Arms and Arms Control: A Symposium

By Ernest W. Lefever | Go to book overview

3.The Technology of the 1970's and the Arms Race

By HERMAN KAHN

For several years, Herman Kahn has been trying to persuade policy makers and scholars to think about the "unthinkable" subject of general nuclear war. In his 651-page volume On Thermonuclear War, he grapples with the probability, nature, and consequences of different kinds of strategic war-and with ways of making strategic war less likely and less destructive should it occur. He is a strong advocate of a comprehensive civil-defense program and of a serious arms-control effort.

In the following passage from an essay on the dangers of the arms race, the author focuses on the probable technology of the 1970's. Mr. Kahn deals with the hazards of "cheap" atomic weapons and other "gifts" of science. The pace of a galloping technology, he says, makes strategic and political "doctrinal lags" almost inevitable. He concludes on a somber note: "We may not have much time in which to work."

____________________
xxx

"The Arms Race and Some of Its Hazards," Arms Control, Disarmament, and National Security, ed. Donald G. Brennan ( New York: George Braziller, 1961), pp. 117-21, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, in whose journal, Daedalus, this article first appeared. Reprinted with the permission of the author and the publisher.

-19-

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