Paul Nitze’s life should be an interesting subject. To the extent that there is an “establishment” in America and a “national security community” in Washington, Paul Nitze has long been prominent in both. A former vice-president of the Dillon, Read investment firm on Wall Street, he has had much to do with making defense policy for more than forty years. And yet Nitze’s memoirs are dull and dry.
Nitze was born in 1907, the son of a distinguished academic (“head of the Department of Romance Languages and Literature at the University of Chicago for over thirty years”). He was educated first at the university’s elementary school and high school, later at Hotchkiss, a Connecticut prep school “whose graduates, for the most part, go on to Yale.” The young Nitze went to Harvard, studied economics, excelled in sports, and decided to “go into the world of business rather than graduate school.” A friend of his father’s, a member of a Chicago brokerage firm, sent him to Germany to report “on whether German securities might be a better investment than American securities”; several “bankers, professors and others” provided him with letters of introduction. One of them was Clarence Dillon, the New York investment banker, who hired him after his return from Europe just before the collapse of the stock market, which Dillon had foreseen. At Dillon’s firm, Nitze became the friend of another young man, James Forrestal, the future secretary of defense, whom he described in a letter as “very keen and forceful—a much finer specimen than anything I have seen for a long time.”
In 1932, he met his future wife, Phyllis Pratt, the daughter of a congresswoman from “the Blue Stocking district of New York” (by which he apparently means the Silk Stocking district on the upper East Side). Oddly, Nitze does not mention that she was also the granddaughter of Charles Pratt (one of the organizers of the Standard Oil Company with John D. Rockefeller, and the founder of the Pratt Institute), that her uncle Herbert Pratt was the Chairman of Standard Oil of New York and her father, a lawyer, was the largest single shareholder in the same company.
His views about the Depression, he says, were close to Keynes’s, and he supported Franklin Roosevelt. In 1935 he joined with others to build a laboratory in order to market a successful “vitamin-mineral product” invented by two French scientists; when the company was sold to Revlon fifteen years later he became “financially independent.” He writes that he was troubled by his reading of Spengler and by the possibility of a European war and so decided to spend a year—in 1938 and 1939—as a graduate student of sociology and international relations at Harvard. He returned to New York, “still without answers.” He tried to set up his own business, but running it turned out to be too strenuous, and he went back to Dillon, Read and Company, of which James Forrestal was now president. In the summer of 1940, Forrestal was called to Washington by President Roosevelt, as a special administrative assistant charged with improving the President’s relations with the business community. Forrestal soon called for Nitze to join him.
The only staff the law authorized him to have was one secretary. He told me that he wanted me to occupy a desk in his office, live at the house he had just rented in Washington, and help him as best I could. The government could not pay me, so I was to remain on the payroll of Dillon, Read. In this wholly illegal fashion my career in Washington began.
Nitze worked on Latin American affairs, then for General Marshall and for Vice-President Wallace, who was head of the Board of Economic Welfare. In the fall of 1944 he was assigned to the US Strategic Bombing Survey, which was charged with determining which kinds of strategic bombing in Europe had telling effects and which had not. From the record of bombing in Germany, he argued that attacks on the Japanese transportation system “would be sufficiently effective so that additional bombing of urban industrial areas would not be necessary”; and he predicted that by November 1945 the Japanese would thus capitulate. “My plan of air attack on Japan was approved but not my estimate of when it would cause Japan’s capitulation.” In this somewhat muffled way he suggests, for the first time in public so far as I know, that the atom bomb need not have been used.
In 1946, he joined the State Department as deputy director of the Office of International Trade Policy, working on the Marshall Plan, but his future career took shape when he succeeded George Kennan as director of policy planning in 1950. Unlike Kennan, he was trusted by Secretary of State Acheson both to formulate policy and to carry out Acheson’s ideas.
