Presentation on theme: "The Implications of the Atomic Bomb for International Relations Jacob Viner, 1951."— Presentation transcript:
The Implications of the Atomic Bomb for International Relations Jacob Viner, 1951
Observations Atomic weapons have obvious destructive capability Keeping atomic weapons secret is already impossible, preventing their manufacture through secrecy is similarly futile Atomic weapons the type that are not effective against their own kind
Observations (contd.) Vulnerability is dependent on: –The proportion of its population which lives in large cities –The average size and density of these cities –The concentration of major industries of military significance There is a universal agreement that it is advantageous to strike first, but Viner contends that countries will not concentrate their atomic capability –This is the rational assumption that states will maintain a survivable second strike capability, a minimum requirement for deterrence
Observations (contd) Defense against atomic bombs seems to be impossible –Viner acknowledges that decentralization of industry and deurbanization of population can reduce the military effectiveness of atomic weapons –This is an unwieldy procedure and carries tremendous economic costs –Because the article was written in 1951, it does not account for the new countermissile technologies. The development of advanced radars, anti-missile missiles, and kill vehicles is obviously not taken into account Nonetheless, many defense analysts assess the effectiveness of a missile defense system as extremely suspect, so Viners presumption that defense is impossible is still relevant
Observations Hypotheses –Atomic bombs would be used early in war, each country would be laid to waste –Both sides would make an agreement not to use atomic weapons at the start of a conflict –Countries would try as hard as possible to prevent war for assurance that atomic weapons will not be used
Arguments Atomic weapons reshape the international system by making small states more powerful –Small states will not be conquered without cost –According to Viner, the small country will again be more than a cipher or a mere pawn in power-politics, provided it is big enough to produce atomic bombs. Viner seems to assume that atomic bombs will proliferate quickly –However, in the present day most atomic states are acknowledged powers that states would likely not go to war with anyway –The actions of rogue states illustrates what Viner is trying to argue
Arguments (contd) Prospects of world government –Unlikely in the near future –The system (in 1951) is dominated by two states, neither of which will give up its vital interests for the sake of world government –For world government to arise power needs to be evenly distributed What is left is a Concert of Powers and the United Nations –The United Nations is effective, giving weight to the five world powers (the Security Council veto) –Two other advantages: near universal membership and an ambitious program of beneficent economic and social activities which may succeed in fostering a feeling of community…strong enough to withstand the strains of the clashes of interest.
Arguments (contd) Mutually conciliatory diplomacy –Atomic weapons make war too horrible to contemplate, which makes peace a mutually beneficial goal –Trust and cooperation through diplomacy reduce the threat that atomic weapons pose
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