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Over the past century, the arms race metaphor has assumed a prominent place in public discussion of military affairs. But even more than the other colorful metaphors of security studies—balance of power, escalation, and the like—it may cloud rather than clarify understanding of the dynamics of international rivalries.
Military Deterrence and Statecraft
In general terms the concept of deterrence can be defined as the use of threats to persuade an individual to not initiate some course of action. A threat will act as a deterrent if it convinces the individual that they will suffer harm if they proceed with their intended actions.
In the last half-century, we have learned to harness the energy of the atom and its nucleus for both military and civilian purposes. Each of these uses of atomic power raises important moral questions that have not yet received fully satisfactory answers.
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
Treaty signed 1968 to limit the spread of nuclear weapons. Under the terms of the treaty, those signatories declared to be nuclear powers (China, France, Russia, the UK, and the USA) pledged to work towards nuclear disarmament and not to supply military nuclear technology to non-nuclear countries, while other signatories pledged not to develop or acquire their own nuclear weapons.
A policy for the use of nuclear weapons. The first atomic bombs were used in the context of the Allies' World War II policy of strategic bombing. Early in the cold war, U.S. policy was for massive retaliation with Strategic Air Command bombers in the event of war with the USSR.
War involving the use of nuclear weapons. Nuclear-weapons research began in Britain in 1940, but was transferred to the USA after it entered World War II. The research programme, known as the Manhattan Project, was directed by J Robert Oppenheimer. The development of technology that could destroy the Earth by the two major superpowers, the USA and USSR, as well as by Britain, France, and China, has since become a source of contention and heated debate.
Weapons that harness the energy released by splitting or fusing atoms are termed nuclear weapons. Their destructive effects include blast, or overpressure; radiant heat; gamma, or short-term, radiation; the firestorm created by airbursts over cities, forests, and so on; alpha, or long-term radiation (both in the immediate blast area and as wind-dispersed fallout); and electromagnetic pulse.
Nuclear Weapons Policies
Nuclear weapons brought about a revolution in strategy, but the exact character of that revolution and its impact on military planning and operations were indeterminate. The end of the Cold War is not the end of the nuclear age.
Dulles, John Foster
1888–1959, U.S. Secretary of State (1953–59), b. Washington, D.C.; grandson of John Watson Foster, Secretary of State under President Benjamin Harrison, and nephew of Robert Lansing, Secretary of State under Woodrow Wilson. A graduate (1908) of Princeton, he was admitted (1911) to the bar and was counsel to the U.S. delegation to the Paris Peace Conference (1919). He soon achieved prominence as an international lawyer and attended various international conferences in the interwar years.
Eisenhower, Dwight D.
In November 1952, Eisenhower ran successfully as the Republican candidate for the U.S. presidency. As commander in chief, Eisenhower drew heavily and constructively on his experience as a military commander. Throughout his two terms as president, he succeeded in keeping the United States out of major conflicts. In July 1953, the new president negotiated a truce for the Korean War.
1931–, Soviet political leader. Born in the agricultural region of Stavropol, Gorbachev studied law at Moscow State Univ., where in 1953 he married a philosophy student, Raisa Maksimovna Titorenko (1932?–99). Returning to Stavropol, he moved gradually upward in the local Communist party. In 1970, he became Stavropol party leader and was elected to the Supreme Soviet of the USSR
Diplomat and historian, born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA. Educated at Princeton (1925 BA) and at the Berlin Seminary for Oriental Languages (1930), he served as US foreign service officer (1926–53) in Geneva, Hamburg, Berlin, Estonia, Latvia, Moscow, Vienna, Prague, Lisbon, and London. He also served as US ambassador to the USSR (1952) and Yugoslavia (1961–3), and in 1956 became a professor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. In 1947, using the pen name Mr X (because he was then with the State Department), he wrote a famous article in Foreign Policy, ‘The Sources of Soviet Conduct’, that effectively spelled out what would be the West’s policy of ‘containment’ toward Soviet Communism for the next 40 years.
German-born US diplomat. After a brilliant academic career at Harvard University, he was appointed national security adviser in 1969 by President Nixon, and was secretary of state 1973-77. His missions to the USSR and China improved US relations with both countries, and he took part in negotiating US withdrawal from Vietnam in 1973 and in Arab-Israeli peace negotiations 1973-75.
Nitze, Paul Henry
Director of the U.S. State Department’s Policy Planning Staff (PPS) during 1950-1953, U.S. assistant secretary of defense during 1961-1963, secretary of the U.S. Navy during 1963-1967, and deputy secretary of defense during 1967-1969.
40th president of the USA 1981-89, a Republican. He was governor of California 1966-74, and a former Hollywood actor. Reagan was a hawkish and popular president. He adopted an aggressive foreign policy in Central America, attempting to overthrow the government of Nicaragua, and invading Grenada in 1983. In 1987, Irangate was investigated by the Tower Commission;