The Soviet Approach to Deterrence

  • Lawrence FreedmanEmail author
  • Jeffrey Michaels


The dogged refusal of the Russians to endorse any of McNamara’s prescriptions for intra-war deterrence or a stable arms race, undermined both confidence in McNamara’s prognoses for the future and the quality of his original diagnoses. The potential convergence of Soviet and American destinies was never as great as assumed by McNamara, but nor was the actual divergence as fundamental or as damaging as his detractors suggested. In his prime, McNamara’s faith in conclusions reached by a process of rigorous analysis, pushing to one side the deadweight of tradition, was contagious. It was not difficult to presume that he and his staff represented the furthest point on some strategic learning curve, to which internal opponents, allies and potential enemies were to be brought by a process of patient education in the realities of the age.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of War StudiesKing’s College LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.Department of Defence StudiesKing’s College LondonLondonUK

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