Five Myths About Nuclear Weapons

Five Myths About Nuclear Weapons

Book - 2013
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An explosive rethinking of the power and purpose of nuclear weapons--and a call for radical action

Nuclear weapons have always been a serious but seemingly insoluble problem: while they're obviously dangerous, they are also, apparently, necessary. This groundbreaking study shows why five central arguments promoting nuclear weapons are, in essence, myths. It is a myth:

* that nuclear weapons necessarily shock and awe opponents, including Japan at the end of World War II
* that nuclear deterrence is reliable in a crisis
* that destruction wins wars
* that the bomb has kept the peace for sixty-five years
* and that we can't put the nuclear genie back in the bottle

Drawing on new information and the latest historical research, Wilson poses a fundamental challenge to the myths on which nuclear weapons policy is currently built. Using pragmatic arguments and an unemotional, clear-eyed insistence on the truth, he arrives at a surprising conclusion: nuclear weapons are enormously dangerous, but don't appear to be terribly useful. In that case, he asks, why would we want to keep them?

This book will be widely read and discussed by everyone who cares about war, peace, foreign policy, and security in the twenty-first century.
Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013
ISBN: 9780547857879
Branch Call Number: History 355.021 Wil
Alternative Title: 5 myths about nuclear weapons


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Apr 16, 2013

In 124 pages, Ward Wilson, a senior fellow at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, calls into question the basic assumptions that have directed nuclear weapon policy (global as well as American) for 65 years. Persuasive, although, as much thought and study as Wilson has put into this topic (30 years) I think there are some nuances that didn't fit into 124 pages. Example: Hiroshima & Nagasaki were not the motivation for Japan's surrender, but an argument can be made that without a face-saving pretext for surrender, Japan would have been forced by its own culture to continue fighting to the last child standing. I intend to read The Second Nuclear Age by Paul Bracken for additional thoughts.


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