The Vatican’s Nuclear Disarmament Speech is Naive and Dangerous

In an address given to the President of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Archbishop Paul Gallagher delivered a naive series of statements praising the notion of nuclear disarmament, as well as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), otherwise known as the Iran nuclear agreement.

While I fully understand that a man of faith must be inclined to believe good outweighs evil, and that the wanton destruction of human beings using nuclear weapons is a vile thing, he cannot be so frustratingly without guile as to believe Iran has anything but wicked intentions.

In his address, Gallagher said:

“Too often, necessity, defined in terms of utility and narrow conceptions of national security, is the prevailing norm governing the uses of technology, rather than responsibility, solidarity and cooperative security…

The world’s nuclear arsenals are much reduced since the height of the Cold War, but they remain excessive.  Moreover, the dubious strategic rationales for maintaining and even strengthening these still bloated arsenals are morally problematic. Nuclear deterrence can hardly be the basis for peaceful coexistence among peoples and states in the 21st century.”

“Dubious strategic rationales?” Well, once the bull was let out of the gate, there was no turning back, and as such, there cannot be a world in which nuclear weapons do not exist. We live in a fallen world, and this brings with it individuals and organizations who will always be bent on the destruction of good people. Given this, nuclear deterrence is necessarily the basis for peaceful coexistence in the face of the rogues gallery that faces us.

“While it is unthinkable to imagine a world where nuclear weapons are available to all, it is reasonable to imagine, and to work collectively for, a world where nobody has them.

A world without nuclear weapons is not just a moral ideal, but must be pursued through concrete policy initiatives, particularly on the part of the nuclear powers. The Holy See has no illusions about the challenges involved in achieving a world free of nuclear weapons.”

Again, I believe the Archbishop’s skewed understanding of the world and the evils within it have helped form his belief that a nuclear free world is possible. As I mentioned before, one cannot go back to before. What’s done is done. Our new job is to ensure that unstable states that posses nuclear weapons do not use them, and that those without nuclear weapons do not ever get them. This can only be guaranteed under the ideology of mutually assured destruction, as well as other forms of deterrence for states such as Iran, whose leaders aren’t afraid of the destruction of their own nation.

It is not reasonable in the slightest to imagine a world in which nuclear weapons do not exist, just as it is not reasonable to imagine a world in which evil does not exist.

“In a region where there are already too many conflicts, to reach an agreement [Iran Deal] on a sensitive issue is an important step that will promote dialogue and cooperation on other issues…The logic of fear and mistrust must be replaced with a new global ethic. We need a global ethic of responsibility, solidarity, and cooperative security adequate to the task of controlling the power of nuclear technology so that it is only used for peaceful purposes and is no longer a sword of Damocles hanging over the earth.”

Finally, Gallagher’s words don’t sync with reality. One cannot just speak things into existence. Gallagher seems to believe Iran will be cooperative, when a simple observation of history, and an understating of the radical Islamic tenets that act as the nation’s guiding principles, will tell one otherwise. They will cheat. Evil will do whatever it takes to win.

Fear and mistrust have kept us alive in a world brimming with those who would destroy not only the United States, but Israel, and Europe. Mistrust isn’t a negative in a world in which evil will take every opportunity to take advantage of our faltering.

I would love a world in which nuclear weapons do not exist, but the genie is out of the bottle. As such, we cannot try to go back to a world in which these weapons of incredible power to destroy do not exist. If we do try to go back, the darkness that surrounds us will take advantage, and we will be radioactive dust.

Archbishop Gallagher is either incredibly naive, or blind to his faith’s own understanding of evil. Though in a perfect world, his statement would hold water, in the real world, the world in which we all live, his statement is ludicrous, and dangerous.