Nuclear Weapons and U.S. National Security
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: University of Pennsylvania Press
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Title Page, Copyright Page
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Although writing a book about the meaning of nuclear weapons has been in the back of my mind for years, I always hesitated about starting the project. A fair part of that reticence reflected the fact that much of what follows here could not have been written even a decade ago: not only did I think differently then about nuclear weapons during the Cold War and its...
Introduction. Why Nuclear Weapons Still Matter
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The Soviet flag was lowered over the Kremlin for the last time on Christmas Day 1991. That evening, U.S. President George H. W. Bush addressed the American people and assured them that the long nuclear nightmare of the Cold War had finally come to an end. ‘‘For over 40 years,’’ Bush said, ‘‘the United States led the West in the struggle against communism and the...
1. Nuclear Strategy, 1950–1990: The Search for Meaning
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Nuclear weapons, as Henry Kissinger often remarked during the Cold War, are weapons continually in search of a doctrine. The history of the evolution of nuclear strategy in the United States, as in the other nuclear powers, is a story of the ongoing attempt to find political meaning and military relevance in weapons so destructive that they defeat traditional notions...
2. Nuclear Weapons After the Cold War: Promise and Failure
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The end of the Cold War was supposed to mean many things: the spread of democracy, the reunification of Europe, an economic ‘‘peace dividend,’’ and maybe, with the competition between individual freedom and collectivist repression resolved, even the end of intellectual history. Most important,...
3. The Return of Minimum Deterrence
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We know that the Cold War was a ‘‘war,’’ not least because its participants thought it was. But we may never know why it stayed ‘‘cold.’’ The inescapable logic of Mutual Assured Destruction remains the most obvious explanation for the ‘‘long peace’’ of the Cold War, as both sides buttressed their vows to retaliate under any circumstances with large and intentionally...
4. Small States and Nuclear War
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In October 2006, North Korea successfully tested a nuclear bomb. Nearly four years later, as the United States and South Korea mounted a major joint military exercise in July 2010 that included the massive American aircraft carrier George Washington, North Korea thundered that such an ‘‘unpardonable’’ provocation would mean war. The North Korean regime...
Conclusion. The Price of Nuclear Peace
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The subject of nuclear weapons breeds both apathy and dread at the same time. During the Cold War, most people did not want to think about the realities of the nuclear age, especially since there was nothing that the average American (or Soviet) could have done about nuclear arms. The nuclear standoff of the late twentieth century was unavoidable, the alchemic result...
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Page Count: 240
Publication Year: 2013