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The Core Question: Nuclear Deterrence in the Focus of Peace Ethics and Security Policy

“Our world is marked by a perverse dichotomy that tries to defend and ensure stability and peace through a false sense of security sustained by a mentality of fear and mistrust.” With these words, spoken in Nagasaki at the end of 2019, Pope Francis once again condemned the system of nuclear deterrence. Peace and international stability cannot be built on the threat of total annihilation, he said. By taking the view that not only the use of nuclear weapons but also threatening their use and even their possession cannot be justified, the pope has set a new course in the Church’s peace ethics ...

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Photo: flickr/Pierre J


Pope Francis’ comprehensive rejection of nuclear weapons comes as anything but a surprise
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The signs of the times permit no other conclusion: nuclear deterrence is no longer justifiable
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Contrary to the church mainstream, nuclear deterrence can still be conditionally tolerated today
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Nuclear deterrence secures an international order based on racialized and gendered inequality
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Many citizens finance nuclear armaments companies without knowing it
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To overcome the nuclear escalation logic, Germany's solo efforts are not helpful  
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If arms control can resume between Russia and the West, the process can be extended to other nuclear-armed states later on
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A renunciation of nuclear weapons would not make the world a more peaceful place
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Russia relies on nuclear deterrence for understandable reasons, but is not a gambler
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China is modernizing its arsenal to maintain its defensive nuclear strategy
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Special: Nuclear Weapons, Service and Conscience

The strategy of nuclear deterrence is coming under moral pressure, but it remains in place. How can military personnel deal with this?


So far, there has been no avoiding the nuclear deterrent - with the right intention of maintaining peace
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