From International Socialism (1st series), No.26, Autumn 1966, p.35.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).
Deterrence and Strategy
Annihilation and Utopia
Errol E. Harris
Allen & Unwin, 45s.
I am writing this review during Mental Health Week, with grave personal doubts about my own sanity. My difficulties began when I read Mr Beaufre on the prospect that politicians might ‘humanise nuclear war’ (p.76). Matters grew worse as he told me about those benighted and befuddled individuals who want nuclear disarmament; as Mr Beaufre says, ‘they could not be more wrong’ (p.98). Then, when he told me of the necessity of countries threatening each other with weapons of mass destruction – ‘multilateral deterrence’ was his snappy phrase – continuing right into the 21st century, I relapsed into permanent paranoia.
Mr Beaufre is one the gentlemen, like Mr Kahn, who has worked out the moves and counter-moves of nuclear confrontation along lines similar to a game of chess. Unfortunately, it is, by its very nature, a game that contestants will only play once. The dangers are uppermost in Mr Harris’s mind. He writes clearly and persuasively about the almost certain annihilation that would be triggered off by a nuclear war, even if started in a limited way. He sees, as the alternative to disaster, mutual compromise and the creation of an international world order.
Last updated: 20.12.2007