Thinking About Strategy

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Sir Michael Quinlan was one of the most distinguished European strategic thinkers of the recent decades, who passed away in March 2009. His influence on Western strategic thinking was profound. American, British and French analysts were asked to discuss some of the most important issues of our time, in particular on nuclear policy matters, in the light of Sir Michael's thinking. The resulting volume is a testimony of the enduring intellectual legacy of Michael Quinlan.

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Published 01 December 2011
Reads 22
EAN13 9782296474598
Language English
Document size 2 MB

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THINKING ABOUT STRATEGY
Publication coordinated by Bruno TertraisTHINKING ABOUT STRATEGYA Tribute to Sir Michael Quinlan
Foreword by Thérèse Delpech
Publication with support form the French Atomic Commission
© L’Harmattan, 2011 5-7, rue de l’Ecole-Polytechnique, 75005 Paris http://www.librairieharmattan.com diffusion.harmattan@wanadoo.fr harmattan1@wanadoo.fr ISBN : 978-2-296-55618-8 EAN : 9782296556188
Table of Contents
Foreword  Thérèse Delpech......................................................................... 7 ThinkingAbout Nuclear Weapons: A Conversation in Honor ofSir Michael Quinlan  Bruno Tertrais ............................................................................ 9 The Intellectual Legacy ofSirMichael Quinlan  Lawrence Freedman ................................................................... 15 Nuclear Weapons and the Prevention of Major War  Malcolm Chalmers..................................................................... 29 NATO, Missile Defense and Nuclear Weapons  Franklin C. Miller KBE ............................................................. 39 WillThereBe a South Asian Nuclear War?  Sir Hilary Synnott ...................................................................... 49 Reflections on Nuclear Opacity  Ariel E. Levite............................................................................ 61 Sir Michael Quinlan’s Nuclear Nonproliferation Insights  Henry Sokolski........................................................................... 73 Sir Michael Quinlan and the Ethics of Nuclear Weapons  William Walker.......................................................................... 85 The Diminishing Utility and Justice of Nuclear Deterrence  George Perkovich....................................................................... 99 Aspiration and Realism: A PathToward a WorldWithout Nuclear Weapons?  Walter B. Slocombe ................................................................... 113
Necessary and Proportionate:Sir MichaelQuinlan on Intelligence  David Omand ............................................................................. 125 Publicationsby Sir Michael Quinlan ................................................137
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Foreword
* Thérèse Delpech
Sir Michael Quinlan, one of the most distinguished British civil servants of his generation, was known worldwide as a prominent thinker on nuclear strategy and international security. He devoted decades to the subject, during the Cold War and thereafter; and he contributed greatly to elucidating its essential elements. Like all my colleagues in the strategic community, and like all his friends, I remember him for this. However, I also recall two more personal features of Sir Michael: his sense of dignity, by which I mean not only his own dignity, intact in the most difficult moments of his illness, but also his respect for the dignity of his interlocutors, whoever they were; his beautiful English, which seemed to come effortlessly, as if from a classical book. This book is a small tribute to him, whom we greatly miss.
* Director of Strategic Affairs, Commissariat à l’énergie atomique.
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ThinkingAbout Nuclear Weapons: A Conversationin Honor of Sir Michael Quinlan
* Bruno Tertrais
On 21 September 2010, prominent experts and friends of Sir Michael Quinlan gathered in Paris to honour his memory and comment his thinking on strategy and nuclear weapons. What follows is a short summary of the debates and key insights provided by the participants.
Thinking About Sir Michael Quinlan
One of Sir Michael’s great strengths was to combine intellectual and bureaucratic skills. This is one of the keys to explain his influence on UK and NATO defence policy. When the nuclear issue became politically contro-versial in the United Kingdom in the early 1980s, he refrained from taking a public stance but was personally engaged through private correspondence with the leading European and American thinkers. (As a participant put it, he “went underground” so as to be able to diffuse his ideas discreetly.) Sir Michael never refrained from confronting his intellectual adversaries and was always enthusiastic about debating. Dogmatic he could be; but he was never rigid or close-minded. And he was always more interested in concepts and ideas than in the “nuts and bolts” of planning and targeting. While mindful of “absolute truths” in the realm of deterrence, he was arguably able to suggest some “simple truths” encapsulated in pithy turns of phrases, such as“a nuclear power is a country that no one can afford to make desperate”,“nuclear deterrence is geared ‘to whom it may concern’”or “if the United Kingdom did not have nuclear weapons now, it would probably not build them”. Though many would view Sir Michael’s personality as “quintessentially British”, a participant pointed out – with admiration – that his thinking was Cartesian and Jesuitical.
* Senior Research Fellow, Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique.
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What few would question is his ability to raise questions of a universal nature: the nature and characteristics of deterrence, the relationship between deterrence and defence, the importance of alliances and the difficulties to construct common policies, or the morality of the use of force. In this regard, as a defence intellectual and practitioner, he was constantly confronted with one of the hardest ethical dilemmas faced by Western democracies: how to use force in order to maintain peace. Sir Michael – who began his career in the UK Air Ministry – believed that such democracies had evolved to the point that the deliberate massive and indiscriminate bombing of cities was now unthinkable. Therefore, grasping the question “Do civilians have to be in the line of fire for nuclear deterrence to work?” was one of the most important one he had to tackle throughout his career. Hence his particular interest in “just war” theory and his insistence on the responsibility of possessors of nuclear weapons to behave morally and on the need for justice in the international system. However, he refrained from taking the extreme position that logic may have led him to do: he did not think that every country should have the right to possess nuclear weapons. He did acknowledge, at the end of his life, that there was a connection between non-proliferation and disarmament. Certainly, he did not think, for instance, that a British renunciation to nuclear weapons would have any significant impact on the dynamics of nuclear proliferation. But he expressed the idea that the special status conferred to Nuclear Weapons States by the Non-Proliferation Treaty created an obligation for them to take their commitments seriously. He supported Trident replacement but believed that it should be carried out in the most cost-effective way, including through cuts in the number of warheads, missiles and/or submarines, as well as through cooperation with France. According to one participant, “his nuclear logic is entrenched in the UK defence establishment and continues to influence UK nuclear decision-making”. A key to understand Sir Michael’s thinking is the importance of his catholic faith. He was particularly keen on explaining why, according to him, the potential contradiction that existed between strong adhesion to the Christian faith and a sincere belief in the value of nuclear deterrence could be resolved (in particular through discriminate targeting or avoidance of population targeting per se). This made his argumentation extraordinary valuable to Western policy-makers and intellectuals, because he was able to capture the ethical high ground, or at least to deny pacifists the monopoly of morality. He did not shy away from confronting the Catholic Church’s public statements on nuclear weapons – as he did in particular in the 1980s. His
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