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Nuclear disarmament: a pro-life issue?

By Scott Tibbs, October 15, 2009

Anthony Stevens-Arroyo argues that nuclear disarmament is a pro-life issue and that pro-lifers should support nuclear disarmament with the same zeal that we oppose abortion. He is correct that there would be no winners in a nuclear conflict, only victims. Leaders of nuclear-armed nations, like all leaders, have been put into power under the authority of God (Romans 13:1) and face a special responsibility to not pursue policies that harm noncombatants.

But here's the problem: nuclear disarmament is simply not a realistic goal. There will always be rogue states (such as Iran now, or Iraq under Saddam Hussein) which will seek to acquire the means to produce nuclear weapons. World powers such as Russia are not going to give up their nuclear deterrent, and perennial enemies such as India and Pakistan (or India and China) will not give up the primary deterrent they have to military aggression from the other. While we can seek to prevent the further proliferation of nuclear weapons through various policies, the genie is out of the bottle on nuclear-capable nations, so to speak. You can't put the genie back in the bottle.

Here is the other problem with nuclear disarmament. The specter of nuclear was is certainly horrifying, but it is precisely the fear of nuclear weapons that served as the single greatest force for peace in the 20th Century. The aggressively imperialistic Soviet Union, a genocidal regime responsible for the murder of 30 million people, was restrained by the mutually assured destruction that would come in a direct conflict with the United States. Had nuclear weapons not been present to deter what Ronald Reagan correctly labeled an "Evil Empire" we likely would have seen a third World War that would have brought incredible devastation around the world.

The reality of the world is that evil is real - a fact denied only by fools. It is not possible to seek "peace" with evil, because evil will always seek to enslave or brutalize others for the sake of power and wealth. Ultimately, There are only two ways to deal with evil: to completely wipe them out or to be strong enough that evil will be deterred from attacking by the severity of retaliation for aggression. Or as Ronald Reagan said: "peace through strength."