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Author Freedman, L.
Source United States Department of Energy Office of Scientific and Technical Information
Content type Text
Language English
Subject Keyword ENERGY PLANNING, POLICY AND ECONOMY ♦ NATO ♦ NUCLEAR WEAPONS ♦ PUBLIC POLICY ♦ USA ♦ INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENTS ♦ POLITICAL ASPECTS ♦ PUBLIC OPINION ♦ WARFARE ♦ AGREEMENTS ♦ INSTITUTIONAL FACTORS ♦ INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS ♦ NORTH AMERICA ♦ WEAPONS 290600* -- Energy Planning & Policy-- Nuclear Energy
Abstract The myth that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) will use nuclear weapons if the Soviets invade western Europe still has strong deterrent value, but western European confidence is declining as the anti-nuclear movement grows in opposition to US efforts to increase nuclear strength. The NATO approach of combining defense with detente to improve East-West relations through arms control is no longer possible. The effort to replace that approach by educating public leaders and citizens is complicated by the irrationality of the flexible response concept in which Europe has a nuclear arsenal controlled by a US that is vulnerable to massive retaliation. The 1974 proposal to substitute the doctrine of selective strategic strikes to deter a Soviet invasion moved Europeans away from the idea of a unified response and made them wary of tactical nuclear arms because Europe could be devastated without any nuclear exchange between the US and the USSR. west Europeans requested a modernization program of long-range theater nuclear forces (LRTNF) to involve both superpowers in a land war, but a credible NATO threat also requires improved conventional forces. Disarmers believe that the arms race is the basis of international evil, and expelling the superpowers will save Europe. Political leaders who depend on perpetuating the myth of flexible response must understand that their position is no longer as convincing as a move to conventional strategy. A new NATO doctrine is needed to identify priorities, provide a rationale for defense budgets, give western Europe more political power, shift reliance from nuclear to conventional weapons, and remove a source of dispute within the alliance. (DCK)
Educational Use Research
Learning Resource Type Article
Publisher Place United States
Journal Foreign Policy
Volume Number 45


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