Coffey refers to philosophies and morals as he sees them related to war. The first priority of any war must be "don't lose," no matter what.
In the distant past it was "win," but now it is impossible for either side to "win" a war. That is the most powerful factor acting for peace today. It is not a guarantee, however, because nobody can predict what insane people may do.
I do not know whether SDI can work or not, but I do know that the assumptions on which it is based are wrong. Such assumptions are that a massive ballistic attack is what we must defend against. Neither that nor a conventional war attack are assured.
Before World War II the French were convinced that Germany could only attack the German-French frontier and that the Maginot Line would defend against that. Everybody now knows how that worked out. SDI is a very similar dream.