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U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy
Baltimore: Brookings Institution Press, 2006
UA23 .U78 2006
For almost four decades during the cold war, the world was faced with the terrible prospect of a nuclear holocaust. The United States and the Soviet Union confronted each other with nuclear arsenals capable of destroying the world. Each year the size and the destructive power of these arsenals increased until they reached levels that could not have been imagined at the beginning of the cold war and to this day seem surreal. Moreover, because of the mutual suspicion and hostility of the two nations, each kept its arsenal on hair-trigger alert. Thus a deadly nuclear exchange could occur not only if one of these nations initiated an attack but if one of them mistakenly believed that the other had initiated an attack. This perilous state of affairs was rightly called a "balance of terror."
With the ending of the cold war, there also ended the geopolitical conditions that had led to the buildup of these arsenals and the concomitant balance of terror. The whole world breathed easier as this awful danger receded. But the end of the cold war was not the "end of history." New tensions and conflicts developed, and old ones reemerged. And it did not bring about the elimination of nuclear weapons. The two nuclear superpowers still have tens of thousands of nuclear weapons, and new nations, some of them dangerously unstable, are vying to become nuclear powers.
This book examines in some detail the current danger from nuclear weapons and outlines strategies and programs that are appropriate for dealing with this danger. It is written by a group of experts with decades of experience in nuclear weapons design and testing, nuclear policy, and arms control. The authors bring not only extensive experience to this difficult problem but considerable wisdom. The book is a unique and vital guide to dealing with the most serious security problem of our time.
Quoted from forward.