After his meetings with the President, Acheson would come back and brief his immediate staff on what had transpired. Dean was easy to work for because he kept his immediate associates fully informed and up-to-date. I could go over to the Pentagon and talk to the Joint Chiefs, for example, knowing that what I said correctly reflected not only the secretary’s views but those of the President. So, even though I was a senior civil servant, not a presidential appointee, I was able to speak with authority and helped take some of the burden from Acheson’s shoulders.
One of his actions that had lasting effects was his drafting of the general policy directive NSC 68, which held that the Soviet Union’s growing power must be countered by a buildup of American military force. Charles Bohlen, the department’s leading expert on Soviet affairs felt the directive “gave too much emphasis to Soviet ambitions for expansion.” Acheson “decided to call us both in and arbitrate the dispute.” Nitze prevailed.
Having Acheson’s imprimatur as a trusted manager of security affairs, and having drafted the central policy directive for strategic policy in the 1950s, Nitze was in a strong position to be appointed to high national security jobs in the years to come. However, the Eisenhower administration failed to give him a job, even though he had become a Republican in 1937 (out of indignation at FDR’s attempt to pack the Supreme Court). Nitze was very critical of John Foster Dulles’s strategic doctrine of “massive retaliation”—just as, many years later, he was going to be highly critical of the national security policies of the Ford and Carter administrations, which also left him out in the cold.
When he was out of power, he had a base at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington, for which he raised funds. Above all, he had his business activities: in the late 1940s, he and his brother-in-law Walter Paepcke organized the Aspen Skiing Corporation and developed Aspen. They merged the corporation with Twentieth Century Fox in 1978, but were bought out by an “oil tycoon” in 1981.
His main interest was, however, in having power in national security affairs. Nitze, whose first sentence is “those who know me moderately well will say that I am an assertive, hard-nosed pragmatist,” tells us that in 1919, when he was twelve and in the sixth grade at his elementary school, he decided that “when I grew up I wanted to be in a position where I could participate in world events and be close to the levers of influence.” He achieved his goal in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, as assistant secretary of defense, secretary of the Navy, and deputy secretary of defense. The Nixon administration put him on the team that was supposed to negotiate SALT I, although the real negotiation was secretly carried out by Kissinger. After failing to regain his old job in the defense department because of Senator Goldwater’s opposition, he resigned in 1974 with a blast at the ways Nixon was degrading the presidency—through both SALT II and Watergate, it would seem. Under Ford, he became a member of the famous “team B,” a group of outside experts who were asked to review Soviet military capacities and found them dangerously superior to those of the US. At about the same time, he also helped to found, in November 1976, the Committee on the Present Danger, the main conservative lobby against SALT II and for greater arms expenditures.
He had misgivings about SALT I. He argues that it
embraced numbers that strongly favored the Soviet side since there were no constraints on finishing launchers that were under construction prior to July 1, 1972. This meant that while the U. S. arsenal was indeed effectively frozen because we had finished the construction program years earlier, the Soviet arsenal could continue to grow until construction was completed.
Nevertheless, he supported the agreement “so as to open the way to the subsequent negotiation of a more comprehensive, permanent accord.” But when the Carter administration, without him, negotiated such an agreement, SALT II, he argued for drastic changes: “I resisted recommending to the senators that they vote against the treaty…. I am sure, however, that my disapproval of the treaty as submitted was evident.”
Along with other members of the Committee on the Present Danger he supported Reagan in 1980, and he was appointed by him as the negotiator on intermediate nuclear forces. He remained in the Reagan administration as one of the main officials concerned with arms control, resigning only in early 1989. He has been, to use Richard Neustadt’s term, the perfect “in-and-outer”—financially successful when “out,” and a skillful player when “in.”
