The US dialogue on strategic defense includes disputes about matters as basic as whether it is desirable to have defenses at all. One faction holds that deterrence by punishment is the only adequate basis for stable strategic nuclear deterrence between the superpowers. Soviet declaratory policy consistently has opposed US deployment of “space strike” weapons, which is seen as compatible with a US capability for strategic preemption. The effort to raise the nuclear threshold through the deployment of enhanced technology conventional weapons systems might be negated by very competent Warsaw Pact theater missile and air defenses. The political implications of Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) deployment, especially in regard to US-Soviet relations and North Atlantic Treaty Organization alliance cohesion, need to be elaborated in any consideration of the effect of the SDI upon deterrence stability. The USSR perseveres in research and development, not to mention deployment of an existing system, that might provide a basis for a future SDI of its own.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- General Social Sciences