe rational for A to initiate a full-scale nuclear attack on B so long as A does notbelieve (a) or (b) that such an attack is likely to make life no longer worth livingfor 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 firststrike (or nearly exact first strike) capability.The purpose of this chapter is to discuss the reason why it is sometimesrational to initiate a full-scale nuclear attack against an irrational opponentwhen it would not be rational to initiate such an attack against a rationalopponent. We will examine several examples in order to discover this reason.Subsequently we will discuss whether or not it is reasonable to suppose thatthere should ever actually be irrational persons in charge of large-scale nucleararmament. We will find that it is sensible to act on the assumption that suchpersons will exist. Finally, we will conclude from the analysis of this chapter thatit is quite likely that large-scale nuclear war will occur.Clearly, nuclear strategy situations in which one side is irrational are differentfrom the sort of situation that Gauthier discusses, since he assumes that bothsides 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 potentialnuclear arms equipped countries may well be unreasonably patriotic, fanaticallyracial or religious, or simply mistaken about the probable outcomes of nuclearwar. Whereas this may be more likely to occur in regions such as the middleeast, where fundamentalist religion and fanatic dictators reign, it could alsooccur within a superpower such as Russia or the United States. Hence we willdiscuss scenarios involving large-scale nuclear weapons under irrational56control in this chapter. Scenarios involving limited nuclear arsenals will beconsidered in a separate chapter.Before we begin our inquiry let us note that whereas one superpower, A, maynot have exact first strike capability against another superpower, B, A or B mayhave exact first strike capability against smaller nuclear powers. As anexample, 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 thischapter, we need not concern ourselves with situations involving very limitedarsenals. What we should have in mind, instead, are situations involving twosuperpowers, one of which is irrationally controlled.At the outset, let us consider why, in certain situations, it would be rational for Ato initiate a full-scale nuclear attack against B if B is irrational, but not if B isrational. 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 initiatean attack against B whenever A does not believe (a) or (b) and whenever Apossesses at least as much destructive capability as B. In particular, it is clearlyrational 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 thesame time, it may be rational for A to initiate an attack on B when A has massivecapability and does not believe (a) or (b) and B has the same capability butdoes believe (a) or (b). Finally, it may be rational for A to initiate an attackagainst B when A has massive capability and does not believe (a) or (b) and Bhas exact or nearly exact capability and does not believe (a) or (b).It could be argued that, where large nuclear arsenals are concerned, nosuperpower will ever have exact first strike capability for to wipe out 100% ofanother superpower's weapons is impossible. As we will see in the nextchapter, however, even being able to destroy somewhat less than 100% of theenemy's weapons makes nuclear war rational in situations in which it is notrational with only massive destructive capability. Given that this view will bejustified later on, we will assume, for now, that a superpower does not need tobe able to wipe out all of another superpower's nuclear weapons in order to57have something very similar to exact first strike capability against thatsuperpower.It may also be objected that it is only rational for A to initiate a full-scalenuclear attack against B if A judges it to be very likely that B will use its nuclearweapons against A. This objection brings out a point that needs to be statedexplicitly: we are assuming that the irrational side, in this case B, does not onlybelieve that using its nuclear weapons would be permissible or desirable, butis also quite likely to intend to act on that belief sooner or later. That is, we areassuming 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 toachieve. Clearly, if A knows that B would not actually use its weapons eventhough B sees it as permissible or desirable to use them, then it is probably notrational for A to initiate a full-scale nuclear attack against B in the severalsituations described above. However, since this scenario does not seem veryrealistic, we will stick with the assumption that B is quite likely to use is nucleararsenals in order to achieve some sort of conquest which it considers to beachievable in that way.But our objector might insist that, whereas situations in which theirrational side is very unlikely to use its nuclear weapons even though itbelieves that it is advantageous to use them may well be unrealistic, situationsin which there is a significant though not very high chance, such as 10%, thatthe irrational side will use its nuclear weapons are not unrealistic. In fact, suchsituations may well be at least as realistic as situations in which there is a veryhigh chance, such as 99%, that the irrational side will initiate a nuclear attack.Admitting the realism of this scenario does not, however, require us toadd any special discussion to the present inquiry. For it is clear that even ifthere is only a 10% chance that the irrational country will use its nuclearweapons within the next year, provided that its attitude towards the use of theseweapons does not change, there is a much higher chance that it will use themwithin the next ten years. What this means for the rational opponent, A, of theirrational country, B, is that A should expect B to use its nuclear weapons withinthe next several years. The situation is rather like flipping a coin: whereas thereis a 50% chance of it landing heads up if I flip it once, there is obviously a muchhigher 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 ifB is not particularly fanatical about using them, is rather plausible.58It may be suggested that if there is only a 10% chance that B will everlaunch 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 weaponsagainst 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 weaponswould be advantageous, it is not realistic to suggest that there is only anextremely small chance that B will use its nuclear weapons in any particularyear. It is much more realistic to assume that B will use its nuclear weapons inthe foreseeable future in order to gain the advantage that it believes it can gainby doing so.Having accepted this very plausible assumption, we should now contrastthe above described situations to the ones found in the third table, where both Aand B are nationalistic utilitarians. In that case it is irrational for A to initiate afull-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 capabilityand neither believe (a) or (b). And most certainly it is irrational for A to initiatean attack on B when both have massive capability, or when A has massivecapability and B has exact capability. Clearly, these cases differ significantlyfrom the cases in which one side is irrational, fanatic, or ignorant. We may nowtry 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 massivecapability, and neither believes (a) or (b), we may see why it is rational for A toinitiate a nuclear attack against B. For B can be expected to use its nuclearweapons against A in order to achieve some religious, racial, or nationalisticconquest, and A is able to eliminate the possibility of B using its nuclearweapons against A by initiating an exact first strike against B. Even if Abelieves, as is reasonable to assume, that any large-scale nuclear attack islikely to make life less worth living for all creatures, including A's own citizens, itis better for A to endure the suffering caused by the fallout of an attack on B thanto risk being attacked by B.It may be objected that in deciding whether or not to initiate an exact firststrike against B, A must not only consider the fact that such an attack will make59life significantly less worth living for all creatures, but must also take othercountries' reaction to such a strike into account. In particular, A must considerwhether other countries will look down upon A for initiating nuclear war, orwhether other countries will launch nuclear or conventional attacks against A forthe same reason. But since A is afraid of being the victim a large-scale nuclearattack, that is, since A is afraid of being more or less obliterated, A's reputationcan hardly be a major concern to A in deciding whether or not to defend itselfagainst B's planned attack against A. And if A suspects that other lessernuclear or conventional powers will attack A after A has attacked B, then A mayhave to eliminate the possibility of such an attack against A by damaging thelesser powers' military capability. Since A is concerned primarily with the thehappiness of its own citizens, and since a large-scale nuclear attack against Awould bring about terrible suffering and death for those citizens, A may wellconsider itself to be justified in eliminating other powers' military capability,even if doing so will bring about the death of many other people. Therefore, solong as A finds it to be sufficiently probable that B will attack A, it is rational for Ato 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 nuclearattack against B, in deciding whether initiating or refraining from initiating anexact first strike is preferable, A must calculate whether the probability of beingattacked multiplied by the utility (or disutility) of being attacked is higher or lowerthan the utility (or disutility) of attacking multiplied by certainty. It is rational tochoose 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 thelatter 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, andneither believe (a) or (b), it is not rational for A to initiate a nuclear attack againstB, for if both A and B believe that any large-scale nuclear attack will make lifesignificantly less worth living for all creatures (including their own), and if bothsides know that the other side prefers to maximize the happiness of theircountrymen, neither will prefer to initiate a large-scale attack. Irrespective of theeffectiveness or ineffectiveness of threats of retaliation, if both sides seek tomaximize the happiness of their countrymen and both believe that any large-scale nuclear attack will make life significantly less worth living for all creatures,60the expected effects of a large-scale nuclear attack will be an adequatedeterrent against either side initiating one.Comparing the above two cases, we can see that the essential differencebetween the situations they depict is that in the second case both sides preferacting 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 cannotbe expected to refrain from engaging in nuclear war.The same can be seen in other cases. When A is a nationalistic utilitarian, B isirrational, both have exact first strike capability and neither believe (a) or (b), it isclearly rational for A to initiate a first strike against B, and to do so as soon aspossible. For in a world in which there can only be exact first strikes and inwhich 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'sopponent will exercise his capability. Since serious retaliation is not possibleafter an exact first strike, B need not fear retaliation after attacking A. What'smore, by attacking A, B eliminates the possibility of A attacking B. So clearly, anirrational country such as B -- which seeks religious, racial, or nationalisticdominion and sees nuclear war as a means to that goal -- will prefer initiating afirst 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 aspossible, it is rational for A to initiate a preemptive first strike. Hence both A andB prefer initiating a first strike as soon as possible.It may again be objected that it is only rational for A to launch apreemptive attack against B if A believes it to be quite likely that B intends to useits nuclear weapons against A. However,it is even less likely in this case than inthe last that B does not intend to use its nuclear weapons against A. For indeciding whether or not to use them, B must choose between a very greatprobability of achieving some desirable goal and a somewhat smallerprobability of being attacked by A. Given this choice, B will obviously choosethe first option.In the present case, as in the last, the situation is rather different whenboth A and B are nationalistic utilitarians and rational. For in this case, it is notclearly rational for either side to initiate an exact first strike against its opponent,61although it may seem rational. As in any case in which both sides have exactfirst strike capability, retaliation is not possible, so that threats of retaliation arenot credible and are therefore ineffective as deterrents. Still, there are factorsweighing strongly in favour of peace, namely the fact that both sides are rationaland 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 largeproportions will make life significantly less worth living for all creatures. Thesefacts give A and B a propensity to avoid initiating a first strike, and bring about amuch more stable situation than obtains when B is irrational. Nonetheless, afirst strike may seem rational for A (or B) if A (or B) believes that B (or A) is likelyto initiate a first strike, for both A and B by far prefer initiating a nuclear attack tobeing attacked by their opponent, so that A (or B) may prefer acting in a waywhich is very likely to bring about a somewhat worse situation for A (or B) toacting 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 standingthe chance of the other side doing so first. So nuclear war is by no means ruledout 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 ifB is irrational, and in which it is clearly irrational for A if B is rational. This is sowhen both A and B have massive destructive capability, but A does not believethat any nuclear attack on a fairly large region will make life no longer worthliving for all creatures, whereas B does hold this belief. Given that B isirrational, initiating a nuclear attack is permissible for B despite the fact that Bbelieves that doing so will make life no longer worth living for everyone. As wasmentioned earlier, to say that an act is permissible for B is to say that there isnothing hindering B from performing the act except, perhaps, the belief that "thetime is not quite right" to do so. In any case, B may be expected to initiate anuclear attack at some time in the future since B considers religious, racial, ornationalistic dominion to be more important than survival or happiness, andmay believe that attacking A is a way of achieving such dominion. If B feels verystrongly about securing dominion, B will be very likely to initiate nuclear warbefore long. If B is less fanatic about dominion, B will be less likely to initiatenuclear war.Since initiating a nuclear attack is permissible for B, the same may berational for A. This is so because A does not believe that any nuclear attack on62a fairly large region will make life no longer worth living for all creatures, andbecause A may believe that it is more rational to bring about a situation that isvery likely to make life somewhat less worth living for A's citizens than to standthe chance of suffering a situation in which the lives of A's citizens are certain tobe ended or to be made intolerable. But since A will definitely be harmed byinitiating a nuclear attack against B, in deciding whether initiating or refrainingfrom initiating an exact first strike is preferable, A must calculate whether theprobability of being attacked multiplied by the utility (or disutility) of beingattacked is higher or lower than the utility (or disutility) of attacking multiplied bycertainty. It is rational to choose the option that has the bigger product. Sonuclear war may well occur in this situation since the likelihood of B attacking Ais fairly high since B prefers dominion to happiness.This is certainly not the case when A and B are rational. In that casenuclear war is very unlikely to occur since both sides wish to maximize thehappiness of their own citizens and believe that any nuclear attack on a fairlylarge region will make life less worth living for them. The result of thispreference and this belief is that A and B have a propensity to avoid initiating anuclear 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 anuclear attack, so that neither side need attack the other side first. This situationis 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 toinitiate a nuclear attack against B if B is irrational, but not if B is rational. Weshould see from these cases that the likelihood of nuclear war