From Nuclear Military Strategy to a World without War: A History and a Proposal

By Roger Hilsman | Go to book overview

Chapter 21
A Long-Term Solution, a Medium-Term Compromise, and a Short-Term Stopgap

Our overall conclusion is that if humankind does not drastically alter course, sooner or later nuclear war will come. We looked at arms control as a way of avoiding nuclear war. Our conclusions were fairly optimistic. First, useful agreements on arms control have in fact been reached, especially since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Second, the outlook over the next few years for reaching even more significant agreements seems good. Third, the sum of these developments should reduce the likelihood of nuclear war.

But we also concluded that arms control agreements will not by themselves solve the dilemma posed by nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles so long as war remains part of international politics. Even the best of arms control agreements would do nothing to preclude international crises and sooner or later one or another crisis will get out of hand. Arms control agreements may reduce the number of nuclear weapons the great powers have on hand at the beginning of a war and may even succeed in abolishing nuclear weapons from the world's arsenals, but the great powers can build new stockpiles in the midst of war. The United States, after all, created nuclear weapons from scratch in the midst of World War II, and the task will obviously be much easier now that everyone knows that it can be done and most nations have a corps of scientists who know exactly how to do it.

Next we looked at the possibility of establishing a world government. If war between sovereign states is frequent but civil war within established states is relatively rare, then the most obvious way to reduce the risk of nuclear war is to establish one government for the whole of the planet. However, the obstacles to

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From Nuclear Military Strategy to a World without War: A History and a Proposal
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Notes xiv
  • Acknowledgments xv
  • Part I - The First Attempts at Nuclear Strategy 1
  • Chapter 1 - The Manhattan Project and Early Strategic Thinking 3
  • Notes 14
  • Chapter 2 - Nuclear Strategy and the Attack on Korea 16
  • Notes 27
  • Chapter 3 - New Look, Massive Retaliation, and Flexible Response 28
  • Notes 39
  • Chapter 4 - The H-Bomb and the Balance of Terror 40
  • Notes 47
  • Chapter 5 - The Debate on Nuclear Strategy 49
  • Notes 55
  • Part II - The Cuban Missile Crisis: A Case Study of Nuclear Strategy 57
  • Chpter 6 - The Crisis 59
  • Notes 70
  • Chapter 7 - The Significance 71
  • Note 77
  • Chapter 8 - McNamara II, the Schlesinger Doctrine, and Star Wars 81
  • Notes 94
  • Chapter 9 - No First Use, Counterforce, and Mad as a Strategy 95
  • Notes 103
  • Chapter 10 - The Breakup of the Soviet Union and the Bush -- Yeltsin Agreement 105
  • Notes 113
  • Part IV - The World Turned Upside Down 115
  • A Chapter 11 - Developments in Weapons 117
  • Notes 122
  • Chapter 12 - The Members of the Nuclear Club and Their Arms 123
  • Notes 138
  • Chapter 13 - Soviet, Chinese, and European Nuclear Strategy 139
  • Notes 147
  • Chapter 14 - Armageddon: Six Scenarios of Nuclear War 148
  • Notes 163
  • Part V - Arms Control and Disarmament 165
  • Chapter 15 - The History of Arms Control 167
  • Notes 179
  • Chapter 16 - The Prospects for Arms Control 180
  • Notes 186
  • Part VI - Why War? 187
  • Chapter 17 - The Social and Political Functions of War 189
  • Chapter 18 - Nationalism 198
  • Notes 210
  • Chapter 19 - A World Political Process Without World Government? 211
  • Notes 225
  • Chapter 20 - A Curious Creature 227
  • Notes 230
  • Part VII - Conclusions 231
  • Chapter 21 - A Long-Term Solution, a Medium-Term Compromise, and a Short-Term Stopgap 233
  • Chapter 22 - The Lessons of the "Small Wars" Since World War II 238
  • Notes 256
  • Chapter 23 - Humanitarian and Peacekeeping Forces 259
  • Notes 274
  • Chapter 24 - Conventional Forces for the Medium-Term Compromise 278
  • Notes 290
  • Chapter 25 - Nuclear Forces for the Short- Term Stopgap 291
  • Notes 304
  • Index 305
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