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Reassurance and Deterrence: Western Defense in the 1980s

Courtesy Reuters

Historians who attempt to look into and prescribe for the future are professionally inclined to offer as much past history as they think they can get away with, and as little prophecy and prescription as they think their readers will accept. Historians have seen too many confident prophets fall flat on their faces to lay themselves open to more humiliation than they can help. We know that all we can do is to help diagnose the problem or, better, expose false diagnoses. We also believe that in doing this it is helpful to consider how a situation has developed, in this instance in casting a backward look over the origins and development of the Western Alliance to see how we have got to where we are now. There is little point in considering where we should be going if we do not first decide where we are starting from.

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