This report considers what interests the United States has risked the use of nuclear weapons to defend, under what conditions it might do so in the future, and the kinds of risks that would be involved. It discusses concepts and definitions surrounding the use of nuclear weapons in the defense of interests, outlines the history of U.S. pursuit of national interests by military means, and analyzes the debate over the same issues in terms of opposing schools of thought involved today and as they have developed over the past 25 years.
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