Dangerous Capabilities: Paul Nitze And The Cold War

In This Review

Dangerous Capabilities: Paul Nitze And The Cold War

By David Callahan
HarperCollins, 1990
572 pp. $24.95

The author of this fine first book demonstrates that a biography of Paul Nitze is a chronicle of American elite assumptions and policies for the entire Cold War. Nitze remained influential inside the American government longer than any other individual since the start of the nuclear age-from the elaboration of a theory of total Soviet hostility in NSC-68 in 1950 (written largely by Nitze, then head of policy planning in the State Department) to the eased tensions and substantive arms control agreements of the Gorbachev era. Nitze's blend of cold argument, contempt for the ideas of political opponents, and passionate, energetic commitment to a geopolitical realist viewpoint is well described.

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