McNamara’s Efforts at Persuasion
McNamara’s case for improving NATO’s non-nuclear forces rested on three main arguments. First, he contended that a strong conventional defence would enhance deterrence since the nuclear arsenal could not credibly deter all threats, especially those at the lower end of the spectrum. Second, he stressed that a conventional response to a non-nuclear aggression would be less destructive and less risky than a nuclear response. It would both convey NATO’s determination to defend itself and support diplomatic efforts to stop a crisis before it escalated. Third, McNamara claimed that a strong conventional defence was within NATO’s reach, in the light of American reappraisals of the NATO/Warsaw Pact conventional military balance .
KeywordsNuclear Weapon Nuclear Force Force Structure Flexible Response Nuclear Response
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Notes and References
- 2.See the discussion in David N. Schwartz, NATO’s Nuclear Dilemmas ( Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution, 1983 ) pp. 156–65Google Scholar
- John Steinbruner, The Cybernetic Theory of Decision, pp. 200–13; and Desmond Ball, Politics and Force Levels: The Strategic Missile Program of the Kennedy Administration ( Berkeley: University of California Press, 1980 ) pp. 196–8.Google Scholar
- 40.Timothy Stanley, NATO In Transition (New York: Praeger, 1965) pp. 266; 354–6Google Scholar
- Harlan Cleveland, NATO: The Transatlantic Bargain ( New York: Harper & Row, 1970 ) p. 82.Google Scholar