The Future of Arms Control
NATIONAL WAR COLL WASHINGTON DC
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It is no exaggeration to suggest that of all the weapons created by man, none has created as much controversy as nuclear weapons. This is made all the more remarkable by the extremely brief combat history of these weapons, with the last use of a nuclear device in war a mere three days after the first. The unique character of these weapons was recognized early in the nuclear era when a consensus emerged that nuclear weapons were somehow qualitatively different and would be governed by a unique set of rules. As a result of this qualitative difference, and although the value of nuclear weapons as the ultimate deterrent was soon recognized and the arsenals of the United States and the USSR mushroomed during the Cold War, a corollary belief developed that these weapons must somehow be controlled. Thus, the now familiar Cold War dynamic of an arms race and an arms control process was created, a dynamic that remains largely relevant today, nearly a decade after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The purpose of this paper is to assess the current state of things nuclear, to include an examination of where the nation is headed in the field of strategic nuclear arms control. The author suggests a set of principles for arms control that are intended to function as signposts as the United States and Russia chart a course down a path that has never before been traveled, the path toward lower levels of nuclear weapons.
- Government and Political Science
- Nuclear Weapons