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Flawed Logics

Strategic Nuclear Arms Control from Truman to Obama

James H. Lebovic

Publication Year: 2013

James H. Lebovic explores the logic of seeking peace in an arms race. Flawed Logics offers a compelling intellectual history of U.S.-Russian strategic nuclear arms control. Lebovic thoroughly reviews the critical role of ideas and assumptions in U.S. arms control debates, tying them to controversies over U.S. nuclear strategy from the birth of the atomic age to the present. Each treaty—from Truman to Obama—is assessed in depth and the positions of proponents and opponents are systematically presented, discussed, and critiqued. Lebovic concludes that the terms of these arms treaties with the Russians were never as good as U.S. proponents claimed nor as bad as opponents feared. The comprehensive analysis in Flawed Logics is objective and balanced, challenging the logic of hawks and doves, Democrats and Republicans, and realists of all schools with equal vigor. Lebovic’s controversial argument will promote debate as to the very plausibility of arms control.

Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press


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pp. 1-7


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pp. vii-9

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pp. ix-xiii

In this book I offer a critical intellectual history of bilateral nuclear arms negotiations from the Truman through Obama administrations. I argue that realists are correct to insist that states propose or accept the terms of treaties based on assessments of relative advantage. I also establish, however, that U.S. policymakers...

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Introduction: Arms Control and the Power of Belief

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pp. 1-8

The logic—or, rather, the illogic—of the U.S. approach to strategic nuclear arms control is featured in this book, which is written with a hint of irony. In negotiating the control of strategic nuclear weapons, U.S. officials weighed the numbers carefully to get a better deal, to split differences to close a deal, and to create offsets...

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1. Initial U.S. Nuclear Arms Control Initiatives: The Truman through Eisenhower Years

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pp. 9-40

The political and strategic assumptions of U.S. policymakers who pursue or resist arms control determine its fate. In the early postwar years, a policy consensus was lacking, however, over the implications of the nuclear revolution—indeed, even over whether it was a “revolution” that required a rethinking of U.S. national...

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2. Early Success at Arms Control: The Kennedy Administration and the Limited Test Ban Treaty

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pp. 41-63

Notwithstanding Eisenhower’s multifaceted efforts, major success in arms control was not realized until the Kennedy administration, when it signed and ratified the Limited Test Ban Treaty (“Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapon Tests in the Atmosphere, in Outer Space and Under Water”). This accomplishment owed to a...

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3. The Era of Bilateral Nuclear Arms Limitations: The Johnson through Carter Years

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pp. 64-131

The Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) treaty negotiations, which began in 1969, yielded three landmark agreements. Together, the 1972 Interim Agreement (“on Certain Measures with Respect to the Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms,” commonly termed the SALT I Treaty), the 1972 Antiballistic Missile...

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4. Nuclear Arms Reductions in the Final Cold War Decade: The Reagan Years

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pp. 132-181

The controversy over the terms of the SALT II Treaty spilled inevitably into the 1980 presidential election and, of course, the positions and policies of the Reagan administration to follow. On the campaign trail, Reagan claimed that the Soviet Union was aggressive and unrelenting and a serious security threat to the...

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5. Nuclear Arms Reductions after the Cold War: The George H. W. Bush through Obama Years

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pp. 182-232

The end of the Cold War was swift and unexpected. When President Gorbachev became general secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1985, no one within the U.S. policy community was predicting the momentous change that was in the offing— that, in the very near future, the Soviet Union would...

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6. The United States and Strategic Nuclear Arms Control: Assessing Intentions, Constraining Capabilities

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pp. 233-250

Arms control hawks and doves battled across a central policy fault line. The stakes could not appear higher given the subjects of dispute: the wisdom and likely outcome of negotiating with Russia and the catalysts, probability, and consequences of a U.S.-Russian nuclear exchange. But hawks and doves had more...


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pp. 251-268


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pp. 269-279


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pp. 281-289

E-ISBN-13: 9781421411033
E-ISBN-10: 1421411032
Print-ISBN-13: 9781421411026
Print-ISBN-10: 1421411024

Page Count: 304
Illustrations: 12 b&w illus.
Publication Year: 2013

OCLC Number: 857769526
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Flawed Logics

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Nuclear arms control -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
  • Presidents -- United States.
  • Arms control -- Decision making.
  • United States -- Defenses.
  • United States -- Military policy.
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