Alternative Security: Living Without Nuclear Deterrence

Burns H.Weston (ed.),1990 Boulder, Westview Press. Review by Alan Silverman

By Alan Silverman (reviewer)

Rare are the political and military leaders who are prepared to question the time-dishonored principles of deterrence and real-politik. Here is a book that does, and even more, offers blueprints for an alternative approach to international security. Burns Weston, a professor in the field of international law, has edited a collection of 8 articles by 5 academics, 1 ex-military man, 1 engineer, and the well known leader of the U.S. peace group, Sane/Freeze, William Sloan Coffin.

Each article approaches the question of alternate security from a different angle. Thomas Lynch, III, a former army captain, examines the military approaches to alternative defense. Bruce Russett looks at the issue of the relationship between democratic societies and peaceful international relations and attempts to explain why democratic societies do not fight each other, but do often fight non-democratic societies. Other articles examine the international treaties and international economic institutions that would be needed for a world without nuclear weapons. Two articles look at the contributions of religion and psychology to the criticism of nuclear deterrence, and there is a final article by Robert Johansen that gives a masterly overview of the political and ideological foundations of a post-nuclear global security system.

Most of the articles attempt to combine realism and utopianism-a mixture we definitely need. One weakness-Alternative Security is without a critique of conventional masculinity. Like too many books on international security, this one left women and feminism out.

Peace Magazine Sep-Oct 1991

Peace Magazine Sep-Oct 1991, page 27. Some rights reserved.

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