Forward-based nuclear systems in NATO in historical perspective: lessons for SALT III

by Malcolm W. Hoag

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Elaboration of the author's contention that current disputes about the rationale for deployment of U.S. nuclear weapons in NATO Europe can only be understood in historical terms. The paper surveys NATO doctrine from 1950 to the present, the roles of airpower and the land battle, forward basing and European politics, the worth of strategic superiority, and Russian responses. As lessons from history, the author concludes that legitimate European fears and concerns do not drive us to accept a SALT agreement that cannot stand on its own merits. Shared concerns of the United States and Europe must be taken into account; we must proceed with our allies to negotiate a better SALT III. Never again should the United States make the mistakes that resulted in poor SALT I and II agreements.

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