Will SDI bring greater nuclear stability--or less?

To Ronald Reagan, the mutual suicide pact that has precariously preserved the nuclear peace for the past quarter-century is unacceptable, indeed immoral. Why not, he asked in his famous Star Wars speech, switch from a policy of mutual assured destruction (MAD) to one of mutual assured survival by creating a defensive shield that would ''render nuclear weapons obsolete''? Although that dream might seem unassailable, the strategic realities involved raise a far more unsettling question: Will the attempt to create a nuclear shield enhance stability or undermine it? In attempting to rid the planet of doomsday weapons, might SDI merely increase the...

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