Friday, November 25, 2005

Alpha, Bravo, Charlie: Nixon and Kissinger’s Search for Limited Nuclear Options

Recently declassified documents at the National Security Archives show how President Nixon and Henry Kissinger were concerned that U.S. nuclear strategy was basically only a single option: Mutually Assured Destruction. The documents show how a mix of moralism, strategy, bureaucratic politics, and even Watergate drove the National Security Council to grapple with the idea whether there could be a limited nuclear war. It is the story of how the Single Integrated Operational Plan or SIOP was reconsidered during the Nixon Administration and how its three target packages—Alpha, Bravo, and Charlie—became part of the new doctrine. The documents and the analysis of William Burr of the National Security Archives are available here.

The tone of the memos and transcripts is framed, perhaps, by Kissinger’s quote from one NSC meeting that “to have the only option of killing 80 million people is the height of immorality.” Yes, but that doesn’t mean that the other options don’t make for chilling reading. While Nixon, in particular, was concerned with the specter of nuclear annihilation, there was also the concern was that the U.S.’s nuclear threat would not be credible if the only threat we had was to destroy the world. Credibility required some option that was less extreme. Consequently, pragmatism also informed the strategic reconsideration

The documents also show other factors that may be somewhat surprising. For example, one report notes that

The documents reveal Kissinger's chilling insight that government budget-crunchers would prefer complete nuclear warfare because it was already planned for and would be cheaper than recasting U.S. capabilities to permit limited strikes.
"They believe in assured destruction because it guarantees the smallest expenditure," he told an August 1973 National Security Council meeting in the White House Situation Room.

Watergate also played a part in the increased focus on a survivable nuclear option. Kissinger said in an August 1973 meeting that "My nightmare is that with the growth of Soviet power and with our domestic problems, someone might decide to take a run at us."

The various declassified documents, and William Barr’s guided tour through the documents shed light on how the government went about considering the issues of the utmost importance, which literally had implications for the survival of the species.

Burr notes the following, for example:

Not all in the government agreed with Kissinger on the merits of limited nuclear options. One of Kissinger's close advisers, Winston Lord, signed off on a paper prepared by several members of the Planning and Coordination Staff that took exception to the new thinking. While no one quarreled with the merits of flexibility, the Staff worried about some of the implications of the concept of "controlled nuclear escalation," including a "possible adverse impact on deterrence, overreliance on nuclear forces, and overconfidence in the applicability of nuclear escalation in a wide variety of situations." The arguments did not persuade Kissinger, who scrawled: "Good paper though I disagree with much of it."

For those with an interest in national security or executive decision-making, Burr’s essay and the underlying documents are a compelling read.


Blogger beautifuls said...

Buy cheap Classic Cambridge Satchel Music Cambridge Satchel Designer Cambridge Satchel Metallic Cambridge Satchel and Limited Cambridge Satchel with cheap price and high quality. Fluro Orange Cambridge Satchel

2/28/2012 12:25 AM  
Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

ninest123 08.08
michael kors outlet, coach outlet, louboutin, tiffany jewelry, burberry outlet online, nike air max, chanel handbags, michael kors outlet, oakley sunglasses, gucci outlet, longchamp outlet, longchamp, prada handbags, ray ban sunglasses, oakley sunglasses, coach purses, replica watches, burberry, jordan shoes, kate spade outlet, ray ban sunglasses, michael kors outlet, nike outlet, louboutin outlet, kate spade handbags, coach factory outlet, coach outlet, tory burch outlet, polo ralph lauren outlet, nike free, michael kors outlet, christian louboutin outlet, tiffany and co, prada outlet, true religion jeans, michael kors outlet, longchamp outlet, louboutin shoes, oakley sunglasses, polo ralph lauren outlet, nike air max, michael kors

8/08/2015 1:46 AM  
Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

louboutin pas cher, michael kors, sac guess, michael kors, nike air max, air jordan pas cher, ray ban uk, hollister pas cher, vans pas cher, converse pas cher, true religion jeans, michael kors, oakley pas cher, true religion outlet, nike blazer, nike air max, timberland, lacoste pas cher, north face, nike free, vanessa bruno, hollister, nike air max, burberry, true religion jeans, lululemon, longchamp pas cher, nike free run uk, tn pas cher, nike roshe run, air max, ralph lauren uk, mulberry, hogan, abercrombie and fitch, north face, air force, new balance pas cher, hermes, sac longchamp, ralph lauren pas cher, ray ban pas cher

8/08/2015 1:48 AM  
Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

herve leger, ferragamo shoes, new balance, giuseppe zanotti, nfl jerseys, mac cosmetics, nike roshe, asics running shoes, oakley, vans shoes, north face outlet, baseball bats, reebok shoes, insanity workout, birkin bag, babyliss, valentino shoes, mcm handbags, beats by dre, nike trainers, mont blanc, p90x workout, nike huarache, ghd, instyler, timberland boots, celine handbags, jimmy choo shoes, abercrombie and fitch, hollister, iphone 6 cases, nike roshe, soccer shoes, nike air max, longchamp, chi flat iron, hollister, soccer jerseys, north face outlet, bottega veneta, lululemon, wedding dresses

8/08/2015 1:50 AM  
Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

thomas sabo, karen millen, gucci, toms shoes, links of london, ugg boots uk, ralph lauren, ugg,uggs,uggs canada, pandora charms, swarovski, montre pas cher, uggs on sale, ugg boots, hollister, juicy couture outlet, pandora charms, ray ban, bottes ugg, ugg boots, lancel, supra shoes, ugg boots, ugg pas cher, wedding dresses, coach outlet, marc jacobs, juicy couture outlet, louboutin, vans, converse outlet, converse, swarovski crystal, ugg boots, pandora jewelry, replica watches, hollister, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia, nike air max
ninest123 08.08

8/08/2015 1:52 AM  
Blogger said...

toms shoes
nike air max 90
adidas nmd
nike huarache
adidas originals shoes
oakley sunglasses
kobe 10
ray ban sunglasses
nfl jerseys
adidas superstars
air force 1
michael kors outlet
michael kors outlet clearance
louis vuitton handbags
air jordan 8
christian louboutin sale
nike outlet store
louis vuitton outlet online
air jordans
ralph lauren outlet
nike roshe one
louboutin shoes
ray ban sunglasses outlet
louis vuitton outlet
michael kors outlet
michael kors handbags
nike air force 1
true religion jeans
michael kors outlet online

7/22/2016 1:26 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home