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International Relations | Political Economy | Political Science


So much has been done in the name of nuclear deterrence, so much destructive power built by ourselves and the Russians that it may seem rather late in the day, not to say absurd, to wonder whether or not mutual deterrence really occurs and ask what evidence can be adduced to prove it. Yet such a question may be essential to an understanding of international nuclear politics. The problems thus posed are difficult, however, and cannot be solved by direct means. What one needs to do is to establish empirically whether the conditions necessary for deterrence to be taking place are present. A brief review of the reasons why this should be so ought to, on the other hand, give us some clues as to alternate paths we would need to take in seeking our answers.


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© 1980 MIT Press

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