Escalation and Arms Control

  • Lawrence Freedman


Escalation is the dominant concept in contemporary strategic studies. If arms control is to have the relationship with strategic theory expected of it then it must fit in somehow with this concept. The obvious connection is with the movement from the MBFR talks through INF to START, for this can be seen to mirror the movement up from conventional to intercontinental nuclear war. A better understanding of the mechanism of escalation might therefore help us work out how these separate negotiating efforts can or should fit together. Unfortunately, there are tensions within the concept which, in the end, help more to highlight than to resolve the tensions within arms control.


Head Count Dominant Concept Conventional Force Accounting Exercise Strategic Theory 
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© Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs 1985

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  • Lawrence Freedman

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