Betsy Reed, the editor-in-chief of The Intercept, moderates a discussion between Noam Chomsky and Daniel Ellsberg on the topic of nuclear policy and war. They discuss Ellsberg’s new book The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner—the history of US government planning, what that means in today’s world when the Doomsday Clock is ever closer to midnight, and what can be done by average citizens.
Chomsky, a laureate professor of linguistics at the University of Arizona, and Ellsberg, the Pentagon Papers whistleblower and author of “The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner,” are appearing onstage together for the first time. The event was held at the University of Arizona College of Social and Behavioral Sciences on Tuesday, April 24, 2018.
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“The ‘apocalyptic’ chess game between the superpowers that is, between those that move on the highest plane of our civilization, is being played according to the rule ‘if either “wins” it is the end of both’; it is a game that bears no resemblance to whatever war games preceded it. Its ‘rational’ goal is deterrence, not victory, and the arms race, no longer a preparation for war, can now be justified only on the grounds that more and more deterrence is the best guarantee of peace. To the question how shall we ever be able to extricate ourselves from the obvious insanity of this position, there is no answer.” — Hannah Arendt in On Violence