A Choice of Arms

Does the U.S. really need a new nuclear missile?

It could be the most momentous national-security decision that George Bush ever makes. In early April the President must choose a multibillion-dollar plan for modernizing the nation's land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles. Though dozens of basing modes and several new missiles have been considered, only two expensive mobile missile systems are really in the running: the rail-carried, multiwarhead MX and the truck-transported, single- warhead Midgetman. Bush's wisest course might be to deploy neither one.

The President's deliberations will be guided by the concept that has been the basis of U.S. nuclear deterrence for more than 30 years: that enough American weapons must...

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