occurringdepends heavily on the preferences of the controllers of the nuclear equippedcountries. In situations in which both or all nuclear equipped countries aremoral utilitarians, nuclear war is very unlikely to occur since both or all prefer tomaximize the survival and happiness of all living creatures to any other goal.When one or more countries is a nationalistic utilitarian, nuclear war is morelikely to occur since that country or those countries prefer the happiness of theirown countrymen to other creature's happiness. When one or more countries isirrational, fanatic, or ignorant nuclear war is quite likely to occur since thatcountry or those countries prefer some form of dominion to survival andhappiness.63Someone might object, that although it is clearly true that an irrationalleader who values neither the happiness nor the survival of his countrymen ismuch more likely to initiate nuclear war than is a rational leader, the same is nottrue of a irrational leader who values survival but not happiness. For if such aleader knows that if he initiates a nuclear attack then his opponent will retaliatewith nuclear weapons, he will not initiate an attack since retaliation wouldjeopardize the survival of his countrymen.Whereas it is certainly true that such a leader can be more easilydeterred from initiating a nuclear war and is therefore less likely to do so than aleader who values neither happiness nor survival, he is nonetheless probablymore likely to initiate a nuclear war than a leader who wishes to maximizesurvival and happiness. We might say that a leader who values one and notthe other of these goals is irrational, but not as irrational as a leader who valuesneither. But since both a leader's level of rationality and his propensity toinitiate nuclear war are matters of degree rather than phenomena of completelydissimilar sorts, we need not consider leaders who value survival but nothappiness as well as leaders who value neither. For whatever can be saidabout the latter sort of leader can also be said about the former sort, but only toa lesser degree, or with less certainty.Since nuclear war is highly undesirable, the above analysis may well lead us toaffirm that only utilitarian decision making, that sees happiness as the ultimategoal of nuclear policy, is rational in nuclear strategy situations.This postulation may, however, seem illegitimate: if we define rationalityin terms of utilitarianism, we must not later place real significance on thisdefinition, as if it were a real discovery. What's more, it isn't the case thatmilitary controllers who aim at religious, racial, or nationalistic dominion at theexpense of everyone's happiness must be irrational.Behind this objection may be the idea that what we ultimately value, asan intrinsic good, is not happiness, or not only happiness. In contrast, it hasoften been claimed by deontologists that what we ultimately value is autonomy.But as has effectively been argued, the sort of autonomy that deontologists areinterested in seems to be logically impossible, for if our actions are caused weare determined and not autonomous (in their sense), and if our actions areuncaused they are not caused by our selves, but rather "happen" to us, which is64also not autonomy. So it would seem that the deontological theory of autonomydoes not warrant further consideration.But what about the idea that what we ultimately aim at is not maximizinghappiness but rather being good or doing the right thing according to objectivetruths? Should this idea lead us to question the supreme importance ofutilitarian considerations in nuclear strategy issues? There is a serious problemwith the deontological conception of "good" and "right." For the idea that someactions are good or right irrespective or independent of their consequencesrequires the presence of discernible objective ethical qualities. Given that thesequalities are discernible and objective, one would expect there to bewidespread agreement about them. In reality, however, deontologists havebeen unable to find an uncontroversial and discernible objective ethical truth.What's more, there is serious disagreement about ethical matters between andeven 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 toglean normativity from objective facts. These considerations may lead us toabandon deontological theories and to stick with utilitarian analysis.Alternatively, we may want to grant that the deontologists have not beencompletely refuted while asserting the real importance of utilitarianconsiderations in human affairs, and especially in nuclear strategy matters.This compromise position, which involve holding that there are objective ethicaltruths which are not absolute and can therefore be overridden byconsequentialist reasons, is one that is supported by a number of sane-mindeddeontologists. According to this point of view, nuclear deterrence may be primafacie wrong because it involves forming the conditional intention to use nuclearweapons in retaliation against a nuclear attack. But nuclear deterrence mayalso be morally justifiable, even if it is prima facie wrong, provided that itensures that nuclear weapons will not actually be used. Thus the goodconsequences of nuclear deterrence can override the prima facie wrongness ofintending to use nuclear weapons, an intention which nuclear deterrenceentails. 4Even if this compromise position is defensible, it is clear thatconsequentialist or utilitarian reasons are of supreme importance in nuclear4For an analysis of absolute and non-absolute deontological theories in thecontext of nuclear deterrence policies, see Jeff McMahan's Deterrence andDeontology.65strategy situations, for deontological theories which do not allow consequencesto override questions of right and wrong are implausible. If the taking of millionsof lives can be prevented only by forming an intention to do something which initself would be wrong to do, then it is crazy to maintain that that intention shouldnevertheless not be formed. This might lead us to adopt a straightforwardutilitarian 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 expectedconsequences are the only consideration that may rationally override all otherconsiderations in nuclear strategy situations. He states that, "[l]n normalcircumstances one may well have one's doubts about utilitarianism [includingthe idea that it is moral to act in the way that will maximize happiness], but ifnuclear war is among the results of policies under consideration, the gravity ofthe consequences carries all else before"(Lackey, 192).Unfortunately adopting a utilitarian or consequentialist approach cannotbe simple, for utilitarians are notorious for their inability to agree on whatconstitutes happiness. Some say that happiness is purely pleasure andenjoyment, others say that happiness includes knowledge, esthetic experience,mystical experience, romantic love etc.. How are we to reconcile theseconflicting theories and intuitions? Can we really say that we all valuehappiness 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 seemimpossible to agree on what we ultimately value. But we needn't be quite sodoubtful about utilitarian analysis, for we may surely find considerableagreement on what we value intrinsically. Even if some persons believe thatthere are other intrinsic goods besides pleasure and enjoyment and theabsence of pain, we can surely all agree that pleasure and enjoyment and theabsence of pain are very highly (and intrinsically) valued. For it seems that wewould all give up some measure of those other goods (such as knowledge oresthetic experience) for a larger measure of pleasure and enjoyment and theabsence of pain. Moreover, most of us would consider a life that hadconsiderably more pain than pleasure and enjoyment to be a life not worthliving, whereas the same cannot be said for knowledge or some other good. Soeven if we disagree about whether or not knowledge and these other goods areintrinsically valuable, we all agree that pleasure and enjoyment and theabsence of pain is an intrinsic good.66Given that we can agree that pleasure and enjoyment are very highly(and intrinsically) valued and that it is rational to value them so, we mayconclude that only nuclear policy decisions that take pleasure and enjoymentvery seriously are rational. For any single act of nuclear war brings abouthorrific pain and suffering, so that, from the standpoint of living creatures, amassive loss of pleasure is undoubtedly its main effect. Thus it seems asthough the only consideration that can reasonably override all otherconsiderations in nuclear strategy decisions is what move will cause the mostpleasure and enjoyment and the least pain, since pleasure and enjoyment orpain are the main effects of nuclear acts (and omissions).This means that it is irrational to allow other considerations, such as whatpolicy leads to greater knowledge or mystical experience, to override thequestion of which policy brings about the most pleasure and enjoyment andleast pain. Similarly, it is irrational to bring about the annihilation of life on Earthfor the sake of autonomy or racial self-assertion.It may be objected that those who value other things besides happinessas intrinsic goods would also have very much to lose from a nuclear war andwould also try very hard to avoid it. Or it might even be argued that as much ormore knowledge and esthetic experience than pleasure and enjoyment wouldbe lost, so we should let effects on knowledge and esthetic experience decidethe matter.In response to these objections we may admit that persons who valueknowledge, esthetic experience, and pleasure and enjoyment intrinsicallycould be rational in deciding nuclear strategy questions on the basis of theexpected effects on these three goods, rather than simply on the basis of theeffects on the last. For it is clear that knowledge and esthetic experience wouldbe greatly effected by nuclear acts (and omissions). But in order for theirdecisions to be rational, they would still have to place the highest importance onpleasure and enjoyment, for it is clear that all living creatures value pleasureand enjoyment very highly. If their decisions failed to treat pleasure andenjoyment as of primary importance, they would fail to be rational. As anillustration of this point, if a nuclear attack was expected to generate a largebody of new knowledge and esthetic inspiration as well as tremendoussuffering, it would be irrational to initiate that attack for the sake of theknowledge and esthetic experience that would be gained at the cost of thepleasure and enjoyment that would be lost. Nevertheless, loss of knowledge67and esthetic experience could quite rationally constitute additional reasons fornot initiating a nuclear attack.Hence we will assert, as we were inclined to do before, that onlyutilitarian decision making, that considers happiness to be of supremeimportance in nuclear policy decisions, is rational in nuclear strategy situations.We have seen above that situations in which one or more nuclear equippedcountries is irrational are far more likely to result in nuclear war than aresituations in which both or all sides are rational. We may now ask ourselveswhether or not it is likely that a country which is controlled by an irrationalperson or group or persons does or will possess large-scale nuclear capability.Since we will be considering situations involving limited nuclear capability in aseparate chapter, we may here ask ourselves the more specific question ofwhether or not it is likely that an irrational country does or will possess massiveor exact nuclear capability. If such capability is very unlikely to fall into thehands of irrational persons then it might be suggested that we need not concernourselves with these scenarios.I can, however, see no reason why we should reject the possibility thatmassive or even exact first strike nuclear capability will be controlled by anirrational person or persons. Indeed, in the real world knowledgeable personshave and do fear that large-scale nuclear capacity will be in the hands ofirrational persons. A contemporary example is the anxiety that many personsexperience about the present and future controllers of former Soviet arsenals.So clearly we would need a strong argument to the effect that large-scalenuclear arms will never fall into the hands of irrational persons in order toaccept this view. Without such an argument, contemplating scenarios whichinvolve irrationally controlled arsenals seems worthwhile.We might even go as far as to say that scenarios involving one or moreirrational controllers of large-scale nuclear weapons arsenals are eminentlyrealistic. For besides the nuclear weapons that occupy what was once theSoviet Union, we know that China, India, Israel, and several other middleeastern countries have pursued and are pursuing nuclear weaponsprogrammes. The fact that most or all of these countries are in some sensepolitically unstable should make us particularly uneasy about the rationality oftheir nuclear strategies.68It might be pointed out that of the examples cited, only the former Sovietarsenals are of the massive type or approach exact capability. Although thismay be true today, however, there is no saying that other countries will notachieve large-scale capability in the future. The possibility that there is or willbe 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 wesaw that there are situations in which it is or may be rational for A to initiate afull-scale nuclear attack against B if B is rational, but not if B is irrational. Inparticular, we saw that when A has exact first strike capability, B has massivecapability, and neither believe (a) or (b) (that any nuclear attack on any fairlylarge region will make life no longer worth living for all creatures), it may berational for A to initiate a full-scale nuclear attack against B if B is irrational, butnot if B is rational. We also saw that when A and B possess exact first strikecapability, neither believe (a) or (b), and B is irrational, it is clearly rational for Ato 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 attackagainst B. Finally, we saw that when A and B have massive destructivecapability, 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 isknown not to intend to attack A. It is clearly irrational for A to initiate such anattack 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 orpersons significantly increases the likelihood that nuclear war will occur, andmakes it quite possible that such a war will actually occur. Also, we saw thatthe reason for this fact is that irrational political or military leaders prefer someform of dominion to survival and happiness.Subsequent to this discussion we considered whether or not it is at allrealistic to expect a large-scale nuclear equipped and irrationally controlledcountry to exist, in the present or in the future. We saw that there are countriesin the world today that do, or could in the future, fit this model. Specifically, wesaw that some of the Soviet Republics possess large-scale nuclear weaponswhich could quite possibly be used for irrational purposes. Furthermore, wesaw that numerous countries in politically unstable regions, such as the middleeast, India, and northern Africa do or might in the future possess significant69nuclear capability which could quite possibly become large-scale capability.We concluded that situations in which one or more irrational countries possesslarge-scale nuclear armaments are realistic.Using the two main conclusions that our analysis has led to, we may nowconstruct 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 isquite 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, itdoes show that it is pretty likely to occur. Even this weaker conclusion is verydisturbing.Works Cited:Lackey, Douglas P.. "Missiles and Morals: A Utilitarian Look at NuclearDeterrence." Philosophy and Public Affairs 11 (1982): 188-231.Strawson, P. "Ethical Intuitionism." Philosophy (January 1949): 23-33.70Chapter FourExact First Strike CapabilityAll along we have supposed that we must dedicate part of our enquiry to adiscussion of exact first strike capability and the first strike nuclear policieswhich such capability makes possible. We will now look into whether or notexact first strike capability is a realistic possibility, and if so, whether or notachieving it would really result in the adoption of more offensive nuclearpolicies. Is nuclear war more likely to occur with exact first strike capability thanwith other types of technology? In order to obtain a satisfactory answer to thisquestion we will consider Nicholas Measor's arguments in his "Games Theoryand the Nuclear Arms Race" to the effect that nuclear war is far more likely tooccur given exact first strike capability. We will also consider the arguments insupport of the same conclusion which are presented by Douglas P. Lackey inhis "Missiles and Morals: A Utilitarian Look at Nuclear