In This Review

Alliance Security: NATO and the No-First-Use Question
Alliance Security: NATO and the No-First-Use Question
Edited by John D. Steinbruner and Leon V. Sigal
Brookings, 1983, 222 pp

It has often been overlooked in the widespread debate over the no-first-use of nuclear weapons that the Foreign Affairs article which stimulated it (McGeorge Bundy et al., "Nuclear Weapons and the Atlantic Alliance," Spring 1982) called not for the immediate adoption of such a policy, but for a study of the implementation and the consequences of a new approach. This work is such a study, undertaken by acknowledged American and European experts. It is unlikely to be excelled in quality. The authors look at the historical background of the issue, examine the requirements of nuclear and conventional deterrence, and discuss the impact which no-first-use would have upon NATO strategy, as well as the political prospects for its adoption. A brief summary can do little justice to its wise thoughts. Although the book does not conclude that a simple switch to no-first-use is either desirable or imminent-given both political inertia and differences in judgments on strategic policy (as well as real divergences in American and European interests)-the authors do find serious defects in the current nuclear posture of NATO which are capable of remedy. Short-range nuclear weapons should be removed from their vulnerable forward positions. Because NATO and the Warsaw Pact are in adequate balance to make feasible the deterrence of conventional attack by conventional means alone, NATO could move toward a strategy that has a reduced reliance on nuclear weapons. This study lists some specific ways in which this could be done-but, one must ask, are pressured governments, confused publics, and depleted treasuries prepared to undertake this?