Nolan's story is not new but is told extremely well, a nice blend of journalistic digging and solid historical scholarship. Using the Strategic Defense Initiative as the frame, she recounts the continuing irony of American nuclear policymaking: rhetoric changes but actual plan for use of nuclear weapons stays the same. Like other shifts in public policy from McNamara to Carter, Reagan's SDI changed nuclear planning hardly a whit. Indeed, SDI itself cut off one key element of a transition to a nuclear world dominated by defense by making Moscow unwilling to move forward with deep cuts in offensive forces.
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