Deterrence." We will beled 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 ofTwo Types of Deterrence." However, after analyzing a number of the caseswhich are represented in the rationality tables, we will end by adopting a viewwhich is largely in line with Measor's and Lackey's.To begin, let us discuss whether or not any actual country can reasonablyexpect to achieve exact first strike capability. We should recall that suchcapability obtains when one side is able to wipe out the other side's nuclearweapons to such an extent that retaliation (except perhaps with a hand full ofweapons) is not possible. According to Roszak, American nuclear strategistsdistinguish between two basic types of nuclear strategy, one of which involvesexact first strike capability and the other of which involves massive retaliatorycapability. Exact first strike capability, which is also referred to as "counterforcedeterrence," 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.... Theobject is to cripple the enemy's capacity to make war in the event he should71attack... an area... but not the United States directly. The weapons this strategyrequires, such as the Titan ICBM and the Thor IRBM, can be housed invulnerable quarters because they are meant to initiate an attack"(Roszak, 73).On the other hand, weapons of the massive destructive type, which are alsoreferred to as "minimum deterrence" weapons, are aimed at the enemy'spopulation centers and must be housed in hardened or elusive missile silos inorder to survive a first-strike from the enemy. Their purpose is essentiallyretaliatory.That the United States seeks to have exact first strike capability, inaddition to its already established massive capability, is illustrated by acomment made by Secretary McNamara that: "the United States has come tothe conclusion that... basic military strategy in a possible general nuclear warshould be approached in much the same way that more conventional militaryoperations have been regarded in the past. That is to say, principle militaryobjectives... should be the destruction of the enemy's military forces, not hiscivilian population"(75).This comment clearly indicates that the United States is seeking exactfirst strike capability, since Russian missiles and bombers could be effectivelywiped out only by striking first.But the question still remains whether or not such capability is a realisticpossibility. Clearly, if the American Secretary of Defense believes that theUnited States should approach nuclear military strategy much like conventionalmilitary strategy, he expects that Americans will achieve, or knows that theyhave achieved, exact first strike capability. We might be tempted to concludethat if the heads of the American Armed Forces, whom the Secretary of Defensepresumably represents, believe that such capability is or will exist in theforeseeable future, then it is a realistic possibility. This simple way with thequestion may actually be adequate, since irrespective of whether or not eitherside will ever be able to wipe out nearly all of the enemy's weapons, it is clearthat the United States, and probably the Soviet Union, seek to achieve suchcapability and may now or in the future believe that they have achieved it. Andso long as either or both sides believe that they have achieved exact first strikecapability, they may initiate a first strike in situations in which they would not doso without that belief. The effect on the likelihood of nuclear war occurring isthus the same whether or not the superpowers actually possess exact first strikecapability, so long as they believe that they do. We may therefore conclude72that, for all intents and purposes, exact first strike capability is a realisticpossibility.This conclusion is also advocated by Measor, who argues that the armsrace is now a race to achieve exact first strike capability. Measor considers twoarguments which are often raised against this view. It is argued by somestrategists that the ever increasing accuracy of nuclear weapons, together withthe fact that more and more of such weapons are aimed at enemy launch sitesrather than urban centers, does not indicate that the superpowers are moving inthe direction of counterforce deterrence. Rather, these facts show that theUnited States (and perhaps also the Soviet Union) are or have beendeveloping "flexible response" strategies. Measor argues against this view bypointing out that so long as exact first strike capability is achieved, even ifcurrent military leaders do not intend to use this capability in order to launch afirst strike against their opponent, future leaders may "come to relish and useit"(Measor, 246). Therefore, the increasing accuracy of nuclear weaponstogether with the fact that many of them are now aimed at enemy launch sitesdo suggest that exact first strike capability will be achieved in the foreseeablefuture, 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 strikecapability is impossible since some nuclear warhead equipped missiles are onmobile ground launchers, aircraft, or submarines. It is alleged that it is notpossible to track and hit all of these relatively elusive targets. Measor respondsto this claim by maintaining that "[e]ven if the US is not currently trying todevelop an effective submarine tracking system (which seems unlikely), andeven if the US has not yet realized the possible significance of its counter-forcestrategy, it is surely only a matter of time before it does realize the significanceand pull out all the stops in the attempt to remove the remaining obstacles to afirst-strike capacity"(247). Evidently Measor believes that there are noinsurmountable technological barriers standing in the way of the superpowersachieving exact first strike capability.Having set aside the two main arguments against the view that exact firststrike capability will soon be achieved, Measor argues that such capability islikely to be achieved and will drastically increase the probability of nuclear waroccurring. He argues that when one or both sides possess first strike capacitythis capability constitutes an incentive to initiate a first strike rather than adeterrent against such initiations. Measor illustrates this claim by considering a73matrix which represents the US and the USSR, each of which have the choiceeither to initiate an exact first strike or not to. The figures in the matrix representsome measurement of utility or desirability of the outcomes to which they areassigned for the side to which they are assigned:USSRFire^Don't FireFire^X +10, -250USDon't Fire -250, +10^0, 0 (page 240).Although the figures in the matrix are obviously pretty arbitrary, Measor doesprovide reasons for them. The -250 figure indicates that being the victim of anexact first strike is definitely undesirable since "there is radioactive fall-out tocontend 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 itprovides the attacking country with political advantage. Whatever advantagethere may be in gaining control over a nuclear attacked country, it is clear that itwill be desirable to a much smaller extent than the extent to which beingattacked is undesirable. The 0 figure represents a situation in which nothingrelevant has changed. The top left box is crossed out because retaliation is notpossible(240).Measor argues that exact first strike capability is an incentive to initiate afirst strike since +10 is better than 0 or -250. Since both sides have similarmatrices, both will have this incentive, so both may try to initiate a first strike assoon as possible in order to be the first to do so. For "[s]uppose that I amdeliberating 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 donot fire (-250 in each case). But if he does not fire at t I am much better off if I dofire then. So I should fire -- and as soon as possible, since the probability of hisfiring during the next ten minutes is greater than the probability of his firingduring the next five"(241).74Even if an enemy attack is imminent, however, initiating a preemptivestrike is not always rational. In particular, if a country's leader knows that theaverage life in his country is barely worth living and believes that launching anexact first strike will make life no longer worth living in his country, then it isprobably irrational, even from a nationalistic perspective, for him to launch anexact first strike. But so long as the countries with exact first strike capabilityhave high standards of living and the effects of an exact first strike are not toosevere for the attacker, it is rational for those countries to initiate an exact firststrike as soon as possible.Although Measor maintains that the above scenario may well actuallyoccur if both sides achieve first strike capability, he acknowledges that otherscenarios are also possible. It could, for instance, happen that one sideachieves first strike capability before the other, in which case the side with exactfirst strike capability may have an incentive to fire, just as before, whereas theside without this capability will have an incentive to submit to the enemy.In order to make this last possibility clear, let us consider Measor'sanalysis of this sort of case. Measor imagines what would occur if the USachieves exact first strike capability before the SU does. He suggests thefollowing matrix:USSRFire First^Don't Fire FirstFire First^X^+10, -250USDon't FireFirst^-500, -500^0, 0^(page 241).The X in the top left box is there for the obvious reason that both sides cannotattack 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 theUSSR fires first with a massive attack against US cities, the disutility for the USwill be extreme. However, since the USSR does not possess exact first strikecapability the US can, and presumably will, retaliate. Hence the disutility for theUSSR will also be extreme. The +10, -250 in the top right box indicates that if75the US fires first the USSR cannot retaliate, so that the US will gain by such anattack. 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 attacksthe USSR's cities.If the figures in this matrix are approximately correct, the US willobviously have an incentive to launch an exact first strike since +10 is betterthan 0 or -500. At the same time, the USSR will obviously have to do somethingin order to change the situation, even if this means surrendering to the US. Butare these figures correct? As we will see shortly, it is very improbable that anycountry can actually improve its situation (as +10 suggests) by launching anexact first strike. If launching an exact first strike does not improve the situationfor the country with exact first strike capability then it is probably irrational forthat country to launch an exact first strike if, as the above matrix suggests, thecountry without exact first strike capability is unlikely to strike first. However, thatthe country without exact first strike capability will not strike first is not certain,since it presumably considers submitting to the country with such capability tobe highly undesirable. Thus the weaker country may launch a first strikeagainst the stronger in a last and desperate attempt to prevent its opponent frominvading. In other words, the weaker country may have a "use them or losethem" mentality.In any case, there are so many variables that need to be considered inorder to assign realistic values to possible outcomes and realistic probabilitiesto these outcomes, that it is very hard for either side to know, with any degree ofcertainty, that it will come out on top in the race to achieve exact first strikecapability. As Measor states, "Mhere are so many shortcomings in our ability toforetell the future course of events, so many deficiencies in such matters asintelligence gathering and weather forecasting, that to put a confident figure onthe relevant probabilities on the basis of the available information is onlymarginally more sensible than consulting the entrails of goats"(251).Measor concludes that even if the United States believes that it will comeout on top in the arms race and that it will be able to cause the Soviet Union tosurrender, since the US cannot know with any degree of certainty that it will bethe victor, it is in the US's interest to disarm instead of continuing to try toachieve exact first strike capability against the SU, even if disarming wouldentail 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, it76is better to opt for a quite likely lesser evil (viz. political subjugation) that tochoose a somewhat less likely but much greater evil (viz. full-scale nuclearwar). Clearly, if the US already possessed exact first strike capability againstthe SU, it might not be rational for the US to disarm. However, since neitherside seems to have achieved such capability, Measor does not consider thispossibility.In case Measor's arguments are not sufficiently convincing, let us considerLackey's arguments for the same view. Besides nuclear disarmament, Lackeydiscusses "superiority" and "equivalence" nuclear strategies. Superioritystrategies involve retaining retaliatory capability and trying to achieve first strikecapability, whereas equivalence strategies involve only retaliation. Lackeymaintains not only that equivalence is rationally and morally preferable tosuperiority, but also that nuclear disarmament is morally and nationalisticallypreferable to equivalence.In his argument for nuclear disarmament, Lackey claims that nuclearweapons have not been effective in preventing Soviet expansion and that theyhave not necessarily contributed to the relative global stability that has existedsince 1945. He asks metaphorically: "[Of the threat to use nuclear weapons didnot prevent the subversion of Czechoslovakia, the blockade of Berlin, thecollapse of Chiang Kai-shek, the fall of Dienbienphu, or the invasion ofHungary, all of which occurred before the Soviet Union could effectively deteran American nuclear strike with nuclear weapons and missiles of its own, howmuch less effective must nuclear threats have been towards deterring theSoviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 and the invasion of Afghanistan in1979, and how little effect could such threats have as a deterrent to the muchdiscussed but little expected invasion of West Germany...?"(Lackey, 190). Itwould seem that the Soviets have not been deterred from spreadingcommunism despite American threats of nuclear attacks.To the same effect, whether or not nuclear weapons are effective atpreventing a world war from occurring is debatable, since nuclear war in someways increases the chances of war occurring while in other ways decreasingthose chances. For as Lackey maintains, "it can be argued that every decreasein the chance of a nuclear first strike that results from fear of a retaliatory secondstrike is matched by an increase in the chance of a nuclear first strike thatresults from accident or mistake, human or mechanical failure." Lackey goes on77to suggest that, contrary to many people's opinion, "there is [actually] little...evidence... that supports the idea that the construction of nuclear weapons forthe purpose of issuing nuclear threats has contributed to the prevention ofnuclear war since 1945, or will contribute towards preventing them in thefuture"(191).With this preliminary and inconclusive discussion behind him, Lackeygoes on to consider nuclear disarmament policies, and compares them tosuperiority and equivalence nuclear strategies. Whereas Gregory Kavka holdsthat equivalence strategies are morally and prudentially preferable todisarmament or superiority strategies, Lackey argues against this view.Kavka maintains that since there are so many things that we do not knowabout any nuclear deterrence situation, we should not attempt to assess exactprobabilities and preferences, but should stick to the information that we reallydo have, such as which outcome is more and which is less probable. Givensuch 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 toselect 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. Sincenuclear deterrence situations allegedly have the relevant characteristics, Kavkaconcludes that equivalence strategies are the rational choice given that "[w]ecan be confident that the likelihood of Soviet domination if the U.S. disarms isgreater that the likelihood of war if the U.S. practices deterrence"(203).In arguing against Kavka's analysis, Lackey points out that Kavka'sargument requires Kavka to hold that the disasters entailed by Sovietdomination and by nuclear attacks and acts of retaliation are roughly equallybad. But clearly this is false, for "[t]he main catastrophe of the EquivalenceStrategy is all-out nuclear war... [whereas] the main catastrophe of NuclearDisarmament is a one-sided nuclear war"(203). These two disasters are notequally bad, not even roughly so. Consequently, Kavka's argument in supportof equivalence strategies is unacceptable.We may wish to observe, at this point, that if it were true that we know aslittle