Games of Chicken: Four Decades of U.S. Nuclear Policy

Games of Chicken: Four Decades of U.S. Nuclear Policy

by David Schwartzman


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Games of Chicken proposes basing nuclear weapons policies on both historical and analytical arguments. Schwartzman analyzes the trade-off between the aggression risk, which U.S. policy has sought to minimize, and the pre-emption risk, which has been ignored. This analysis is then applied to policy developments under each of the post-war U.S. presidents. The historical analysis also demonstrates the importance of the role of myths in the development of policy, most notably: the myth of the nuclear strategy expert; the evil empire myth; and the economic necessity myth. Finally, the author proposes a viable solution to the increasing build-up of nuclear weapons, one which would minimize the preemption risk.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780275928841
Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
Publication date: 02/18/1988
Series: Praeger Security International
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.63(d)

About the Author

DAVID SCHWARTZMAN is Professor of Economics and Recent Chairman of the Economics Department at the New School for Social Research.

Table of Contents

Two Risks, Three Myths

Truman's Choice

The Economics of Eisenhower

Kennedy and National Resolve

Nixon the Negotiator

Carter and the MX

Reagan the Continuer

The Debate Goes On

Where to From Here?



Selected Bibliography


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