The ‘Nuclear Taboo’ in Brief

The ‘Nuclear Taboo’ is the concept that nuclear weapons have become severely de legitimized and stigmatized, rendering them unthinkable policy options. Hence, this de-facto prohibition of the use of nuclear weapons created through the standardization and perpetuation of anti-nuclear discourses (public opinion polls, state rhetoric, international organizations etc.) has diminished the possibility of nuclear warfare between states. Also, since 1945 incremental restrictions have been placed on nuclear weapons circumscribing the freedom to use them (multilateral and bilateral arms control agreements, nuclear weapons free zones). Finally, states are implicated by the long-standing principles of the proportional use of force in conflict, and the stigma attached to killing non-combatants and civilians. 

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