about nuclear strategy situations as Kavka maintains, then arguments thatrely on more detailed knowledge of the various probabilities involved would be78illegitimate. We might be led to reject numerous arguments that rely on suchknowledge, including Measor's. However, as we saw in the last chapter'sargument against Lewis, it is unnecessarily pessimistic to suppose that we havelittle idea about the possible outcomes of different nuclear policies, for there ismuch that we do know about the effects of nuclear weapons as well as aboutthe levels of rationality of the leaders of nuclear equipped countries.Lackey concurs with this view, for he claims that we can know moreabout the probable outcomes of various policies than Kavka allows. Althoughhe acknowledges that in nuclear strategy situations "we cannot supply precisenumbers for the probabilities of the outcomes, nor can we attempt to supplyprecise figures for the corresponding utilities," Lackey maintains that we shouldattempt to adopt a natural way of dealing with the uncertainties of nuclearstrategy situations, namely that we should consider each possible outcome of aparticular policy, take the expected probability of each outcome multiplied bythe 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 ourknowledge 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, andnuclear 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 a0% chance. Lackey tabulates his approximations as follows (for the purposesof this chapter only the first two columns are given):One-sided All-outTABLE 1^Strike^Nuclear WarSuperiority^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 thatwhereas strategists disagree about the likelihood of a first strike occurring ifboth sides are seeking first strike capability, it is fairly clear that such a strike willbe 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 it79more likely that the other side will undertake a preemptive strike; (2) the interestin technological innovation prompted by the search for first strike capability maylead to a technological breakthrough on either side, with a destabilization of thebalance of power as the likely result; (3) the increased technological complexitymakes firing by mistake or accident more likely; and finally, (4) the constanttechnological improvements necessitated by the superiority strategy may leadto frequent replacement of weapons, so that obsolete weapons may be readilyavailable on the arms market, which would lead to greater proliferation(207).Lackey defends [b] by suggesting that the chance of an Americanresponse to a Soviet first strike is about the same as the chance of a Soviet firststrike, for although the American President may not retaliate, the militarysystems of superiority strategies are geared for "belligerence"(207).The assignment of "small" to [e] is justified by the fact that the pressuresfor a first strike that exist given superiority strategies do not exist givenequivalence strategies. However, the likelihood of a first strike occurring bymistake, accident, or human folly is not negligible.Assigning "small" to [f] is justified by the fact that if the chance of a firststrike is small under equivalence, then the chance of an all-out nuclearexchange is even smaller, for the American President may decide not toretaliate for whatever reason, including the fact that retaliating will almostcertainly be irrational(208-9).Lackey defends his assignment of "small" to [i] by claiming that if theUnited 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 havemassive or exact capability, there is only about half the chance of a mechanicalfailure leading to war; (2) since only one side has nuclear arms the chance of anuclear 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 oferroneously thinking that the other side is about to launch a nuclearattack"(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 diplomaticlosses since nuclear weapons are considered to be especially terrible; (5) alarge scale nuclear attack on North America might contaminate Canadian andAmerican crops on which the Soviets and others are dependent; (6) the Sovietswill find it difficult to find situations in which it is practical to use nuclear80weapons given the nature of the damage caused by such weapons; otherwisethey might have used them against Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Afghanistan, orChina(210-12).The assignment of "zero" to [j] is obviously justified since an all-outnuclear exchange is impossible if only one country has nuclear weapons.Lackey concludes from his analysis of TABLE 1 that equivalence ismorally and nationalistically preferable to superiority since the former makesfirst strikes and all-out nuclear wars less likely to occur than does the latter.Similarly, nuclear disarmament is morally and nationalistically preferable toequivalence because nuclear disarmament is even less likely to lead to a firststrike or all-out war than is equivalence. Translated into our earlier language,this means that massive destructive capability is morally and rationallypreferable to exact first strike capability since the latter is more likely to lead tonuclear war than the former. Similarly, disarmament is morally and rationallypreferable to massive destructive capability since the latter is more likely to leadto nuclear war than the former. Hence policies involving massive or exactcapability are irrational.Lackey provides further support for this conclusion by considering themain causes of war between two rational countries in situations of equivalence.These causes, namely nuclear attack by accident and nuclear attack bymistake, are equally present in situations of imagined superiority.Where nuclear attacks by accident are concerned, Lackey acknowledgesthat the chance of such attacks occurring is fairly small, though he disagreeswith Defense Department officials who claim that the chance is not only small,but negligible. Lackey argues that the chance is not negligible since accidentswhich might well have led to nuclear attacks have already occurred. "In 1979and 1980 alone, there were at least three serious instances of computer failureleading to the conclusion that the United States was being attacked by Sovietmissiles.... [What's more,] a report to the Senate Armed Services Committeestated that the nation's [US's] missile-monitoring system produced about 147false indications of Russian missile attack in the preceding year [1979]"(Lackey,216-7). If such accidents and false alerts have happened and continue tohappen, then the chance of nuclear attacks occurring by accident is by nomeans negligible. For we cannot count on these accidents being straightenedout soon enough to avoid war every time they occur.81Nuclear attacks can also happen by mistake. That is to say, leaders ofnuclear equipped countries may mistakenly believe that it is in their interest tolaunch a nuclear attack. (If exact first strike capability is actually achieved it maynot be a mistake for them to believe that initiating a nuclear attack is preferableto not initiating one given the risk that both sides face of the other side attackingfirst.) 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-strikecapacity 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-strikecapacity 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 launcha strike before things get worse; or(d) Soviet leaders might feel that they are losing second-strike capacity, and strike to preventthemselves from losing the nuclear race; or(e) American leaders might mistakenly believe that they are under Soviet attack, and launchAmerican missiles in order to prevent their presumed destruction on the ground. This mistakenbelief might arise from mistaken interpretations of terrorist nuclear attack, catastrophes in anAmerican 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 usto be worried that they might actually occur. Still, many intelligent personswould claim that, although disarming would eliminate possible occurrence ofmistakes (a), (c), (d), (e), (f), and perhaps also (b), allowing for the possibleoccurrence of such situations is just a price that we have to pay in order to holdback the enemy. This point of view rests on the belief that if we would eliminateor reduce the possibility of nuclear war occurring by accident or mistake bydisarming our nuclear arsenals, our enemy would take advantage of hissuperior strength and would invade our territory by launching a nuclear waragainst us.As we might expect, Lackey argues against this belief by pointing out thatusing nuclear weapons would be diplomatically very costly and militarily veryawkward. He concludes, furthermore, that given that nuclear first strikes byaccident or mistake are far less likely to occur if one side disarms, and giventhat using such weapons would be diplomatically costly and militarilyineffective, we should disarm our nuclear arsenals.This conclusion follows from a moral and from a nationalistic point ofview since, in the world or in a nuclear equipped superpower such as the US,82the number of deaths resulting from a nuclear war in a situation of equivalencemultiplied by the chance of such a war occurring in such a situation is greaterthan the number of deaths resulting from a nuclear attack in a situation ofdisarmament multiplied by the chance of such an attack occurring in thatsituation, provided that certain facts can be expected to obtain. These expectedfacts are firstly, that the SU would use less weapons in an attack against adisarmed western nation than against an armed enemy and secondly, that thechance of such an attack occurring against the US are not vastly greater underdisarmament than under equivalence. Since the former seems very likely to betrue, and provided that we accept Lackey's arguments for the latter, we mustagree that from a moral as well as from a nationalistic point of view, we shoulddisarm.Since it is hard to show conclusively that the chance of an enemy attackin a situation of disarmament is not much higher than the chance of such anattack in a situation of equivalence, there may be doubt as to whether or notLackey 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 justas likely or more likely to attack us with a great number of nuclear weapons thanhe is in a situation of equivalence. If our enemy initiates a nuclear attackdespite the fact that he is no longer being threatened with nuclear weapons, heis very likely to launch a much more limited attack than he is want to do againstan armed opponent since an unarmed opponent will be more ready to submit tohim. Moreover, since only one side is armed if disarmament obtains, there is afar smaller chance of nuclear war occurring by accident or mistake (as Lackeyhas 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 thatmorally, if not nationalistically, it is rational to disarm. So although equivalencestrategies are to be preferred to superiority strategies, disarmament policies areto be preferred above all.Thus far we have seen arguments presented by Measor and Lackey in favour ofthe view that exact first strike capability may realistically be achieved in theforeseeable future and is more likely to lead to nuclear war than equivalence ordisarmament policies. We may now consider reasons for doubting Measor'sand Lackey's point of view, at least to some extent.83It may be argued that launching an exact nuclear attack in order to wipeout one's opponent's nuclear arsenals (and industrial installations) must involvevery many very powerful weapons since destroying targets which are eitherquite elusive or housed in hardened missile silos is extremely difficult, so thatmany missiles must be expected to either miss or fail to penetrate their targets.The only way around the almost indestructible nature of nuclear weaponsfacilities is to hit each with several very destructive war heads. Given that anexact first strike involves the use of a large number of extremely powerfulweapons, the effects that such an attack would have on the world would be verybad. These effects, caused directly or indirectly by fallout, could be so bad as tomake 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 enougheven for the attacking country, it would be irrational for that country to launch anexact first strike.This argument can be supported by Roszak's article. Roszak claims thatweapons of exact first strike capability "must also exist in quantities sufficient tomatch enemy missiles in a ratio of two or three to one; for we cannot assumethat every American missile will be accurate enough to destroy the Russianmissile it has as its target. [Exact first strike]... weapons must also be extremelypowerful, perhaps ten to thirty times as powerful as a Polaris or Minutemanmissile [which are part of the US's minimum deterrence arsenal], for they maybe aimed at hardened enemy bases that are supposed to beinvulnerable"(Roszak, 72).It is claimed by advocates of exact first strike (or counterforce) capabilitythat since weapons of exact first strike capability are aimed at the enemy'sweapons 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 firststrike would bring about less suffering and death than a massive minimumdeterrence strike. As Roszak points out, this assumption is unwarranted sinceweapons, industrial centers, and population centers cannot be effectivelyseparated. With respect to segregating civilian populations and military forces,Roszak states that "it is quite clear that this is impossible, since the Russians, aswell as ourselves, have located many of their bomber and missile bases closeto cities -- this is especially true of anti-aircraft missile installations, such as theAmerican Nike bases, which would be prime counterforce targets"(74).84In order to validate his claims Roszak quotes US Admiral Burke, whosays: "Many of these missile bases are right close to our cities, right close... Soan attack on our major bases would necessarily destroy a great many cities anda great many of our people. When those missiles start coming over you do notknow 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 terriblesuffering and death not only in the attacked region, but also globally. Roszakelaborates on this claim by stating that "the megatonnage of a counterforceattack is apt to be immensely higher than that of a minimum deterrence attack.Atlas and Titan missiles, for example, can carry several megatons ofthermonuclear explosives, each megaton equaling fifty Hiroshima bombs. Thismeans that the fallout from the exploded weapons is very much greater andthus the worldwide damage to civilians is bound to be immense"(75).If these arguments are as good as they seem, then any countrycontemplating whether or not to launch an exact first strike against its enemywill have a very strong incentive not to do so. This means that exact first strikeattacks are not so likely to occur as we have previously been arguing.Initiating an exact first strike is most clearly irrational when the averagelife in the country of the attacker provides only slightly more happiness thanunhappiness. For if life is barely worth living for the citizens of the attackingcountry even before an exact first strike has occurred (as can reasonably beassumed given that their lives entail nearly as much unhappiness ashappiness), then life will almost certainly not be worth living after the effects offallout from an exact first strike have taken their course. Clearly, any act whichis almost certain to make life no longer worth living for the majority of thepersons for whose well-being one is concerned, is irrational.The bad effects of fallout on the territory of the attacker and globally is notthe only factor giving a potential first strike attacker a propensity not to exercisehis first strike capability. Another and related factor is that it would be verydifficult to actually wipe out all of the enemy's nuclear weapons since many ofthem are housed in hardened missile silos and others are on mobile groundlaunchers and in submarines. Since nuclear superpowers have a very largenumber of nuclear weapons, even if only a small percentage of the victim'sweapons 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 only85manages to wipe out 99% of RU's nuclear arsenals, then if RU possesses onethousand nuclear weapons, it will be able to retaliate with ten (presumablypowerful and accurate) nuclear missiles. Those ten weapons will be able tocause very serious damage to cities in the US.It might be argued that a country with exact first strike capability would beable 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 whichare several hundred feet beneath the surface of the ocean at the other side ofthe planet, it seems unlikely that any country's exact first strike capability couldever be more than 99% effective.Measor disagrees with this point of view and argues that "it is true as faras I [Measor] know that the US is not currently able to identify the position ofSoviet submarines once they have left