National Security in the Nuclear Age: Basic Facts and Theories

National Security in the Nuclear Age: Basic Facts and Theories

National Security in the Nuclear Age: Basic Facts and Theories

National Security in the Nuclear Age: Basic Facts and Theories

Excerpt

by Gordon B. Turner

The nuclear age has brought American strategists face to face with a task of unparalleled difficulty. Not only must they bring their concepts into line with the realities of thermonuclear power -- a matter of enormous complexity in itself -- but, in so doing, they must resist those strong pressures emanating from traditional American conceptions about war and peace which may well sweep us over the precipice of world destruction. The proliferation of strategic ideas in the last ten years has tended to leave uncertainty and confusion in its wake. As Walter Millis has said with some justification: "The ablest students of the subject are either in complete contradiction or in a state of frank bewilderment." A mere listing of the terms which have cropped up and which have been bandied about in the press, in professional and military journals, in important books, and in statements coming out of Washington since World War II should demonstrate the extent of this confusion.

Since strategy is concerned with the preparation for wars and with the waging of such wars, it is first appropriate to classify the types of war which are today giving us acute concern. In the first place, wars range in size from local wars to global ones. Considering these in terms of increasing intensity, we start with cold war and run through quasi-war and limited conflicts to total war at the extreme and most destructive end. In recognition of the fact that unlimited thermonuclear conflict might end in a stalemate which would be followed by some type of guerilla action, the term "broken-back" war has also been coined. There are also conflicts classified as psychological, economic, and paramilitary.

A variety of names have also been given to the types of limited conflict at which the Communists excel: notably, underground . . .

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