A not very widespread, but nevertheless useful, way of thinking about arms control and its proponents is to distinguish between two approaches or schools: the utilitarians and the normativists. Utilitarians and normativists can be conceived of as ideal types on opposite ends of the spectrum of arms control supporters. Whereas utilitarians ask “what can arms control do for us,” normativists seek to answer the question “what can we do for arms control.” Utilitarians conceive of arms control pretty much as it was invented in the early 1960s and regard it as just one tool in the security policy toolbox. By contrast, for normativists arms control has grown conceptually, and it has acquired a normative value of its own. These ideal types can be found as such in the real world, but more often than not justifications advanced for arms control will fall between the two...

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