Raymond Aron by Michael Krepon

in Program

Those seeking escape from surface-layered arguments about nuclear weapons and deterrence would do well to seek refuge in the writings of the masters. France’s contributors to the field include Raymond Aron, a resistance fighter for Free French forces during World War II, philosopher, sociologist, journalist, and all-around deep thinker.

His massive English language tome, Peace & War: A Theory of International Relations (1966) is badly dated, but remains interesting if, when glancing through it, you mentally substitute China for the Soviet Union. Some passages on deterrence are still relevant, not only for the renewed U.S.-Russian competition, but also for the burgeoning nuclear competition in South Asia. Here’s a sampling:

“The search for stability through mutual deterrence has been no more successful than the search for stability through the balance of power.”

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