Superpower nuclear minimalism

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During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union competed in building weapons -- now it seems like America and Russia are competing to get rid of them the fastest. The lengthy process of formal arms control has been replaced by exchanges of unilateral force reductions and proposals for reciprocal reductions not necessarily codified by treaty. Should superpower nuclear strategies change along with force postures President Bush has yet to make a formal pronouncement on post-Cold War American nuclear strategy, and it is uncertain if the Soviet/Russian doctrine of reasonable sufficiency formulated in the Gorbachev era actually heralds ... continued below

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Pages: (29 p)

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Graben, E.K. January 1, 1992.

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During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union competed in building weapons -- now it seems like America and Russia are competing to get rid of them the fastest. The lengthy process of formal arms control has been replaced by exchanges of unilateral force reductions and proposals for reciprocal reductions not necessarily codified by treaty. Should superpower nuclear strategies change along with force postures President Bush has yet to make a formal pronouncement on post-Cold War American nuclear strategy, and it is uncertain if the Soviet/Russian doctrine of reasonable sufficiency formulated in the Gorbachev era actually heralds a change in strategy. Some of the provisions in the most recent round of unilateral proposals put forth by Presidents Bush and Yeltsin in January 1992 are compatible with a change in strategy. Whether such a change has actually occurred remains to be seen. With the end of the Cold War and the breakup of the Soviet Union, the strategic environment has fundamentally changed, so it would seem logical to reexamine strategy as well. There are two main schools of nuclear strategic thought: a maximalist school, mutual assured destruction (MAD) which emphasizes counterforce superiority and nuclear war- fighting capability, and a MAD-plus school, which emphasizes survivability of an assured destruction capability along with the ability to deliver small, limited nuclear attacks in the event that conflict occurs. The MAD-plus strategy is based on an attempt to conventionalize nuclear weapons which is unrealistic.

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Pages: (29 p)

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OSTI; NTIS; GPO Dep.

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  • International Studies Association annual conference, Atlanta, GA (United States), 31 Mar - 3 Apr 1992

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  • Other: DE92011268
  • Report No.: LA-UR-92-889
  • Report No.: CONF-9203134--1
  • Grant Number: W-7405-ENG-36
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 5278695
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc1068072

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

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  • January 1, 1992

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Feb. 4, 2018, 10:51 a.m.

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  • May 21, 2018, 6:35 p.m.

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Graben, E.K. Superpower nuclear minimalism, article, January 1, 1992; New Mexico. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1068072/: accessed August 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.