The concept of postnuclear era is explained in
Edward N. Luttwak, "An Emerging Postnuclear Era", The Wash0ington Quarterly 11, no. 1 (Winter 1988): 5-18.
See John J. Mearsheimer, Conventional Deterrence ( Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1984), Ch. 6. The issue of conventional force balances in Europe and the
likelihood of successful conventional defense for NATO is obviously contentious among
analysts. See, for example: John J. Mearsheimer, "Why the Soviets Can't Win Quickly
in Central Europe", International Security 7, no. 1 (Summer 1982): 3-39; Barry R. Posen, "Measuring the European Conventional Balance: Coping with Complexity in Threat
Assessment", International Security 9, no. 3 (Winter 1984/85): 47-88; Joshua M. Epstein
, "Dynamic Analysis and the Conventional Balance in Europe", International
Security 12, no. 4 (Spring 1988): 154-65; and Eliot A. Cohen, "Toward Better Net
Assessment: Rethinking the European Conventional Balance", International Security 13,
no. 1 (Summer 1988): 50-89. Each of these articles contains numerous references, and
the authors carry on the debate in a series of exchanges in the Spring 1989 issue of
International Security, passim.
See Christopher N. Donnelly, "Soviet Operational Concepts in the 1980s", Strengthening Conventional Deterrence in Europe: Proposals for the 1980s: Report of
the European Security Study ( New York: St Martin's Press, 1983), 105-36, and William E. Odom
, "Soviet Military Doctrine", Foreign Affairs 67, no. 2 (Winter 1988/89): 114-34
on Soviet doctrine pertinent to war in Europe. Donnelly's article is especially useful on
the preparatory phase of Soviet contingency planning. Odom distinguishes among Soviet
military-technical preparedness for three generic missions: stability of the rear; contiguous theater war; and noncontiguous war, which may occur in several theaters
On May 11, 1989, Gorbachev offered to negotiate bilateral NATO-Pact reductions in forces, allowing each side some 1.3 million personnel and 20,000 main battle
tanks, along with other reductions in main equipments. See
Atlantic Council of the U.S., Indicators of Change in Soviet Security Policies, 25 Feb., 1990, 2.
I am indebted to Michael MccGwire for helping to put this in context. See Michael MccGwire, Military Objectives in Soviet Foreign Policy ( Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution, 1987). However, the expectation that global war will soon disappear as a serious Soviet planning contingency is partly dependent upon Soviet reading
of Western intentions. See Marshal N. V. Ogarkov, Vsegda v gotovnosti k zashchite
Otechestva (Always in Readiness to Defend the Fatherland)( Moskow: Voyenizdat, 1982), 16 and M. A. Gareyev; M. V. Frunze: Military Theorist [Original ed.:
( Moscow: Voyenizdat, 1985)] ( New York: Pergamon Brassey's 1988), 213-14.
For the Soviet approach to threat assessment in historical perspective, see John Erickson, "Threat Identification and Strategic Appraisal by the Soviet Union, 1930-1941", in Ernest R. May, ed., Knowing One's Enemies: Intelligence Assessment before the Two
World Wars ( Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1984), 375-423. A discussion of the
Soviet view of NATO escalation doctrines is contained in Andrew C. Goldberg, New
Developments in Soviet Military Strategy, Significant Issues Series 9, no. 7 ( Washington