Nuclear War and Nuclear Strategy: Unfinished Business

Nuclear War and Nuclear Strategy: Unfinished Business

Nuclear War and Nuclear Strategy: Unfinished Business

Nuclear War and Nuclear Strategy: Unfinished Business

Synopsis

Acronyms Introduction Part I: The Balance of Terror: Steady or Precarious? Assured or Delicate Deterrence? Cities and Deterrence Assured Coercion: Bridging Past and Future Part II: Strategic Revisionism: Thrusts against Orthodoxy Soviet Military Doctrine and Stable Deterrence The U.S. Strategic Defense Initiative: A Prospectus of Uncertainty Is a Soviet "Bolt from the Blue" Impossible? Part III: Strategic Command and Control: Missions and Limitation Protracted Conflict and Strategic C3: Missing Links Reciprocal Command Survivability and Superpower Strategy Part IV: Improving Extended Deterrence: Roles for Conventional and Nuclear Forces Theater Nuclear and Conventional Force Improvements The U.S. Maritime Strategy: Escalation and War Termination Part V: Pulling it All Together War Termination and U.S. Strategic Concepts: The Missing Endgame Conclusions and Reflections Selected Bibliography Index

Excerpt

The title of this work suggests that there are a number of unresolved issues in U.S. and Western nuclear strategy, although the issues are not going to be resolved fully here. What is offered is a discussion of some of the more important questions within frames of reference that are partly orthodox and partly unorthodox.

The first section considers whether the strategic nuclear "balance of terror" is stable or precarious. This is perhaps the central question underlying debates about nuclear strategy. It is a complicated issue involving more than the compiling of numbers about relative force balances. Military doctrine, political ideology, strategic culture, and other "soft" variables must be weighed in the calculus of deterrence. Theorists using the Western model of strategy have tended to assume that stability was self-evident based upon technology. Technology was thought to have imposed its own domain of sovereignty over superpower intentions by making cities vulnerable and weapons invulnerable. The Soviets, however, seemed not to share this view that technology was dismissive of policy choices. Although they understood the stability calculus as it was presented to them by Western analysts, they were not persuaded that technological considerations could be separated from political ones.

Given the Western preoccupation with vulnerable cities and survivable forces, one would expect that the relationship between cities and deterrence would receive as much attention as the stability of the force balance. Such is not the case, however, and the information herein is intended as a partial contribution to explicit discussion of the role of cities in deterrence. Orthodox Western deterrence theory treats cities as targets to be destroyed. The value of cities is assumed to reside in their vulnerability to destruction. In this view, defending them is counterproductive to stability. It is suggested here that the relationship between cities . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.