Three visions of the bomb: Australian thinking about nuclear weapons and strategy

Christine Leah, Rod Lyon

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    This article argues that, over the decades, Australians have held three different, coherent, long-lived 'visions' of nuclear weapons and strategy. Those visions-which we have labelled Menzian, Gortonian and disarmer-compete on four grounds: the role that nuclear weapons play in international order; the doctrine of deterrence; the importance of arms control; and the relevance of nuclear weapons to Australia's specific needs. We believe this 'textured' framework provides a richer, more satisfying, and more accurate understanding of Australian nuclear identity, both past and present, than previous scholarship has yielded. Moreover, the competition between the three visions might not be at an end. Changes in international norms, in proliferation rates, in regional strategic dynamics, or even in the deterrence doctrines of the major powers could easily reawaken some old, enduring debates. Australian nuclear identity faces an uncertain future.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)449-477
    JournalAustralian Journal of International Affairs
    Volume64
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2010

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