alternative. But under the U.S. nuclear weapons policy of the last forty years, the deterrent value of atomic weapons has been stressed more than their actual use. Thus far, the United States has waged its wars since World War II with non-atomic forces. However, there has always been an implicit struggle between the policy makers for whom atomic weapons represent the option of last resort and only under the most catastrophic conditions, and those for whom atomic weapons represent an option of first resort and in a variety of situations. The debate between advocates of “last use” and advocates of “first use” remains in the background of all current debates on U.S. nuclear weapons policy. Finally, the American penchant for seeking in technology a means of solving all of its defense problems has, in the case of the Reagan administration, extended to defensive systems against nuclear attack. In reality, nuclear weapons are not likely to be abolished or neutralized by the SDI, or by any other technological innovation for that matter, and, short of a renewed American commitment to the treaty approach, the American policy on nuclear arms, like its Soviet counterpart, is likely to continue to fuel the arms race.
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Publication information: Book title: Arms Control and Nuclear Weapons: U.S. Policies and the National Interest. Contributors: W. Gray Nichols - Editor, Milton L. Boykin - Editor. Publisher: Greenwood Press. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1987. Page number: 49.
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