Nuclear Weapons in a Post-Christian World

Nine countries possess about 15,000 nuclear weapons, reports the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. These weapons have become almost an afterthought as leaders of Russia and United States talk about modernizing nuclear arsenals – until crises emerge, such as the recent series of provocative tests from North Korea. The strategic analysis that goes into determining need for such weapons and national priorities may be missing a moral dimension, suggests Paul Bracken, professor of management and political science at Yale. He describes a decline of such a worldview in politics, especially in the United States and Europe, and he notes that Christianity lacks the authority it once had during the years of the Cold War: “This decline of authority means that calculations of self-interest in international politics bear almost all of the weight for restraint and shaping world order.” Bracken reviews the history of theologians who debated nuclear policy during the Cold War, informing and inspiring activists, as well as results of a 1983 war game that heightened recognition of the dangers of nuclear weapons. There should be no loose talk about an arms race, and moral debate should include all nuclear and would-be nuclear powers. – YaleGlobal