With the end of the cold war and the decline in the fear of global nuclear confrontation, it is sometimes difficult to grasp the seriousness with which the apocalyptic scenarios of the superpower competition were debated. On no issue is this more true than the debate which raged throughout the 1970s and early 1980s over the purported vulnerability of the US force of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) to a pre-emptive disarming strike from a portion of the Soviet Union’s strategic rocket forces.


Reagan Administration Ballistic Missile Carter Administration Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Strategic Debate 
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  1. 1.
    Colin S. Gray, ‘The Most Dangerous Decade: Historic Mission, Legitimacy, and the Dynamics of the Soviet Empire in the 1980s’, Orbis, (Spring 1981) p. 13.Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    Thornton argues that ICBM vulnerability was the issue around which the foreign policy tensions of the Carter White House’s security policy turned. Richard C. Thornton, The Carter Years: Towards A New Global Order, (New York: Washington Institute Press, 1991) p. 8.Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    T.K. Jones in Strategic Options for the Early Eighties: What Can Be Done? Edited by W. Scott Thompson and William Van Cleave, (White Plains MD: Automated Graphic Systems, 1979) pp. 119–120.Google Scholar
  4. 8.
    Colin S. Gray, ‘The Strategic Forces Triad: End of the Road?’, Foreign Affairs, Vol. No. 56, Issue 4, (July 1978) p. 771.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© David H. Dunn 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • David H. Dunn
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Political Science and International StudiesUniversity of BirminghamUK

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