Command and Control
U.S. Nuclear Weapons Programs
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AbstractThis book asserts that nuclear policy has never been governed by the democratic process, but instead controlled by a few individuals, whom the author compares to the guardians of Plato’s "Republic". He acknowledges that questions surrounding nuclear weapons and their use are very complex, and that the democratic process is not well suited to deal with such questions because of the technical knowledge needed. But after examining the strengths and weaknesses of guardianship, or rule by the elite, the author concludes that it, too, cannot deal with those questions because it lacks the ability to address the moral questions raised by nuclear weapons. The book concludes with suggestions about how a democracy can better cope with such complex questions without drifting towards guardianship and totalitarianism. The book is based on a lecture series given at Syracuse University in 1984 by Robert Dahl, a professor at Yale University.