Nuclearism is a political philosophy, which advocates that nuclear weapons and nuclear power are key to the maintenance of national security and international stability. It argues that nuclear weapons, through deterrence and mutually assured destruction, create peace in the international community, and that nuclear power provides energy security. Also, proponents of nuclearism argue that, despite the expansion of the nuclear power industry, the diversion of nuclear materials from the nuclear fuel cycle for military uses can be prevented.

As nuclearism is typically looked at from a critical viewpoint, proponents of the theory usually do not defend it as such, but rather as an inevitable expression of realism given the technological development of nuclear weapons. Criticism of nuclearism is divided, as opponents disagree on the appropriate methodology to combat it. Some critics, like William Chaloupka (author of Knowing Nukes: The Politics and Culture of the Atom), advocate a "nuclear criticism" movement based on deconstructionist principles expounded by Jacques Derrida. Others, such as James Der Derian, advocate direct political action in favor of the complete elimination of nuclear weapons.

Another view is that nuclear weapons can be used, either in limited numbers or in large amounts without leading to apocalyptic scenarios. This view is held by those people who believe a nuclear conflict can be contained and, if not, that a general nuclear war can be won in the classical sense of the word. Such views often lead to the conclusion, as in the Former Soviet Union, that nuclear weapons are just a more powerful form of explosive and that they should be incorporated in war planning, even down to division levels.

Finally, a small number of people is of the opinion that it is immoral to spend huge amounts on nuclear weapons you are not willing to use, especially if such weapons could finish off an enemy quickly without having to sacrifice the life of one's own soldiers.

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