Debate over a Doctrine

Soviet nuclear strategy has aroused U.S. suspicions

At the heart of the Soviet-American confrontation lies one momentous riddle: Are the Soviets willing to start a nuclear war, and do they think they could win it?

The public and official Soviet answer to that question is a resounding no. Leonid Brezhnev declared several times that a nuclear war would be "unwinnable" and "madness." Just five months before his death in 1982, he sent a formal message to the United Nations declaring that the Kremlin "assumes an obligation not to be the first to use nuclear weapons." Brezhnev challenged everyone else to make a similar...

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