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By Gary L. Guertner

This booklet stories the stumbling blocks to traditional deterrence, deterrence Soviet type, Soviet incentives for traditional deterrence and palms control.

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By Gary L. Guertner

This booklet stories the stumbling blocks to traditional deterrence, deterrence Soviet type, Soviet incentives for traditional deterrence and palms control.

Show description

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Extra info for Deterrence and Defence in a Post-Nuclear World

Sample text

For Americans, strategic coupling is prudent only in the context of a well structured flexible response strategy. Strategic coupling, forward defense, and reliance on the early use of nuclear weapons arc among the least obstructed paths to intercontinental nuclear war. Together they have become an escalation trap that strips away all pretense of crisis management. The US cannot, in the era of strategic nuclear parity, guarantee the security of Europe by relying on threats of escalation that would ensure its own destruction.

10 Brezhnev and others who echoed the more moderate line did not fundamentally alter Soviet doctrine. In Soviet eyes, doctrine had always been defensive, because war was always perceived to be thrust upon them by the West. The Tula Line and the moderation in official statements, including the 1982 formal nuclear no-first-use pledge, was a concerted effort to focus the debate on doctrine, whose primary Deterrence Soviet Style 39 concern was deterrence, and away from the more threatening details of military strategy.

Outside the defense community, few Americans could identify or describe them. This in itself makes for a weak foundation on which to build allied unity or credible deterrence. If Americans, including a majority in Congress, really understood forward defense and strategic coupling they would soundly reject them. In essence the German position has said that deterring conventional war east of the Rhine is more important than avoiding nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union. This attitude, widespread in government circles in Western Europe, is captured in the following propositions: Conventional defense preparations beyond a certain level would be detrimental to the credibility of the nuclear retaliatory threats on 28 Deterrence and Defense in a Post-Nuclear World which deterrence of Soviet aggression truly rests; being prepared for a conventional conflict of more than a few days in duration would imply a willingness to accept a longer conflict, which would entail unacceptable levels of destruction in Europe; while improved conventional capabilities based on emerging technologies should be pursued, partly because the United States favors them, only marginal increases in defense spending are politically tolerable or strategically necessary.

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