Ronald Reagan, SDI, and the Nuclear Freeze: Reordering the Ethics of Mass Destruction

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dc.contributor.advisor Jones, Jacqueline en_US
dc.contributor.author Brown, Joseph
dc.date.accessioned 2008-09-15T15:53:56Z
dc.date.available 2008-09-15T15:53:56Z
dc.date.issued 2008
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10192/22924
dc.description.abstract By proposing the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), Ronald Reagan co-opted the rhetoric of the nuclear freeze movement and reversed the relationship that had previously existed between himself and his anti-nuclear opponents. Prior to Reagan’s announcement of SDI, the nuclear freeze movement played the role of the ethically principled critic, denouncing Reagan for perpetuating the nuclear arms race and the policy of Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD). By adopting a proposal for space-based missile defenses, Reagan took on the role of the peace-loving nuclear critic. The Strategic Defense Initiative eclipsed the ethical appeals of the nuclear freeze movement, promising the eventual abolition of nuclear weapons. Ironically, the nuclear freeze movement found itself promoting MAD, because its own proposal to halt the arms race would do nothing to change the dynamic of offensive nuclear deterrence between the United States and the Soviet Union. Although Reagan openly advocated the expansion of the U.S. nuclear arsenal, he was able to justify his strategic modernization plan as a temporary measure, necessary to preserve America’s security until his missile shield could be put in place. Reagan thus reordered the ethical terms of debate. He appealed to the public’s traditional moral sensibilities to win their support for a policy that, on its face, ran counter to those sensibilities – a policy that adhered to a Machiavellian ethics of necessity and served to ensure Reagan’s own political success. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship Brandeis University, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences en_US
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf en_US
dc.language English en_US
dc.language.iso eng en_US
dc.publisher Brandeis University en_US
dc.rights Copyright by Joseph Brown 2008 en_US
dc.subject National Conference of Catholic Bishops en_US
dc.subject Nuclear Freeze en_US
dc.subject Ethics en_US
dc.subject Star Wars en_US
dc.subject SDI en_US
dc.subject Strategic Defense Initiative en_US
dc.subject Ronald Reagan en_US
dc.title Ronald Reagan, SDI, and the Nuclear Freeze: Reordering the Ethics of Mass Destruction en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US
dc.contributor.department Department of History en_US
dc.degree.name MA en_US
dc.degree.level Masters en_US
dc.degree.discipline History en_US
dc.degree.grantor Brandeis University, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences en_US


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