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Thinking About Nuclear WeaponsPrinciples, Problems, Prospects$
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Michael Quinlan

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199563944

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199563944.001.0001

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Nuclear Deterrence in NATO

Nuclear Deterrence in NATO

(p.33) 4 Nuclear Deterrence in NATO
Thinking About Nuclear Weapons

Michael Quinlan (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter reviews how NATO, amid the tensions and complexities inevitable in a diverse alliance, sought to tackle the task, within its strategic concept of flexible response, of constructing an agreed and credible deterrence framework incorporating nuclear weapons. It records the establishment of the Nuclear Planning Group, and explains how the use of this instrument managed to tease out acceptable approaches to the problems about nuclear weapons posed in the European setting in face of the Warsaw Pact. It recalls the evolution of NATO's nuclear armoury away from an inventory of excessive size with numerous categories of ‘tactical’ weapons of doubtful utility. It notes the value placed on having other members of the Alliance sharing with the United States some of the costs and responsibilities of the nuclear role. It recognizes, nevertheless, that some of the theory and provision during the Cold War may have become needlessly elaborate.

Keywords:   alliance sharing, flexible response, NATO, nuclear planning group, tactical weapons

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