The Unz Review: An Alternative Media Selection
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 BlogviewRon Unz Archive
Defending Europe
Letter to the Editor
🔊 Listen RSS
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information



=>

Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • BShow CommentNext New CommentNext New ReplyRead More
ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
AgreeDisagreeThanksLOLTroll
These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Thanks, LOL, or Troll with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used three times during any eight hour period.
Ignore Commenter Follow Commenter
Search Text Case Sensitive  Exact Words  Include Comments
List of Bookmarks

Mr. Robert Dujarric (Letters, January 15th) believes that an increased Nato reliance on “smart” anti-tank weapons instead of tactical nuclear weapons is inadvisable. His analysis overlooks several important points.

  1. Many American tactical nuclear warheads are stored close to the East German border and might be quickly overrun during a Soviet attack. An American president would have only hours in which to decide whether to begin nuclear warfare or to risk losing much of his tactical nuclear capacity. The decision would have to be made before it was clear whether Nato forces were slowing the Soviet attack by conventional means. I believe that most presidents would be unwilling to use nuclear weapons while a conventional victory was still possible. If this is true—or, more importantly, if the Kremlin leaders believe it to be true—then a Nato defence based on early use of tactical nuclear weapons, such as Mr. Dujarric advocates, will not deter war, but will lead to disaster.
  2. The present western reliance on tactical nuclear weapons has led to the growth of a powerful anti-nuclear movement in both Europe and the United States, which could conceivably force unilateral nuclear disarmament on the west. Widespread use of “smart” munitions might give Nato conventional parity and could allow a doctrine of no-first-use of nuclear weapons, which would go a long way toward satisfying anti-nuclear campaigners.
  3. Mr. Dujarric’s view that Assault Breaker technology is not cost-effective is very wide of the mark. A typical tactical nuclear weapon costs $1m-2m. Even if an Assault Breaker costs twice as much, that still leaves it as cheap as two modern tanks. For $5 billion spent over a few years, Nato could buy enough Assault Breakers to neutralize the conventional superiority of the Warsaw pact. This is a cheap price for a large increase in security.

Ron K. Unz
Cambridge, Massachusetts

(Republished from The Economist (Letters) by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Cold War 
Current Commenter
says:

Leave a Reply - Comments on articles more than two weeks old will be judged much more strictly on quality and tone


 Remember My InformationWhy?
 Email Replies to my Comment
Submitted comments have been licensed to The Unz Review and may be republished elsewhere at the sole discretion of the latter
Subscribe to This Comment Thread via RSS Subscribe to All Ron Unz Comments via RSS
Personal Classics
Our Reigning Political Puppets, Dancing to Invisible Strings
The unspoken statistical reality of urban crime over the last quarter century.
Talk TV sensationalists and axe-grinding ideologues have fallen for a myth of immigrant lawlessness.
Which superpower is more threatened by its “extractive elites”?