Nuclear Weapons, Justice and the Law

Nuclear Weapons, Justice and the Law

Elli Louka

It is often argued that the nuclear non-proliferation order divides the world into nuclear-weapon-haves and have-nots, creating a nuclear apartheid. Employing a careful and nuanced discussion of this claim, Elli Louka examines the architecture of the nuclear non-proliferation order, the fairness and effectiveness of international and regional institutions and scenarios for the future of nuclear weapons.

Chapter 9: Can a Nuclear War be a Just War?

Elli Louka

Subjects: law - academic, public international law, terrorism and security law, politics and public policy, terrorism and security

Extract

1. NUCLEAR WEAPONS AND THE SURVIVAL OF STATES: THE OPINION OF THE INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE Then we can estimate that an attack with about 1000 MT of fission products could suspend agriculture in the United States for 50 years or so. However, if we are willing to envisage relaxing the peacetime standards to the point that the incidence of cancer begins to change average life expectancy by a significant amount, then we have a problem when there is between 2 and 20 kilotons of fission products per square mile .  .  . How much would we have to drop our standards in a realistic attack situation? I suggest that something like the following rather dangerous-looking standards might be both adequate and acceptable in some postwar worlds. The common contaminated foods which would be a major source of Sr-90 might be classified into five grades – A, B, C, D, and E. Food in each of these five grades if eaten with no other alleviatory measures (such as supplementary calcium in the diet), might result in the levels of contamination in new bone . . . The A food would be restricted to children and to pregnant women. The B food would be a high-priced food available to everybody. The C food would be a low-priced food also available to everybody. Finally, the D food would be restricted to people over age forty or fifty. Even though this food would be unacceptable for children, it probably would be acceptable for those past middle age, partly because their...

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