ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Hawks, Doves and the Nuclear Question

Anirudh Deshpande THE radioactive dust has settled over Pokhran and Chagai, and the international storm raised. to begin with, by the BJP's nuclear trump is beginning to abate. The time has perhaps come to place the newly acquired subcontinental nuclear weapons in the context of contemporary military historyThe way in which Indian commentators 'hawks' and 'doves' both and their counterparts in Pakistan have treated the subject during the previous month raises important questions related to the highly politicised myth of, and polemicised debate on, the nuclearisation of the Indian and Pakistani weapons development programmes. This brief intervention is predicated upon the rather well-documented argument that weapons of mass destruction, both nuclear and conventional. end up complicating the moral and socio-economic problems caused by nationalism and indeed, the modern industrial civilisation. If we believe, like Telford Taylor did. that war is essentially a crime against peace, and that "there are some universal standards of human behaviour that transcend the duty of obedience to national laws". it is our moral obligation to place nuclear weapons, alongside most modern wars, in their appropriate obsolete context. The notion of national war, as a corollary of the bourgeois or statist- bureaucratic nation-state, is based on the character of bourgeois or elitist society in general in which, in the relevant words of John Galsworthy, the "shibboleths of the past are ever more real than the actualities of the present". To this may be added a cavalier disregard for the future evinced by a so-called free, educated and conscious public opinion supportive of nuclear energy and weapons.

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