U.S. Nuclear Strategy for the Post-Cold War Era

by Glenn Buchan


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The dissolution of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact mandates fundamentally rethinking the role of nuclear weapons in U.S. military and foreign policy. This monograph represents a prescriptive and judgmental examination of U.S. options for revising its nuclear strategy and force structure in the post-Cold War era. The author argues that the United States should become less dependent upon nuclear weapons as instruments of policy. The challenge is to encourage nuclear forces to "wither away" while maintaining nuclear capability should the need arise. This study begins with a discussion of U.S. foreign policy objectives and how nuclear weapons are likely to fit in. It then focuses on the various "nuclear futures" that could evolve and how the United States ought to operate and employ nuclear forces in the future. Finally, it discusses the kind of nuclear forces the U.S. ought to maintain for the foreseeable future and how its overall nuclear strategy should develop.

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