The Criminality Of Nuclear Deterrence

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  • Publish Date: 2015-02-25
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Author: Francis Anthony Boyle;Philip Berrigan

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As the U.S. War on Terrorism hurtles into uncharted waters, challenging accepted norms of international law and setting a pattern for peremptory state behavior, could a nuclear strike against a non-nuclear rogue state become an American option? Could conflicts between other nuclear states such as India and Pakistan go nuclear?

The Clinton Administrations Presidential Decision Directive 60 asserted a U.S. right to target non-nuclear states with nuclear weapons in 1997. But PDD60, as well as nuclear deterrence as a whole -- both the use and threatened use of nuclear weapons -- is illegal under the international law of warfare.In fact, Francis A. Boyle argues in The Criminality of Nuclear Deterrence, the Bush administrations toying with the use of tactical nuclear weapons in Afghanistan, its intent to proceed with National Missile Defense, to renew nuclear testing and develop bunker-busting nuclear weapons will have disastrous impact on existing international efforts to rein in the global nuclear arms race through the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, and the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty. Already, the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty has fallen before its scythe.

This book provides a succinct and detailed guide to understanding the arms race from Hiroshima/ Nagasaki through the SALT I, SALT II, ABM and START efforts at arms control, to Star Wars/National Missile Defense, U.S. unilateral abrogation of the ABM Treaty, and events in Afghanistan and beyond.

It clarifies the relevant international law, from the Hague Conventions through the Nuremberg Principles to the recent World Court Advisory Opinion, as well as tracing contradictions in and contraventions of domestic guidelines established in the U.S. Army Field Manual of 1956 on The Law of Land Warfare, which remains the official primer for U.S. military personnel concerning the laws of war to which they must regard themselves as subject.

More disturbingly, Boyle reviews the intricacies of the foreign policy controversies and objectives which mark the development of American nuclear policy, often pressed forward by civilian administrations seeking to promote their geopolitical agenda over the advice and desires of the American military itself.

This book is an effective tool and a must read for the burgeoning anti-nuclear and peace movements, church groups, and lawyers defending anti-nuclear resisters. It should also prove instructive for the diplomatic community, and for civilian and military personnel who frame and carry out Americas nuclear policies, who must weigh the possibility of being summoned one day before an international war crimes tribunal.

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