Moving Targets: Nuclear Strategy And National Security

In This Review

Moving Targets: Nuclear Strategy And National Security

By Scott D. Sagan
Princeton University Press, 1989
237 pp. $19.95

Sagan wrestles with the paradox of deterrence: nuclear weapons must be usable enough to deter but not so usable as to risk war by accident or to terrify the citizens they are meant to protect. He makes a thoughtful argument for his preference-second-strike counterforce capabilities to threaten Soviet leaders, and reserve nuclear forces without the destabilizing risks of a first-strike threat. At the same time, his own rendition of how far the details of American nuclear targeting have diverged in the past from the announced American strategies makes one skeptical about how plain any distinction can be in the eyes of the beholders who matter most-the leaders of the Soviet Union.

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