Four panelists weighed the advantages of arms controls against the merits of disarmament in a SANE-sponsored debate on "which path to peace" at the New England Mutual Hall last night.
Both Henry A. Kissinger '50, associate professor of Government, and Thomas C. Schelling, professor of Economics, denied that disarmament eliminates the risk of war. Although Kissinger claimed that there is no real distinction between disarmament and arms control, he criticized any blanket commitment to disarmament. He said such a commitment would be similar to the "vague, abstract" promises of the United States early in the Congo crisis.
Kissinger argued that the dangers for which arms control is criticized--misunderstanding, the possibility of limited war, bad intentions, and uncontrolled power of a police force--are also inherent in disarmament.
Without urging any specific program, he stated that "the traditional notions of disarmament are no longer adequate to meet the challenges of the century" and criticized "the substitution of moral indignation for precise thought."
Importance Foreseen for Subs
Also skeptical of disarmament, Schelling pictured arms control as the "diversion of the arms race away from nuclear weapons toward non-nuclear forces and submarines." Increased dependence on submarines, he pointed out would effect a more stable deterence because the amount of strategic forces which could be destroyed by one attack would be greatly reduced.
Schelling said that future arms control will depend "more on understanding and restraint than on formal negotiations." He cited the Russian conduct during the U-2 incident as an example of this kind of restraint.
Socialist leader Norman Thomas criticized those who, like Schelling, believe that annihilation by nuclear war is not an inevitable consequence of arms control.
He insisted that the funds released by disarmament can alleviate "a tragedy which makes me ashamed to be a man--the fact that the world cannot provide food, education, and health for its citizens."
Seymour Melman, professor at Columbia, posed the alternatives of "disarmament or defeat," feeling that universal destruction would be the result of a rejection of disarmament policy.
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