port, and it is true that until they are ableto do so there will be a deterrent against an American first strike. But... [e]ven ifthe 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 outall of the stops in the attempt to remove the remaining obstacles to a first-strikecapacity"(Measor, 247).Measor claims more generally that small changes in accuracy can makebig differences in the percentage of enemy weapons that are hit. Citing MichaelPentz, Measor states that "if there are 1,000 Soviet launching sites [which isprobably a conservative estimate]... then a 0.99 probability for each Americanmissile of destroying the Russian silo it is aimed at will give a very lowprobability (0.99 to the power 1000, which is scarcely greater than 0) ofknocking out all the Soviet sites in one attack. But an increase in accuracy ofAmerican missiles such as to give each a 0.99998 probability of knocking out itstarget will tip the scales dramatically, since the chance of disabling all Russianlaunching sites will now have increased to something which is scarcely smallerthan 1. But the US is striving to produce just such an increase in accuracy in itsweapons"(246). Given that small changes in accuracy can make bigdifferences in the percentage of weapons that are destroyed, it would seem thateventually the superpowers could achieve adequate accuracy to make strikingfirst a viable option.Since Measor's first argument is simply a statement of what he believesto be likely, we cannot treat it as an adequate defence of the view that thesuperpowers will be able to knock out 100% of their enemy's weapons in an86exact first strike. Similarly, his second argument only shows that perfectaccuracy may be achieved before long, but does not show that a superpowerwill soon be in a position to know that it can destroy all enemy weapons by anexact 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 mobileground launchers and submarines. Clearly, increased accuracy needs to beaccompanied by the ability to track all mobile missile launchers in order toensure that all of the enemy's weapons will be hit. Without evidence showingthat a superpower will be able to track enemy mobile missile launchers, it is stillquite reasonable to claim that not actually being able to knock out all of theenemy's weapons is a real disincentive to initiating an exact first strike.There is, however, one further consideration which might lead us tobelieve that a superpower such as the US will be able to destroy all enemymissiles without having several cities bombed in retaliation. In particular, weneed to ask whether or not it would be possible to intercept incoming enemymissiles before they reach the attacker's territory. That such an antimissilesystem is possible to develop is a view which is supported by the fact that thesuperpowers have been or are in the process of attempting to develop thenecessary technology, even though it is not unlikely that there efforts will proveto be in vain. If such technology is developed, however, any disincentivebrought about by the possibility of retaliation will obviously be eliminated.Roszak considers the possibility of wiping out all of the enemy's weapons to beso remote that he states that "a well-developed civil defense program isessential to counterforce. So also would be an effective antimissilesystem"(Roszak, 72). But until we know that such a system has been developedwe may still reasonably believe that some retaliation would be possible againstan exact first strike.Whereas Measor and Lackey have argued that exact first strike capability isimmanent and is more likely to lead to nuclear war than massive destructivecapability or unilateral disarmament, we have now seen two factors that act asdisincentives to initiating an exact first strike. Specifically, we have seen thatsuch an attack involves so many so powerful weapons that the effects causedby fallout in the territory of the attacker and globally are likely to be terrible. Wehave also seen that retaliation would probably be possible since it is verydifficult to actually wipe out all of the enemy's missiles.87With this analysis behind us we should now be in a pretty good position todetermine whether or not we should be concerned about US and SU efforts toachieve exact first strike capability. Is such capability realistic, and if so, does itreally make nuclear war more likely to occur than it is under minimumdeterrence policies?The fact that it may be impossible to wipe out 100% of the enemy'snuclear weapons may mean that exact first strike capability of the most perfectsort (which ensures that all enemy weapons are destroyed) is unrealistic. Sincewith perfect exact first strike capability it would be impossible for the enemy toretaliate, whereas with less than perfect exact first strike capability someretaliation is possible, it is probable that perfect first strike capability is morelikely to lead to nuclear war than imperfect capability. Nonetheless, evenimperfect capability is more likely to lead to war than massive capability ordisarmament. Moreover, although perfect exact first strike capability may neverbe achieved, imperfect first strike capability will probably be achieved beforelong, since nuclear weapons are becoming more and more accurate and sincethe 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 isquite realistic to imagine that such capability will exist.But does exact first strike capability really make nuclear war more likelyto occur? Since the main bad effect for the initiator of an exact first strike isfallout on the territory of the attacker and globally, if exact first strike capability isachieved there exists less of a nuclear deterrent than in situations in which bothsides have only massive capability, for in those situations large-scale retaliationis possible. Nonetheless, since the initiator of an exact first strike is definitelyharmed by the attack, he must calculate whether initiating an exact first strike orrefraining from doing so is preferable. More exactly, he must calculate whetherthe probability of being attacked multiplied by the utility (or disutility) of beingattacked is higher or lower than the utility (or disutility) of attacking multiplied bya probability of one. As in cases in which one is faced with an irrationalopponent, 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 theUS is .5, and that the disutility for the US of suffering such an attack is -500units. Then the product of this option is -500 X .5 = -250. Suppose also that thedisutility for the US of the US attacking RU with an exact first strike is -50. Then88the 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 theseprobabilities and disutility assignments.It might quite reasonably be asked what is meant by "units" of utility ordisutility. Perhaps the best answer to this question is that it refers to someestablished measure of pleasure and enjoyment or of suffering. Many years ofpleasurable existence for the majority of a large population would, for instance,be represented by a fairly high positive number. An equal number of years ofsuffering for the same number of persons would be represented by a an equallylarge negative number.Someone may argue, however, that even if we could in theory assignnumbers to levels and durations of pleasure and enjoyment for differentpopulations, in practice such assignments can never be made since it is notpossible to "measure" pleasure and enjoyment. Even if we cannot measurepleasure and enjoyment with any precision, however, we can surely have apretty good idea, in a 'rough and ready' way, of the effects on pleasure andenjoyment of different nuclear programmes. It is most obvious, for instance, thatattacking the population centers of an enemy nation will bring about a greatdecline in the pleasure and enjoyment for its citizens. If the attack destroys mostof the population centers, the average level of suffering in that nation willobviously be significant. So we should have no trouble assigning a largenegative 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 ofparticular nuclear programmes is suggested by Lackey. He states that "giventhe subject matter of nuclear war, for many problems value can be equated withhuman lives, and the outcome A can be considered better than outcome B iffewer 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,' andsince nuclear war is likely to leave persons in outlying regions alive but veryunhealthy, Lackey's approach is not completely satisfactory. However,estimating the number of deaths brought about by an act of war may well be agood way to begin to calculate the effects on pleasure and enjoyment of thatact.89Let us now consider some examples from the rationality tables in terms ofthe above sort of calculation. We will discover that it may often be rational toinitiate nuclear war if one or both sides have exact first strike capability.The third table represents the situation that obtains when both sides arenationalistic utilitarians. This table suggests that when both sides have exactfirst strike capability and neither side believes (a) or (b), that any fairly large-scale nuclear attack is likely to make life intolerable for all creatures, it may berational (i.e. it is rational?) for either side to initiate an exact first strike against itsopponent. Since both sides are rational and both sides believe, quite plausibly,that any fairly large-scale nuclear attack will make life significantly less worthliving 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 thatthe other will not initiate nuclear war, as soon as either side has reason tosuspect the other side of planning a nuclear first strike, it may be rational for thesuspicious side to initiate a preemptive attack, for both sides prefer attacking tobeing attacked. In such a situation, the suspicious side, A, must engage in thefollowing calculation: A must calculate the utility (or disutility) of being attackedby 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 strikeagainst A. Finally, A must calculate whether the probability of being attackedmultiplied by the disutility of being attacked is higher or lower than the disutilityof attacking multiplied by one. Whichever option has the higher product is thenationalistically rational choice, although it may not be the morally rational one.Although we can by no means be sure what utility assignments A wouldgive to attacking and to being attacked, we can make reasonable estimates.Since being attacked by an exact first strike would involve very many verypowerful weapons, it would cause tremendous loss of life and property in theterritory of the attacked side. Also, it would cause serious fallout globally, whichwould contaminate vast regions and would probably bring about seriousclimatic change etc. Given all of these bad effects, we should assign a largenegative number to being attacked by an exact first strike. So let us say thatbeing 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 ifthe above arguments are correct, some retaliation would occur. Given theseseveral bad effects, a fairly large negative number should also be assigned to90initiating an exact first strike. Exactly how large a negative number should beassigned to attacking is very difficult to say, however, since how bad the globaleffects of a large-scale nuclear attack would be is indeterminate. But let us saythat the disutility of attacking is -2500.With -5000 assigned to being attacked, -2500 assigned to attacking, andan estimated probability of B initiating an attack against A of .4, it is irrational forA 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 estimatedprobability of B initiating an attack against A is .55, it is rational for A to initiate apreemptive strike, since the product of -5000 X .55 is -2750, whereas theproduct of -2500 X 1 is still -2500.Naturally, the disutility assignments used in this calculation are quitearbitrary, 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 anationalistic point of view, being attacked is twice as bad as attacking. If we hadsaid, instead, that being attacked is three times as bad as attacking, assigning -6000 to being attacked and -2000 to attacking, we would have concluded thatan estimated probability of B attacking A of .34 or greater is enough to makeinitiating an exact first strike against B rational for A. On the other hand, if wehad 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 haveconcluded that an estimated probability of B attacking A of .67 or greater isenough 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 anexact first strike will be rational for a country like the US if it achieves exact firststrike capability, we can reach certain interesting conclusions on the basis ofthe above calculations. Specifically, we can conclude that the better a sidebecomes at wiping out the other side's nuclear weapons while creating as littleglobal damage as possible, the more likely that side will be to initiate a nuclearattack. As we have seen, the less severe the bad effects of attacking areexpected to be, the lower the estimated probability of being attacked needs tobe 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, wemay conclude that even fairly moderate disutility assignments make it rational to91initiate an exact first strike, given quite realistic probability assessments, if bothsides possess, or believe that both possess, exact first strike capability. Thismeans that if exact first strike capability is achieved, nuclear war is quite likely tooccur.The last of these conclusions is particularly true if a country with exactfirst strike capability faces an irrational opponent. For as is suggested by thefifth table, so long as neither A nor B believe (a) or (b), that any fairly large scalenuclear attack will make life intolerable for all creatures, if A is rational andpossesses exact first strike capability and B is irrational and possesses eithermassive destructive capability or exact first strike capability, it is rational for A toinitiate an exact first strike against B.The case is clearest when both side have exact first strike capability. Asin all such cases, since serious retaliation is impossible, the likelihood of eitherside attacking is increased given that initiating an exact first strike will not makelife not worth living in the country of the attacker. In this case, as in previouslydiscussed cases, in deciding whether or not to attack, both sides have tocompare the disutility associated with being attacked multiplied by theestimated probability of the other side attacking to the disutility associated withattacking multiplied by one. Whichever option has the higher product is to bepreferred. But unlike cases in which both sides are rational, in cases in whichone side is irrational, the disutility associated with being attacked (caused befallout and global destruction) may be compensated for by some very highlyvalued religious, political, or racial dominion. Since irrational countries mayvalue such goals more highly than pleasure and enjoyment and the avoidanceof suffering, initiating an exact first strike may actually represent an increaserather than a decrease in what they regard as utility. In that case such countrieshave no reason not to initiate an exact first strike. In fact, they have a very goodreason to do so as soon as possible. Since irrational countries with exact firststrike capability have reason to launch an attack as soon as possible, anyrational country that faces such an irrational opponent should initiate apreemptive exact first strike as soon as possible.Let us assign some numbers to the above sort of case. Given that B isirrational, whereas B assigns a disutility of - 5000 to being attacked, it assigns autility of 0 to attacking. If B estimates the probability of A attacking at .8, then it ispreferable for B to initiate an exact first strike since - 5000 X .8 is lower than 0 X1. Since it is clearly preferable for B to initiate an exact first strike, it is also92rational for A to launch a preemptive strike if possible. For if A assigns adisutility 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 Asince -5000 X .9 is lower than -2000 X 1. Even if considerably moreconservative 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 onlymassive destructive capability. The only difference then is that an added badeffect for B of B attacking A is that A might retaliate against B's attack. If A doesretaliate against B, then the disutility for B of attacking will be greater, so thatattacking 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 anattack against A if B knows, or has good reason to believe, that B will win thewar against A. Whereas if winning the war is what B wishes to do, it is obviouslynot preferable for B to initiate a war which B does not believe it can win, B maynot expect to win a war yet may nonetheless prefer it. That is, B may consider Ato be an evil nation, a nation whose continued existence is detrimental to God'sproject, and may wish to eliminate or seriously harm A even if A manages toretaliate. So clearly it may be preferable for B to attack A even if B does notbelieve that B will win the war against A.Of course if B's attacking A resulted in B being dominated by A, then Bwould very probably not prefer attacking A to not doing so. However, sincethere are many possible scenarios in which A's retaliating against B's attackdoes 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 preferharming A and suffering A's retaliation to not harming A. This follows from thefact 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 reasoningof this chapter, we may now end by recapitulating the main points that havebeen made. At the outset we asked whether or not exact first strike capability isa realistic possibility, and if so, whether or not it is really more likely to lead tonuclear war than massive capability or disarmament. In order to give an93affirmative answer to these questions we considered arguments presented byMeasor and Lackey in favour of such an answer. We noticed, however, that thecertainty of their answers needs to be tempered somewhat since the bad effectson the planet of an exact first strike, as well as the fact that it would be verydifficult to actually wipe out all of the enemy's retaliatory capability, still act asconsiderable deterrents in a world in which the nuclear powers possess exactfirst strike capability. We concluded, that even with these deterrents, exact firststrike capability makes nuclear war more likely to occur than do massivecapability or disarmament since attacking is certainly preferred to beingattacked and since neither side can be at all sure that its enemy will not initiatean exact first strike. The only obvious solution to this problem is to ensure thatexact first strike capability, or anything approaching such capability, is neverachieved.Works Cited:Lackey, Douglas P.. "Missiles and Morals: a Utilitarian Look at NuclearDeterrence." Philosophy and Public Affairs 11, 1982.Measor, Nicholas. "Games Theory and the Nuclear Arms Race." AppliedEthics. Ed. Peter Singer. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986.Roszak, Theodore. "A Just War Analysis of Two Types of Deterrence." NuclearDeterrence: Ethics and Strategy. Ed. Russell Hardin et al. Chicago:University of Chicago Press, 1985.94Chapter FiveLimited Nuclear StrikesIn the world today there are several countries, besides the United States andRussia, that have or are trying to develop nuclear weapons. Among thecountries that already have such weapons are Great Britain, France, China,Israel, former Soviet republics and allies, and India. Countries that have or aretrying to develop nuclear weapons include Iraq and other middle easterncountries as well as northern African countries. With the exception of GreatBritain and France, most of us would probably be worried about these countriesusing their nuclear weapons if the US and Russia decided to disarm In thecase of Iraq, we might be worried about it using its nuclear weapons even if theUS and Russia do not disarm. The most obvious reason for this fear is thatthese countries are unstable to varying degrees and for various reasons.Foremost among these reasons is a high probability that they are or may infuture be ruled by irrational persons.What can be done about limited nuclear capability in the hands ofirrational political, religious, or military leaders? Should we not use our nuclearweapons to wipe out these irrational countries' nuclear arsenals in order tomake the world a safer place?The seventh and eighth rationality tables suggest that an affirmativeanswer to these questions is appropriate in certain circumstances. It is thepurpose of this chapter to discuss one of these circumstances and to look at it interms of the sort of decision-making procedure that we have used in earlierchapters. Subsequently we will consider two reasons for doubting that nuclearweapons should ever be used for tactical purposes (we should note that"tactical" is used to describe a procedure which is meant to prevent large-scalenuclear war from occurring; a limited number of nuclear weapons couldpresumably be used "tactically" to wipe out a nuclear arsenal in the hands of anaggressive opponent). We will see, however, that despite these reasons,limited nuclear strikes, and the capability that they require, are less dangerous95to all living creatures than massive or exact first strike capability, and thereforestand 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 eighthtable, in which one side, A, is rational and in which the other side, B, isirrational, ignorant, or fanatic. In such circumstances, provided that neither Anor B believe that (a) a substantial though small-scale nuclear attack on anyfairly large region would make life not worth living for all creatures, it may berational for A to launch a small-scale nuclear attack against B. This will be truewhenever A believes that B has or is developing nuclear weapons and thatattacking B's nuclear facilities with nuclear weapons is the utility maximizingstrategy.As an illustration of this sort of case, imagine that A is a rationalsuperpower and that B is an irrational country that has fifty nuclear equippedmissiles which it is expected to use sooner or later. Since B has fifty nuclearweapons instead of only two or three, it may not be feasible for A to coerce Binto giving up its nuclear weapons, or to destroy them, in any other way than byinitiating a small-scale nuclear attack against B. Or it may just be most efficientfor A to deal with the situation in this way, although A could also deal with it insome more costly and non-nuclear way.In any case, in deciding whether or not to initiate a small-scale nuclearattack against B, A must calculate whether the probability of B using itsweapons multiplied by the utility (or disutility) for A of B's attack is higher orlower than the utility (or disutility) of initiating a small-scale nuclear attackmultiplied by one. It is rational for A to choose the option with the biggerproduct.What does A need to consider in order to make a good estimate of theprobability of B using its nuclear weapons, in order to figure out the disutility of Battacking, and in order to calculate the disutility of A attacking preemptively? Aswe saw in the chapter on irrational opponents, in making an estimate of thelikelihood of B using its nuclear weapons A must consider whether B intends touse its nuclear weapons in order to achieve some sort of political, racial, orreligious conquest, or whether B only considers its weapons to be useful in thatway but does not intend to use them. If B does not intend to use its nuclearweapons it may not be rational for A to launch an attack against B. But giventhe sort of country that B is, B may in time be ruled by a more aggressive leader,96the present leader of B may himself become more aggressive, or other changesin 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 itsnuclear weapons in the next ten years than in the next one or two years. Aswas mentioned earlier, the situation is rather like flipping a coin, in that thelikelihood of a coin being heads up at least once after ten flips is far greater thanthe likelihood of it being heads up at least once after only one or two flips. Soeven if B does not now intend to use its nuclear weapons, it may be rational forA to wipe out B's weapons with a small-scale nuclear attack.In calculating the disutility of B attacking, A must consider the nature andextent of the damage that B would attempt to effect by such an attack. Obviouslythe number and power of B's weapons is relevant to this matter, as are theintentions of B's leader(s). Does B wish to hit A's nuclear weapons facilities, itsindustrial centers, or its population centers? The answer to this and similarquestions will make a big difference to the disutility for A of B attacking. Butsince B has fairly many weapons (namely fifty), it is clear that any attack againstA 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 sideeffects, and serious damage to property would occur. In the worst casescenario, 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 difficultthan the previous calculation, for although in this case A does not have todetermine what B intends to do with its nuclear weapons, which is obviously noeasy task, A does need to predict other countries' reactions. Since any nuclearattack sufficiently powerful to wipe out fifty nuclear warheads would causeserious death and suffering in B, many other countries would consider attackingB to be an immoral and unacceptable way of dealing with B's arsenals.Moreover, countries neighbouring on B or down wind from B would probablyalso suffer either from the direct effects of the attack on B, or from the falloutcaused by the explosions. That these effects would be considerably worse thanthe effects of the accident at Chernobyl is certain. So clearly, A would bemaking itself quite unpopular by attacking B.Whereas reputation and popularity clearly play little part in A's decision ifA must decide whether or not to defend itself against an imminent large-scaleattack, the same is not true of this case. Not only is the harm that A expects toresult from this limited attack probably less severe than the harm of a large-97scale attack, but also the possibility of solving the problem by non-nuclearmeans is greater. As a consequence, the situation may not be viewed as a "lifeor death" situation by other countries who may prefer diplomatic, terrorist, orconventional war methods of dealing with B's weapons and who would criticizea nuclear solution. Since attacking B would probably cause A to be heavilycriticized by other countries, A will have an incentive to choose a non-nuclearway of eliminating B's nuclear arsenals.Additionally, the negative reaction against A's attacking B with nuclearweapons may not be limited to criticism. Instead, countries that are sympatheticto B's cause may decide to retaliate for B by attacking A. At the same time, othercountries may take the opportunity to attack their enemies with conventional ornuclear weapons since less attention will be focused on them at this time, giventhat a good deal of attention is focused on the conflict between A and B. What'smore, there are other possible ways in which A's attacking B could causenuclear war to spread beyond the initial region of attack. For this reason, aconsiderable number of nuclear strategists believe that limited nuclear war,confined to a specific region, is impossible. Whether or not this point of view iscorrect, it is very likely that in crossing the nuclear threshold by attacking B, Atakes 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 ownpeople's reactions to a nuclear attack on B. If eliminating B's nuclear weaponswith a nuclear attack is unpopular among the citizens of A, the leader of A willhave 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 mayhave an incentive to use nuclear weapons against B.A dictator does not have to worry about reputation to the same extent thatthe leader of a democracy must. Accordingly, he may not worry about hissubjects' reactions. However, if the dictator believes that using nuclearweapons against B will cause an uprising in his country, he may heed theopinions of his subjects.Despite the above factors that give A an incentive to choose a non-nuclear method of eliminating B's weapons, A might consider a nuclear attackto be the rational choice. This may be so when B's attacking A is imminent anda quick solution is necessary. It would seem that in such situations, nuclearweapons are tactically quite useful.98Having considered some of the issues that are relevant to the question ofwhether or not it can be rational for a country to use a limited number of nuclearweapons for tactical purposes, let us try to get an answer to this question bylooking at what some philosophers have said on the subject. Although DouglasP. Lackey maintains that nuclear weapons are not useful for tactical purposes, aview which is supported by the fact that neither the Soviet Union nor the UnitedStates have ever used nuclear weapons for tactical purposes although plenty ofopportunities to do so have arisen, other philosophers believe that it is useful tomaintain a limited number of nuclear weapons for tactical or deterrencepurposes.Bernard Williams is one philosopher who believes that maintaining alimited nuclear arsenal is useful. He argues that we should reduce, but noteliminate, our nuclear weapons since there may be situations in which we willneed to use them for tactical purposes. Although these situations are not likelyto 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 argumentthat if a country were in fact faced with a clear, immediate and realistic intentionby another aggressive power to destroy everybody in that country, for instanceby nuclear means, then its government would be justified in using a nuclearattack to prevent it happening"(Williams, 105). So clearly Williams believes thatnuclear weapons can be used effectively as tactical weapons.In addition, Williams holds that the superpowers may want to possesssome nuclear weapons as a deterrent. To justify this view Williams states that "Ido not even think that once nuclear weapons have been invented, we want asituation in which everybody has given them up -- unless of course everyonehas also given up their quarrels as well.... If everybody gave up nuclearweapons, you would not go back to a situation before nuclear weapons wereinvented: you would rather get a situation where nuclear weapons were alwaysjust about to be invented. The level of security you could achieve with thatwould be pretty low. As soon as there was an outbreak of hostilities then in factthere would be a race to reconstruct nuclear weapons and that would be sounnerving that preemptive action almost certainly could not be avoided"(108).Although Williams holds that nuclear weapons are useful for tactical anddeterrent purposes, he claims that everyone should reduce their nucleararsenals and that European countries should get out of the nuclear arms racealtogether. Even though he does not say so explicitly, it seems clear from what99he does say that Williams believes that the United States should hold on tosome of its nuclear weapons in order to avoid the sort of situation which heclaims would exist if everyone disarmed.Another philosopher who believes that we should reduce our nuclear arsenalsis Jeff McMahan, who argues that we should either disarm completely or adopta policy of "Scrupulous Retaliation"(McMahan). A policy of ScrupulousRetaliation involves threats of morally permissible retaliation. That is, itthreatens the destruction of such things as military facilities rather thanpopulation centers. A policy of this sort would presumably allow for theelimination of dangerous arsenals in the hands of irrational persons, and itcould also function as a deterrent against nuclear attacks. However, it wouldhave to do so without requiring a large number of nuclear weapons since it isclear that using very many nuclear weapons would cause terrible sufferingglobally and would thus be immoral and "unscrupulous."A policy of Scrupulous Retaliation has several advantages over massiveand exact first strike policies. The most obvious advantage is that it does notcommit us to immoral and irrational acts, such as wiping out the enemy'spopulation 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 involvingrational actors, so that threats of Scrupulous retaliation may be more credibleand consequently better deterrents in such situations. In addition, a policy ofScrupulous Retaliation may make it less likely that nuclear war will occur byaccident or mistake. For the missiles of the smaller arsenal that are required bysuch a policy are less likely to be fired by accident than are the missiles oflarger arsenals (given the fact that a smaller arsenal requires less triggeringdevices and other technological gadgets that can malfunction). Also, aneffective policy of Scrupulous Retaliation sends a message to other powers thatthe country which has adopted this policy is attempting to act morally and willtherefore not attack a rational opponent preemptively as long as the opponent isnot planning to attack that country.Whereas McMahan's and Williams' arguments support the view thatmaintaining a limited number of nuclear weapons may be useful in dealing withdangerous arsenals in the hands of irrational persons and may constitute aneffective deterrent against various forms of aggression, many persons believe100that nuclear disarmament is preferable to maintaining limited nuclear capability.While some advocates of disarmament believe that it is better to submit to one'sopponents than to risk nuclear war, others believe that there are enough non-nuclear deterrents against using nuclear weapons to make nuclear war veryunlikely to occur even if one superpower disarms. Yet other