In order to determine the importance of nuclear strategy in formulating policy, this paper reviews the evolution of Western nuclear strategy, presents arguments against its usefulness in making decisions about weapon systems, and examines three contemporary policy issues in which the concepts of nuclear strategy have been either largely ignored or misapplied: the nuclear freeze, MX and ICBM survivability, and the Strategic Defense Initiative, or "Star Wars." The author suggests that analysts and policymakers alike should spend less time worrying about conceptual nuclear strategy and more time understanding the technical, military, and political costs and benefits of proposed nuclear weapons systems.
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