ESCALATION AND THE NUCLEAR OPTION by Bernard Brodie

ESCALATION AND THE NUCLEAR OPTION

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Out of one of the government's ""think factories"" comes this wholly serious appraisal of the possibilities for nuclear warfare in contemporary Europe. Brodie's thesis is this: given the declining potentiality that either Russia or the U.S. will make a secret thermonuclear attack against each other, because neither could destroy enough of the enemy's missile stock to survive the retaliatory blow, we must now consider the area of nuclear war arising or ""escalating"" out of some military incident on the continent. Important to his view is the common awareness that he who moves the situation out of the status quo to a higher level heightens the chance for the use of nuclear weapons on a limited scale, and thus opens the door for a larger, possibly unlimited, war. Both sides should be self-conscious enough then, Brodie argues, to see how high the stakes can go over small incidents at the Berlin border, for example. The only problem with Thinking the Unthinkable, this study proves, is not the horror its plastic language masks, but that once considered it is so abstract as to remain remote to anyone outside the military.

Publisher: Princeton Univ. Press