Closing Pandora's Box: Arms Races, Arms Control And The History Of The Cold War

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Closing Pandora's Box: Arms Races, Arms Control And The History Of The Cold War

By Patrick Glynn
Basic Books, 1992
464 pp. $30.00
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Men invite war by fearing the weapons that deter it: so argues Glynn, an unabashed Reagan admirer who served that administration's arms control agency. The first chapter is his noted article on Sarajevo in The National Interest, which argued that war came in 1914 less because of mindless militarism than the opposite: British carelessness about the balance of power. Here he intends to provoke, and he does. During the Cold War "liberal pacifist" Americans bedazzled by the "arms control paradigm" nearly repeated Britain's mistake. Yet the premise that Western firmness would eventually cause the Soviet system to crumble underlay containment from the very beginning; later debates turned on how to balance firmness and risk. Most observers of all persuasions would concede that the Reagan defense buildup played some role in hastening the demise of communism (whether America could afford it without taxes to match is another question), but it will take Soviet archives, and better understanding of human personality, to know how much Soviet behavior responded to specific ups and downs in America's defense effort.