THEORY AND POLICY
THIS BOOK has explored the logic of deterrence but has deliberately left uninvestigated the implications of this logic for U.S. policy. Our analysis has dealt with logical generalizations about coercive power in MAD situations rather than with particular circumstances, and it has dealt with what is rather than with what ought to be. It has avoided both delving into the specifics of U.S. forces and making recommendations about what those forces should be in the future.
However, theoretical and positive analysis on a topic as immediate, important, and controversial as nuclear deterrence begs to be translated into prescriptive terms. If the U.S. deterrence posture can be understood as a probabilistic organizational Doomsday Machine, what implications does this have for policy? What does the logic of contingently irrational action suggest about how U.S. policymakers can or should deal with the pressing problems of coupling, counterforce, and strategic defense?
This final chapter is appended because interesting implications follow from the logic of the preceding chapters. These final pages are in no sense a conclusion to the book: the logical-deductive explanatory task of the book has been completed. This chapter is, rather, an afterword on policy, designed to identify new trade-offs and possibilities. Though it provides no definitive answers, it should serve to stimulate a new, more fruitful debate.