2007 Student Research Conference:
20th Annual Student Research Conference

Interdisciplinary

Don't Start Nuthin'; Won't BE Nuthin': How to Save the World by Threatening to Destroy It
Christopher S. Lindley
Dr. Bob Mielke, Faculty Mentor

In this paper I argue for the morality and rationality of aggressive posturing in the nuclear arena and demonstrate how threatening to use nuclear weapons can be an ethically and intellectually sound strategy. Furthermore, I illustrate how threats of this magnitude involve more than a modest amount of bluffing and I explain how this large-scale bluffing, concerned primarily with convincing the enemy of the imminent possibility of Mutually Assured Destruction, became a fixture in the escalating nature of nuclear warfare during the Cold War. As a means to this end, I examine the strategic nature of bluffing from an evolutionary standpoint as well as from a historical and ethical perspective, and arrive at the conclusion that when nuclear weaponry in a consideration in a conflict situation, threatening to blow up the world can be the most rational – most moral – plan of action.

Keywords: Nuclear Weapons, Game Theory, Nuclear Strategy, Bluffing, Morality, Evolution

Topic(s):Interdisciplinary

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 22-1
Location: VH 1408
Time: 9:45 am

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