Concern about the humanitarian consequences of the use of nuclear weapons has provided one of the sharpest intellectual challenges to nuclear deterrence in recent decades. Although the United Kingdom and the United States sent representatives to the most recent international conference on the subject, the nuclear-weapon states have generally been reluctant to respond. Do nuclear weapon states fail to appreciate the consequences of nuclear use? Moreover, what implications do these consequences have for policy? Specifically, are there circumstances under which the use of nuclear weapons could still be consistent with both international law and morality in spite of the consequences?

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