Thinking about Nuclear Weapons: Principles, Problems, Prospects

By Michael Quinlan | Go to book overview

4
Nuclear Deterrence in NATO

The cold war set the first substantial context for fitting nuclear weapons into the framework of international security. Within that context the practical problems of incorporating them into an effective structure of war-prevention found their most testing arena, at least from the standpoint of public perception, in the North Atlantic Alliance. An understanding of NATO thinking therefore makes a good starting-point for identifying and examining the conceptual and physical apparatus that has to come into play in shaping deterrence centred upon nuclear weapons.


Doctrine and Planning

The key features of mature NATO nuclear doctrine took shape during an extended evolution stretching from the Alliance’s inception in 1949 until the 1980s. Both the long time and the laborious effort absorbed by this illustrated the learning processes which the nuclear revolution imposed on thinkers and planners in every country concerned with security issues. They also, however, reflected three special features of the NATO situation.

First, doctrine had to command the open support or at least acquiescence of many nations of widely different sizes and capabilities, with different histories and therefore different attitudes to defence and the use of armed force, and with different patterns of public opinion. Second, it had to accommodate the natural divergence of security perspective between those living close to the Soviet Union’s massive military power and those separated from it by great oceans

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Thinking about Nuclear Weapons: Principles, Problems, Prospects
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword x
  • Preface xii
  • Abbreviations xx
  • Introduction 1
  • Part I - The Significance of Nuclear Weapons 3
  • 1 - The Nuclear Revolution 5
  • 2 - The Tools of Thinking 13
  • 3 - Deterrence 20
  • 4 - Nuclear Deterrence in NATO 33
  • 5 - The Ethics of Nuclear Weapons 46
  • Part II - Managing Nuclear Weapons 57
  • 6 - Risks 59
  • 7 - Proliferation 76
  • 8 - Arms Racing, Costs, and Arms Control 88
  • 9 - Easements and Escape Routes 99
  • Part III - National Nuclear-Weapon Postures and Policies- Britain, India, Pakistan 113
  • 10 - United Kingdom Doctrine and Policy 115
  • 11 - Nuclear Weapons in South Asia 133
  • Part IV - The Path Ahead 151
  • 12 - The Abolition of Nuclear Armouries? 153
  • 13 - The Practical Agenda 166
  • Appendix 1 181
  • Appendix 2 184
  • Index 190
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