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83.22. Editorial

The mounting evidence that any nuclear exchange would constitute an unparalled disaster upon humanity has hardly begun to reduce the momentum of the arms race. Many citizens, who recall events of the thirties and forties, are legitimately concerned with national security and the preservation of our democratic sotiety. Consequently, the disarmament campaign cannot ignore the needs of defence, but rather must address them in an imaginative way.

Has the nuclear option foreclosed other more modest but effective military and non-military means of demonstrating our resolve to maintain our autonomy and institutions? Does the threat of total annihilation serve to guarantee to an aggressive power that it will have the unqualified support of its population who will have nowhere else to turn? Does the sheer cost of nuclear armaments distort social and economic priorities to the detriment of those institutions they purport to protect? To those of any nation who wish only to live out their lives in peace we should offer not terror but reassurance that we seek neither to control them nor destroy them. The challenge for scientists is to suggest ways of implementing a defence policy which combines the Min properties of resolve and reassurance.

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