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The importance of the Strategic Defense Initiative


Thoughts on peace (Part 2)
Edward Teller Scientist
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I believe that peace depends on a different set of statements. Peace depends in the first place on strength in the hands of those who want peace more than anything else. But this is only half the story and I believe it may be even the smaller half of the story. Peace depends on co-operation between nations. Peace depends on the increasing realization of a situation, of the establishment of that situation and its realization, where nations co-operate for the benefit of everyone who is co-operating. We are talking about international treaties which forbid this or forbid that. I don't believe in treaties that start with the word- Don't. I believe in treaties and they are very important, treaties which start with the word Do. The Don'ts can be circumvented, the co-operation is a reality which proves, which makes evident itself. And here I would take very specific reference to the Strategic Defense Initiative, to the planning of defense against missiles. I claim that this is the most obvious, the most immediate measure that needs to be done. Even today there are something like twenty nations and the number is increasing, that can deliver missiles to increasing distances. Missiles carrying what? Missiles carrying conventional explosives or chemical weapons or biological weapons or nuclear weapons. But any one of these, even conventional weapons, are already extremely dangerous.

The late Hungarian-American physicist Edward Teller helped to develop the atomic bomb and provided the theoretical framework for the hydrogen bomb. During his long and sometimes controversial career he was a staunch advocate of nuclear power and also of a strong defence policy, calling for the development of advanced thermonuclear weapons.

Listeners: John H. Nuckolls

John H. Nuckolls was Director of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory from 1988 to 1994. He joined the Laboratory in 1955, 3 years after its establishment, with a masters degree in physics from Columbia. He rose to become the Laboratory's Associate Director for Physics before his appointment as Director in 1988.

Nuckolls, a laser fusion and nuclear weapons physicist, helped pioneer the use of computers to understand and simulate physics phenomena at extremes of temperature, density and short time scales. He is internationally recognised for his work in the development and control of nuclear explosions and as a pioneer in the development of laser fusion.

Duration: 3 minutes, 33 seconds

Date story recorded: June 1996

Date story went live: 29 September 2010