Debating Counterforce: A Conventional Approach In A Nuclear Age

1st Edition

Charles-Philippe David

Published May 23, 2019
Reference - 276 Pages
ISBN 9780367013608 - CAT# K404036


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Since the U.S. presidential elections of 1980, debate has intensified between those who believe that nuclear weapons can only deter a war not intended to be fought and those who see nuclear weapons as an advancement in weaponry that allows for the waging and winning of a nuclear war. At the focal point of this debate is the rise of the “counterforce” doctrine-the concept of a nuclear attack exclusively against the enemy’s military forces. The author, in outlining the unresolved tension between the two approaches, examines the reasons counterforce has become widely accepted in U.S. nuclear weapons policies. He argues that many strategists are worried that the counterforce strategy is out of touch with the reality of the nuclear world and see it as merely a “technical fix” for a dilemma that may have no solution. Finally, Dr. David discusses the implications of adherence to the counterforce doctrine despite increasing popular support for avoiding nuclear war through deterrence and arms control.

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