proponents ofdisarmament believe that conventional weapons are as effective at deterring anopponent 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 quitelikely to occur. Given that nuclear war would be a horrific event, we should doeverything we can to reduce the chance of nuclear war being initiated. ForBooth, the solution lies not in eliminating all forms of armament, but in Europeancountries laying down their nuclear weapons in exchange for sophisticatedconventional weapons. Having a strong non-nuclear defence in Europe, inplace of the present nuclear battlefield missiles, would probably make nuclearwar less likely to occur in that region. Since the United States would beunwilling to give up its nuclear weapons, they could continue to defend theirown territory by means of a straightforward minimum deterrence policy. InBooth's words, although "it is unrealistic to expect the United States to give upits nuclear weapons... the whole of NATO, including US forces, should beginmaking a slow adjustment to a conventional posture in Europe. While manyAmericans would be uneasy about depriving US forces overseas of a directbattlefield and theatre nuclear retaliatory capability, stability would bemaintained by the presence of the distant US nuclear threat"(Booth, 59).As Booth points out, NATO strategy has always seen conventionalweapons as important, but only in contributing to a phase in nuclear strategyrather than as an alternative method of defence. Indeed, NATO's position maybe supported by many persons who claim that conventional weapons alonecannot provide an adequate deterrent against enemy aggression. Boothargues against this view, for he believes that conventional weapons can causesufficiently terrible suffering and death in order to constitute an adequatedeterrent. He states:The non-nuclear option should not be embraced simply because it seems to offer some form ofescapism 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 centralEurope between such heavily armed and technically proficient forces as those of NATO and theWarsaw Pact would be a bloody affair indeed. If it were to break out, the only consolation such a101war might offer would be the thought that it would fall short of the nightmare of nuclear war, sincethe latter could wreak the damage of the Second World War in less time than it takes to read thisessay. Advocates of a non-nuclear strategy for Britain must accept the potential horror of modernconventional war. For one thing, they must be able to convince their potential adversaries of thishorror, so the latter will not imagine that any invasion on their part will be worth the costs. In thisway a conventional defence will be transformed into an effective deterrent(65).Booth in effect argues that the likelihood that conventional war "would fall shortof the nightmare of nuclear war" is great enough to make a conventionalstrategy preferable to a nuclear one, especially since the long term bad effectsof a conventional war would probably be significantly less serious than the longterm bad effects of a nuclear war. So apparently he does not think that nuclearweapons are sometimes preferable to conventional weapons for fighting atactical war.Having discussed Williams' and McMahan's view that a limited number ofnuclear weapons are an effective deterrent and might also be useful as tacticalweapons, and having discussed Booth's contrary view, we may now askourselves whether it is rational for actual countries to pursue a policy of limitednuclear deterrence or whether it is rational for them to disarm. Although Boothargues only that lesser nuclear powers such as Great Britain and France shoulddisarm, others, including Lackey, argue that even the superpowers should doso. If Booth's argument about the deterrent and tactical adequacy ofconventional weapons is correct, it contributes significantly to Lackey'sargument about the rationality of disarming. But fear of becoming the victim ofan irrational and aggressive small-scale or large-scale nuclear opponent maymake us hesitant to accept the view that it is rational for actual countries such asthe US to disarm. For although it is quite clear that possessing exact first strikeor nearly exact first strike capability is likely to lead to large-scale nuclear war,and although it is also clear that possessing massive destructive capabilityentails terrible inherent risks, it is less clear that possessing a limited number ofnuclear weapons is more dangerous than disarming our nuclear arsenalscompletely. We may quite reasonably believe that an irrational commander of alarge-scale nuclear arsenal would not be deterred from attacking us if we hadonly conventional weapons. We may also believe that an irrational commanderof a small-scale nuclear arsenal may be impossible to stop when, in the lastmoment, we discover that he is planning to attack some region with his nuclearweapons.102This last possibility is indeed quite realistic. It is quite possible, forinstance, that some irrationally controlled country such as Iraq is developing orwill develop a nuclear arsenal sufficiently large to be able to cause terriblesuffering in the territories of its opponents. If Iraq were controlled by a rationalleader it would probably be possible to deter him from using his nuclearweapons by threatening large-scale conventional retaliation. But Iraq iscontrolled by an irrational person who may accept the fact that his territory willbe massively attacked in an act of retaliation, so long as he is able to exercisehis 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 todeter him from using his nuclear weapons.Someone might object that it is not realistic to suppose that an irrationalleader, such as the leader of Iraq, cares neither about the pleasure andenjoyment of his subjects nor about their survival. Surely, it would be morerealistic to suppose that although he prefers to make his subjects victorious thanto give them pleasure, he is intent on ensuring their survival. If he wishes toensure the survival of his subjects, he will be disinclined to use nuclearweapons against a nuclear opponent who intends to retaliate.Whereas it is quite possible that there will be an irrational leader whocares for the survival though not for the well-being of his countrymen, it issimilarly 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 irrationalleader of the first or of the second sort does not matter very much since theirirrationality and propensity to initiate nuclear war are matters of degree, so thatwhile both are more likely to initiate war than a rational leader, the second iseven more likely to do so than the first. Consequently, it will more likely or moreoften be rational to initiate a preemptive attack against the second than againstthe first irrational leader.Given the possibility that any number of weapons cannot act as aguaranteed deterrent against an Iraqi nuclear attack, other countries who wishto defend themselves against such an attack must do so by wiping out Iraq'snuclear weapons or by terminating Iraq's leadership. Provided that the latteroption is not feasible, a preemptive strike against Iraq may be necessary. Andon the assumption that Iraq's nuclear weapons are housed in hardened missilesilos, this attack will have to be nuclear in character since conventionalweapons are not able to penetrate hardened silos.103If the above situation seems realistic, then it would probably be rational tohold on to some of our nuclear weapons. At the same time, however, it wouldbe rational to avoid using them whenever possible. In the example justconsidered, we could probably avoid using our nuclear weapons by preventingIraq from developing and building nuclear weapons or by terminating itspresent leader. Only if all such methods fail, and Iraq is expected to use itsnuclear weapons soon, should a nuclear attack against Iraq be considered.George H. Quester believes that sophisticated missiles equipped withconventional warheads would be an effective weapon for dealing with this sortof 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 oneimportant and serious situation. Turning to the nuclear proliferation front, suppose that we hadstrong evidence that a regime like Colonel Khaddafy's in Libya were embarking on a diversionof fissionable materials to nuclear warheads. The world consensus might indeed be supportiveof a move to head this off, as long as it was not too messy, as long as it did not entail the use ofnuclear weapons in battle. The destruction of the reactor or plutonium separation plant inquestion, by direct hit with one or two conventional warhead missiles, might be exactly what theworld would applaud(265).Clearly the success of this sort of attack would depend upon obtaining theintelligence that Libya is developing nuclear weapons before Libya has actuallyconstructed them or before it has housed them in more or less invulnerablequarters.What should be clear from this sort of case is that even if we shouldrefrain from using nuclear weapons as much as possible, unless we areconfident that we will always be able to deal with this type of situation in a non-nuclear way, we should side with Williams in holding that it is rational not todisarm our nuclear arsenals completely. But this does not mean that Booth'sclaim that conventional weapons provide adequate deterrent and tacticaldefence is all wrong, for such weapons might very possibly provide adequatedefence in most situations. In order to see how conventional weapons coulddeter even a nuclear equipped though rational enemy from using its nuclearweapons, let us consider another example.It is well known that China has nuclear weapons and that it has, for sometime, seen the SU as an enemy. If the former SU and the US disarmed theirnuclear arsenals, could China be expected to give up its 'no first use' policy byattacking the former SU? If the former SU were indeed completely helplessagainst China, then China would quite possibly take advantage of its enemy'sweakness by invading the former SU. But the former SU is not likely to be so104helpless, for if the former SU (or US) disarm their nuclear arsenals, they arelikely to do so in conjunction with an expanded conventional weaponsprogramme. Such a programme would presumably include stationingsubstantial conventional arsenals along the borders of nuclear equippedenemies like China. The former SU (and US) could then threaten to retaliateagainst the use of nuclear weapons with these conventional weapons.But why would China be deterred from launching a nuclear attack by athreat of conventional retaliation? It is obvious, as Booth makes clear, thatconventional weapons can cause terrible damage and suffering to a countryand its population. If China wanted to eliminate the possibility of a retaliatoryattack against it by wiping out the nearby enemy forces with nuclear weapons, itcould only do so by causing real damage and suffering to its own territory andpopulation since nuclear explosions cause harmful effects over a widespreadarea. On the assumption that the leaders of China are rational, they will notwipe out the enemy's weapons with nuclear weapons since doing so wouldcause terrible harm to China. To the same effect, it is likely that the former SUand US would have substantially more conventional weapons in reserve thanany other country, so that winning a conventional war against the former SU orUS in order to take over parts of their territory would be extremely difficult orimpossible. Any attempt to break the US or former SU by wiping out theirconventional arsenals, including arsenals that are not stationed in the vicinity ofChina, would involve the destruction of vast areas of the planet. It would thusbe impossible for China to use its nuclear weapons against the former SUwithout endangering its own territory and destroying many other territorieswhich China might otherwise like to take over. Therefore, SU conventionalweapons stationed near China, together with large reserves of conventionalweapons stationed elsewhere, would act as a deterrent against a Chinesenuclear attack against the SU.Despite the fact that conventional weapons could deter rational opponents fromusing their nuclear weapons, no weapons could deter irrational opponents fromusing their's. Consequently, situations may arise in which the superiordestructive force of nuclear weapons could be used to eliminate enemyarsenals. Unless irrational countries can be controlled in some non-militaryway so that using nuclear weapons to wipe out their arsenals is believed to beunnecessary, or unless their arsenals can be wiped out with conventional105weapons before they are fully developed and deployed, it is probably rationalfor the US to maintain some nuclear weapons in order to be able to deal withaggressive and uncontrolable irrational nuclear equipped opponents. But wemust emphasize the fact that possessing and using nuclear weapons is verydangerous since such weapons can easily be used by accident or mistake andbecause the effect of a nuclear attack is bound to spread much further thanintended, both in terms of the fallout that it causes and in terms of the politicalreaction and instability that it is bound to bring about. Consequently, we cannotsay 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: Someproblems and Some Possibilities." Nuclear Deterrence: Ethics andStrategy. Eds. Russell Hardin et al. Chicago: The University of ChicagoPress, 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, 1984.106ConclusionWhat Should We Do Now?In Chapter One, Three, Four and Five we considered four types of situations inwhich 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, wemoved on to consider situations involving an irrational opponent. Then welooked at whether or not possessing exact first strike capability makes anydifference to what policy is rational to pursue. Finally, we considered thepossibility of small-scale or limited nuclear attacks.The purpose of this chapter is to draw together the insights andarguments that we reached in the previous chapters, to bring together thevarious parts of our analysis so that we can decide, from a perspective ofgreater knowledge, what policy is rational, all things considered, for a countrysuch as the United States to pursue. We will begin this analysis by brieflyrestating the main arguments that we have endorsed. Subsequently, we willjuggle these apparently somewhat conflicting arguments so that, using some ofthe insights of the foregoing analysis, we can come up with a relatively clearrecommendation that is sensitive to the realities and possibilities of the world.Obviously, in deciding what defense policy to pursue, a country has to makecompromises. Similarly, in recommending a defense policy, we will need tomake some compromises. If these compromises are unacceptable to otherpersons, our recommendation will probably be objectionable as well.Let us now review the main conclusions of the previous chapters. In ChapterOne we saw that it is nationalistically irrational and immoral for a country toretaliate against a large-scale nuclear attack since such retaliation would leadto 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 andfor everyone involved, it is psychologically impossible to retaliate against alarge-scale nuclear attack. We also argued that since any single move of a107nuclear equipped country could result in terrible and widespread suffering andperhaps even the annihilation of life on earth, assessing the rationality orirrationality of nuclear strategy decisions is appropriately done on an act by actrather than a policy by policy bases. Consequently, nuclear deterrence policiesthat involve retaliating against large-scale nuclear attacks are irrational sinceretaliating 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-scalenuclear attack. As a consequence, threats of retaliation against such an attackare not credible so that pursuing a policy of nuclear deterrence that involvesretaliating 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 Ais irrational, nuclear deterrence would be rational for A to pursue. But as wehave seen in Chapter One, there are several reasons why insincere threats arenot realistic, especially in a democracy. Hence pursuing a policy of nucleardeterrence is not rational unless limited nuclear attacks, against which it wouldnot necessarily be irrational to retaliate, are a real possibility.Chapter Three showed us that since irrational persons regard racialdomination, religious victory, or some other goal as more important than thebringing about the greatest possible well-being in their country, they may bedeterred from using nuclear weapons, neither by threats of retaliation, norbecause of fear of nuclear fallout or political turmoil. Consequently, irrationalcontrollers of nuclear weapons can be expected to use their weapons,especially in the long run. Since it is quite likely that nuclear weapons will fallinto the hands of an irrational person within the