For John, BLUF: Nuclear Deterrence isn't a good thing, but the alternative, coercion by a nation with a handful of nuclear weapons may well be worse. Nothing to see here; just move along.
This article is from the Boston Dioceses Newspaper, The Pilot, by Mr Russell Shaw, a consultor of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications and has served as communications director for the U.S. Bishops. The Dateline is 17 January 2018.
Here is the lede plus one:
Nuclear disarmament hasn't happened in these 35 years, and now North Korea has joined the nuclear club, President Trump speaks of using these weapons, and the U.S. and other nuclear powers are busy modernizing their stockpiles.Then the article goes on to talking about deterrence in action, and the moral implications.
"We are at the limit of what is licit." In early December Pope Francis offered that assessment of nuclear deterrence during a question and answer session with reporters on the plane back to Rome from Bangladesh.
A month before, the Pope had strongly suggested that the "limit" had already been exceeded. "The threat of their [nuclear weapons'] use, as well as their very possession, is firmly to be condemned," he said in a message to a Vatican-sponsored conference on nuclear disarmament.
This wasn't the first time a pope has challenged the morality of nuclear deterrence. In a message to the United Nations General Assembly in 1982 Pope John Paul II granted only a grudging interim toleration to deterrence ("may still be judged morally acceptable") as a stage on the way to the total elimination of nuclear weapons.
The American bishops relied on that judgment of conditional, temporary toleration of deterrence in their 1983 collective pastoral letter The Challenge of Peace.
But it's now 35 years since St. John Paul delivered his judgment and the bishops repeated it, and Pope Francis has just raised the moral bar a lot higher.
As well he might. Nuclear disarmament hasn't happened in these 35 years, and now North Korea has joined the nuclear club, President Trump speaks of using these weapons, and the U.S. and other nuclear powers are busy modernizing their stockpiles. The countries that now have nuclear arms are the U.S., Russia, China, Great Britain, France, Israel, India, Pakistan, and North Korea. Several others are in a position to acquire them fairly quickly if they so desire.
I have to admit I couldn't resist firing back, in the Comments Section, over may own signature:
War is immoral. We (the human race) killed millions in WWII not counting the two (three, actually) nuclear devices torched off. Millions. And WWI (The Great War), while not as bad, still led to the deaths of millions. And there was Mao and Pol Pot.Regards — Cliff
I guess we could do away with War, and Nuclear Weapons, if we all submitted to a one world government. Unfortunately, such an institution would likely result in some people feeling oppressed and then rising up against such a centralized government. Especially if that one world government turned out to be oppressive, to disregard things that we think of as human rights. It makes me think of the need for subsidiarity, which works against a functioning one world government.
There are no easy answers here. And, yes, I have played with nuclear weapons, as an aircrew member, a squadron level planner and a NATO Air Headquarters level planner.