Caging the Nuclear Genie: An American Challengeby Stansfield Turner
The Cold War may be over, but you wouldn’t know it from the tens of thousands of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons of mass destruction still held by Russia, the United States, and other world powers. Arguing that the time has come to dispense with incremental approaches to arms control, Admiral Stansfield Turner, the former head of the CIA and an
The Cold War may be over, but you wouldn’t know it from the tens of thousands of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons of mass destruction still held by Russia, the United States, and other world powers. Arguing that the time has come to dispense with incremental approaches to arms control, Admiral Stansfield Turner, the former head of the CIA and an experienced senior military commander, proposes a practical yet safe plan that would move the world into a new and secure millennium.Turner carefully analyzes how many nuclear weapons are really needed to maintain our national security, regardless of how many weapons of mass destruction other nations may have. He then offers a dramatic, unilateral American initiative—to place all the world’s nuclear warheads in “strategic escrow” whereby none would be ready for immediate use; to initiate a pledge of “no first use” and call on other nations to do the same; and to build national defenses against nuclear attack when they become cost-effective.The paperback edition of this widely acclaimed work has been updated to consider the implications of such a build down if applied to non-nuclear weapons of mass destruction. Specifically, Admiral Turner details how a plan for weapons reduction could be carried out for biological and chemical weapons and what tactical and strategic differences exist between de-escalation of nuclear and non-nuclear weapons.The Turner Plan achieves genuine international security and has the potential to achieve wide, bipartisan support. It deserves to be widely studied, debated, and, finally, implemented.
Drawing on his own experiences as a senior military commander and director of the CIA during the Carter administration, Admiral Turner (Terror and Democracy, 1991) first examines the Strangelovian assumptions employed to justify the sizable stockpiles of warheads still held by the major powers: Moscow controls over 20,000, while Washington has more than 15,000 at its disposal. Although this latter total represents a substantial decline from peak of approximately 32,500 reached in 1967, the author documents the appalling extent to which these costly and dangerous arsenals are still heavily redundant in terms of deterrence. Overkill apart, he notes, bloated reserves increase the risk of proliferation and aggravate the problems posed by the ongoing deterioration of a cash-strapped Russia's military plant. Having estimated just how few nuclear weapons are needed to ensure national security (and conceding that disarmament is an unrealistic possibility any time soon), Turner makes some arresting suggestions. His centerpiece initiative encompasses three principal elements: a strategic escrow program (which, inter alia, would put all warheads in internationally supervised storage at some distance from their launchers); a no-first-strike pledge (confirmed by treaty); and incremental improvements in defense against atomic attack as well as inspection technology. He goes on to urge that elected civilian officials reassert their control over the military on nuclear matters; the author also recommends establishment of a Presidential Council for Nuclear Security and an organized effort to enlist the public's support for sizable cutbacks in America's stores of doomsday ordnance.
An informed and informative contribution to a debate of vital importance to all mankind.
- Basic Books
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 6.28(w) x 9.31(h) x 0.77(d)
Meet the Author
Stansfield Turner is the former head of the CIA and an experienced senior military commander. He is the author of Secrecy and Democracy and Terrorism and Democracy.
and post it to your social network
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews >