This book seeks to provide a fairly comprehensive exposition of the subject of arms control as one of the means toward eliminating the risk of nuclear war and improving national security. Its several chapters explore some of the potentially feasible routes as well as obstacles to arms control. They also illustrate many of the major considerations bearing on decisions of national policy. The volume is primarily designed for the generally informed reader.
Although this book has been written by twenty-three authors, it is not a routine collection of essays that are largely unrelated. Every chapter has been written specifically for this volume, and written to fill a definite need in the book. At least in outline, therefore, we have been able to achieve a degree of unity not often found in symposia, while calling on a range of expert knowledge not accessible to any single author.
In one respect, however, the kind of unity achieved is rather unusual: it is a unity that embraces a highly diverse range of views concerning the subject. This is one of the basic strengths of the book. Much of the considerable complexity of arms control stems from the fact that it is highly subjective; no two specialists see the issues in quite the same way. Any book on the subject by a single author, or by a very few authors, is therefore almost certain to reflect much less than the full range of outlooks actually to be found on the subject -- even in policy-making quarters. The rather wide range of views represented in the present volume is narrowed to some extent by the fact that our authors all represent points of view to be found in the United States. However, this orientation is partially offset and enriched by the comments on the body of the book by four foreign observers which appear at the end of the volume.
There are three points, however, on which I think every one of the authors would agree. The first point is that the present state and direction of the world is not at all satisfactory. The second is that it will not become ideal at any time within the foreseeable future, on even the most optimistic assumptions that are yet within the bounds of reason. And the third point of agreement is that the basic values of Western civilization are well worth preserving. There are differences over ways and means, and in sophistication; but there are no basic differences in the morality of the authors.
This fact bears on a false dichotomy that certain extremists have been trying to create -- that of "disarmament versus arms control." The point of view of this book (as with most students of these affairs) is that "arms . . .