foreseeable future, nuclear waris quite likely to occur.In Chapter Four we saw that exact first strike capability -- if it is actuallyachieved or if political or military leaders believed it has been achieved --makes nuclear war more likely to occur than do other capabilities. Since large-scale retaliation is not possible against an exact first strike, there existsconsiderably less of a deterrent against launching such an attack than againstinitiating a massive nuclear attack. Also, either of two or more countries thatpossess exact first strike capability clearly prefer to initiate an exact first strikethan to suffer an exact first strike. Consequently, so long as one such countrybelieves that it is quite likely that the another country is planning to launch an108exact first strike against it, it is nationalistically rational to launch a preemptivestrike. Given that such countries are in a "use them or lose them" situation, theyhave an incentive to launch a preemptive strike.Chapter Five showed us that while it may in some situations benecessary to use a small nuclear arsenal for tactical purposes, it is notnecessarily rational to maintain nuclear weapons. If an irrational political ormilitary leader has developed nuclear weapons which he intends to use, theremay be no way of stopping him from launching a nuclear attack other than bywiping out his nuclear weapons with a limited and precise nuclear strike. Butsince possessing and using nuclear weapons entails certain risks, and sincethere may be non-nuclear methods of avoiding the sort of situation in whichnuclear weapons are necessary, it may be rational to eliminate all of ournuclear weapons.It may be pointed out that if nuclear war is quite likely to be initiated by anirrational person in the foreseeable future, then it is hard to see how it could berational to eliminate all of our nuclear weapons. This objection can be setaside, however, provided that it can be shown that a country such as the UScan or will be able to prevent nuclear weapons from falling into the hands ofirrational and aggressive persons, or that the US can eliminate such irrationalpersons and/or their nuclear arsenals by non-nuclear means before thesepersons have a chance to launch a nuclear attack. Since we do not havedetailed information about US intelligence and conventional military capability,we cannot say whether or not the US, or any other country for that matter, can orwill be able to deal with irrationally controlled nuclear arsenals without havingto resort to nuclear weapons. Thus we cannot say for sure that it is rational forthe US to eliminate all of its nuclear weapons. We should not be surprised atthis result, however, since even persons who are fully informed about USintelligence and conventional military capability would probably have difficultlypredicting whether or not nuclear weapons will ever be needed. But even wecan say, that it is certainly rational for the US to unilaterally or multilaterallydisarm 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 thingsconsidered, for actual countries to pursue. Given the terrible risk to all livingcreatures that nuclear weapons pose, it would be wonderful if everyone109destroyed their nuclear weapons and forgot how to make them. But this dreamwill never be actualized. Consequently, we must look for a more practical andless perfect solution.Let us take the US as our point of perspective. Should the US continueto attempt to achieve exact first strike capability against other nuclear equippedcountries, should it hold on to its massive destructive capability and continue topursue a policy of mutual assured destruction, should it disarm to a large extentwhile maintaining a limited nuclear capability, or should it disarm its nucleararsenals completely?The first possible strategy is probably the easiest to dispel. It is clear thatexact or nearly exact first strike capability is destabilizing. If the US and formerSU achieve such capability at more or less the same time, then it is veryprobable that extremely large-scale and damaging nuclear war will occur assoon as a conflict arises between the US and former SU, and perhaps also ifconflict arises between US and SU allies. Even if the US and former SU do notachieve exact first strike capability at the same time and the US is far ahead ofthe former SU in the race to achieve this capability, the former SU may be led touse its nuclear weapons against the US before it is no longer possible to do soif the former SU believes that the US is likely to use its capability against it. Withthis belief, the former SU may even attack the US in order to prevent the USfrom ever achieving exact first strike capability. So working towards exact firststrike capability makes nuclear war more likely to occur than otherwise.It may be objected that since the US and former SU are now on friendlyterms, the former SU will not come to believe that the US wishes to launch anexact first strike against it. If we are allowed to assume that the US and formerSU will remain on friendly terms, then this objection is correct. However, thissame assumption makes trying to achieve exact first strike capability against theformer SU seem clearly irrational, for if the US and former SU are allies, the USdoes not need to be able to wipe out the former SU's nuclear capability. Thuswith or without the assumption, it is irrational for the US to pursue exact firststrike capability against the former SU.But what if a country with a large nuclear arsenal is controlled by anirrational person who plans to launch a nuclear attack against the US or againstone of the US's allies? Wouldn't it be rational for the US to maintain exact firststrike capability against all actual or potential nuclear opponents in case such asituation arises? This question is very difficult to answer, for although exact first110strike 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 alarge-scale nuclear attack by wiping out the enemy's weapons before he has achance to use them, once a conflict has arisen. Therefore, in deciding whetherto continue or to abort efforts to achieve exact first strike capability, the US hasto weigh the likelihood of a large nuclear arsenal falling into the hands of anaggressive irrational person against the likelihood of war being initiatedbecause of the existence or exact or nearly exact first strike capability.But there may be a way around this difficult decision that we can brieflymention. Although only exact first strike capability against an irrationalopponent would be sufficient to eliminate the threat that he poses to the world,an effective antimissile system would provide the US with excellent defenceagainst irrational opponents without creating the risks entailed by exact firststrike capability. Provided that such a system can be made adequatelyeffective, it would be nationalistically (and also morally) rational for the US togive up seeking exact first strike capability and to concentrate on building ahighly effective antimissile system. Given that the US and SU have madeefforts to build such a system, it seems likely that it is technologically possible todo so.Now what about the US's massive destructive capability? Is it rational forthe US to maintain its massive capability and to pursue a mutual assureddestruction policy? As Chapter One has made sufficiently clear, nucleardeterrence through mutual assured destruction is ineffective and irrationalbetween rational opponents, or between an irrational and a rational opponent,since it is psychologically impossible for a rational person to retaliate against alarge-scale nuclear attack, so that pursuing a policy of nuclear deterrence thatrequires such retaliation is ineffective and irrational. So it doesn't make senseto pursue a policy of mutual assured destruction. Moreover, if the US disarmsmost of its nuclear weapons so that it no longer possesses massive destructivecapability, it is very unlikely that a rational opponent will attack the US with alarge-scale nuclear attack since the US will no longer constitute a nuclear threatand since such an attack would cause so much destruction in North Americathat it would no longer be worth taking over. And as we have just argued, if theUS is threatened by an irrational opponent, it could defend its citizens against anuclear attack by means of an effective antimissile system. it is therefore clearlyrational for the US to give up its massive destructive capability.111Someone might argue that even if the US could defend itself by means ofan effective antimissile system, other countries would be vulnerable to nuclearattacks if the US disarmed the majority of its nuclear weapons. WesternEurope, in particular, might feel vulnerable if nuclear weapons were removedfrom the European continent. But provided that Western Europe's adversary isat least nationalistically rational, he will not attack that region with nuclearweapons if Europe has disarmed since Western Europe would no longer posea nuclear threat and since a nuclear attack would destroy much or all of what hewould seek to gain by invading.But what if Western Europe's adversary is irrational and wishes todestroy the continent for some non-expansionist reason? Presumably, WesternEurope would be vulnerable to such destruction.If a small nuclear arsenal in the hands of the US and/or some of its allieswould be an effective tool for dealing with nuclear arsenals in the hands ofirrational persons, should the US (and/or its allies) maintain a small nucleararsenal? As we have seen, although rational opponents could be deterred fromlaunching 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 smallnuclear arsenal may be a rational means for preventing an attack against aregion that is not protected by an effective antimissile system. Such an arsenalmay also be rationally used if it is believed that using an antimissile systeminstead may not prevent all of the damage that a nuclear attack is intended tocause to the country that possesses such a system.Despite the possibility that the US and/or its allies will need a limitednuclear arsenal to wipe out nuclear weapons in the hands of an irrationalleader who intends to launch a nuclear attack in the foreseeable future, it is stillnot clear that it is rational for the US and/or its allies to maintain even a limitednuclear arsenal since any nuclear arsenal entails risks. Besides the danger ofnuclear war being initiated by accident or mistake, we should recall that themost obvious risks entailed by using nuclear weapons have to do with the factthat the effects of nuclear explosions are impossible to contain within a smallregion as well as the fact that crossing the nuclear threshold will invite othernuclear powers to use their nuclear weapons. If these risks are real, it may berational for the US and its allies to disarm its nuclear arsenals completely.112To the same effect, it may be objected that if working towards orpossessing exact first strike capability against a large-scale nuclear opponent isvery probably irrational, why might possessing a small nuclear arsenal to wipeout small irrational opponents be rational? Surely if the whole world could bedefended by an effective antimissile system, it would be rational for countries togive up their nuclear weapons even if some irrational nuclear equippedcountries refused to do so. But such a system may be far too costly, so thatregions outside the US might be vulnerable if they have no nuclear weapons toprotect them against irrational attack, as we have just seen. The differencebetween exact first strike capability against a large nuclear opponent and thecapability to wipe out a limited arsenal in the hands of an irrational controllerseems to be one of degree. Whereas the former could lead to a nuclear attackthat could bring about the annihilation of life on earth, the latter couldpresumably be used without causing nearly as serious suffering anddestruction.Here again, in deciding whether to maintain a limited nuclear arsenal orto disarm its nuclear weapons completely, the US must weigh the likelihood ofnuclear weapons falling into the hands of an irrational and aggressive personwho intends to launch a nuclear attack too soon for the US to be able to attemptnon-nuclear solutions, against the likelihood that possessing and possiblyusing some nuclear weapons will bring about unacceptable effects (with bothlikelihoods multiplied by some measure of expected utility). Since it is quiterealistic to expect an irrational political or military leader to intend to use nuclearweapons against the US or one of the US's allies, the deciding factor must bewhether or not the US believes that it is able to destroy such nuclearprogrammes before they become impossible to destroy with conventionalmeans, or whether or not it is able to eliminate the offending leader and hiscompatriots before they give the order to fire.Although we cannot decide this question for any actual country such asthe US, we may recall that budding nuclear arsenals have already beeneffectively wiped out by non-nuclear means, specifically in Libya. So it seemsquite possible that the US and its allies will be able to successfully conductsimilar operations in the future. But since future irrational leaders may betterconceal and protect their nuclear projects, it is not certain that those projectscan be quelled by non-nuclear means.113To bring our analysis to a close, let us question how likely it is that actualcountries, such as the US, will disarm their nuclear weapons, either completelyor to a large extent. In this context it seems not at all certain, and perhaps noteven likely, that large-scale disarmament will take place within the foreseeablefuture. Provided that the arguments of the foregoing analysis are more or lessin order, it is irrational for countries not to begin to disarm their nuclear weaponsin exchange for better conventional arsenals. Regrettably, however, politiciansdo not always see it as their duty to bring about the greatest possible well-beingin their country, nor indeed, among all living creatures. Instead, they oftenconsider political popularity and partisanship to be their main agenda. All wecan hope for as philosophers is, on occasion, to bring them back to their rationalbearings.114BibliographyBlake, Nigel and Kay Pole, eds. Dangers of Deterrence: Philosophers onDeterrence. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1983.Blake, Nigel and Kay Pole, eds. Objections to Nuclear Defence: Philosopherson Deterrence. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1984.Brandt, Richard B.. A Theory of the Good and the Right. Oxford: ClarendonPress, 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." TheSecurity Gamble. Ed. Douglas Maclean. Totowa (NJ): Rowman andAllanheld, 1984.Gauthier, David. "Deterrence, Maximization, and Rationality." Ethics (April1984): 474-495.Glover, Jonathan. Causing Death and Saving Lives. Harmondsworth(Middlesex): Penguin Books, 1977.Gregory, Shaun. The Hidden Costs of Deterrence: Nuclear WeaponsAccidents. London: Brassey's, 1990.Harden, Russell et al., eds. Nuclear Deterrence: Ethics and Strategy. Chicago:The University of Chicago Press, 1985.Kavka, Gregory S. and David Gauthier. "Responses to the Paradox ofDeterrence." The Security Gamble. Ed. Douglas Maclean. Totowa (NJ):Rowman and Allanheld, 1984.Lackey, Douglas P.. "Missiles and Morals: A Utilitarian Look at NuclearDeterrence." Philosophy and Public Affairs 11 (1982): 188-231.Lewis, David. "Devil's Bargains and the Real World." The Security Gamble:Deterrence Dilemmas in the Nuclear Age. Ed. Douglas Maclean.Totawa (NJ): Rowman and Allanheld, 1984.Maclean, Douglas, ed. The Security Gamble: Deterrence Dilemmas in theNuclear Age. Ed. Douglas Maclean. Totowa (NJ): Rowman andAllanheld, 1984.115McMahan, Jeff. "Deterrence and Deontology." Ethics (April 1985): 517-536.McMahan, Jeff. "Is Nuclear Deterrence Paradoxical?" Ethics (January 1989):407-422.Measor, Nicholas. "Games Theory and the Nuclear Arms Race." AppliedEthics. Ed. Peter Singer. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986.Quester, George H.. "Substituting Conventional for Nuclear Weapons: SomeProblems and Some Possibilities." Nuclear Deterrence: Ethics andStrategy. Eds. Russell Hardin et al. Chicago: The University ofChicago Press, 1985.Rachels, James, ed. Moral Problems: A Collection of Philosophical Essays.New York: Harper and Row, 1971.Roszak, Theodore. "A Just War Analysis of Two Types of Deterrence."Nuclear Deterrence: Ethics and Strategy. Eds. Russell Hardin et al.Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1985.Singer, Peter, ed. Applied Ethics. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986.Schell, Jonathan. The Abolition. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1984.Strawson, P. "Ethical Intuitionism." Philosophy (January 1949): 23-33.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, 1984.116


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