Nitze’s memoirs, nevertheless, read more like the report of a chief executive officer to his board than like an autobiography, or even like one of those public memoirs that statesmen like Dean Acheson or George Kennan have written. From Hiroshima to Glasnost suffers from two flaws. One is a self-inflicted wound. Much of what Nitze covers has been dealt with by Strobe Talbott in his three books on arms control,1 the most recent of which is mainly concerned with Nitze’s record. Talbott clearly had obtained much of his information from Nitze, and for the story of Nitze’s moves on SALT II during the Reagan years the reader in search of details will do better to read Talbott. On some of the earlier issues (such as the Cuban missile crisis) other recent books have already covered what Nitze tells us here.2
The second flaw is something relatively rare in a memoir; a surfeit of discretion. One might have thought that, among the purposes of writing such an account at age eighty-two, would be the desire to reveal something of one’s personality or character, of the way in which it has been shaped by family, experiences, events, successes and misfortunes. Or one might have expected that Nitze would want to set the record straight, defend controversial positions, argue one last time for what he had advocated, and describe the main personalities he had encountered during his career and why he liked or disliked them. The best memoirs spring from these drives; but Nitze’s are deficient on both counts.
It would have been interesting to know more about the young Nitze’s relation to Germany, the country from which his paternal grandfather had emigrated and in which, in 1914, his mother still had relatives whom she and her son were visiting when the war broke out. He tells us that—in 1919, at age twelve—he had shared the view of the German Foreign Minister, Walther Rathenau, that “the peace treaty lacked justice, consistency and proper purpose.” He also tells us that he was an isolationist, sympathizing with the American Firsters, in the 1930s, both because of his views about the punitive peace of 1919 and because of his concern with the Soviet danger. He mentions his ambivalence about Hitler before the Munich Pact, and also informs us that when John Foster Dulles offered him, in 1953, the job of assistant secretary for Middle Eastern affairs, he declined “because of the potential criticism that would ensue because of my German heritage” and of his fear of being “suspected of anti-Jewish bias, no matter how unjustified.” These are tantalizing clues, but nothing more is said.
One might think that the marriage of the son of a professor of romance languages into one of New York’s richer and better connected families might have been a subject for some reflection in Nitze’s memoir, if only to discount the apparent advantages. He says hardly anything about it. Nor does he tell us anything about his business activities (other than at Aspen) which he calls “exciting and productive”; he merely lists them, in one sentence, on the last page. It is there also that he refers—in one paragraph—to his pleasure in sports, in art collecting, in music. This “uncommonly fortunate man” is either wholly unreflective about himself or formidably uptight.
A corner of the veil is lifted only when he shows his annoyance with people who have crossed him or with whom he has had sharp disagreements. He was in the “loyal opposition” during the Eisenhower administration; the hostility of right-wing Republicans to members of the previous Democratic administrations kept him out. He calls Eisenhower a general of “shallow strategic judgment” in 1944, and a president whose “apparent sincerity…derived from his uncanny ability to be able to believe in two mutually contradictory and inconsistent propositions at the same time.” He attended a meeting where Eisenhower declared nuclear war “utterly unthinkable. Then, in the next sentence he gave the Joint Chiefs detailed instructions on how they should prepare to go about fighting one!”
Nitze writes candidly about his distaste for Dulles’s deviousness and his dislike of the way the Republican leaders dealt with Joe McCarthy. He briefly expresses contempt for Henry Wallace’s left-wing views, for General MacArthur’s vanity and disrespect for civilian authority, for Adlai Stevenson’s lack of “toughness,” for Nixon’s obsession with the Hiss case, for George Kennan’s pride in his prose and desire for influence, for Kissinger’s concessions to the Soviets in SALT I, and for Harold Brown’s presentation (to Jimmy Carter) of views that were not really his own. At one point, Nitze accuses unnamed fellow members of the Gaither panel that reported to Eisenhower on nuclear vulnerability of having later turned to “what can only be described as a policy of preemptive surrender.”
Such snide remarks are all the more striking because the book is devoid of interesting portraits, and this is part of its second great deficiency: as a reflection on a public life and on the making of a career. The only people whom Nitze admired fully (but he doesn’t tell us much about them) seem to have been Clarence Dillon, General Marshall, and George Shultz. Despite his closeness with Forrestal, “my partner and mentor for many years,” he notes the “growing personal pressures that were detracting from [his friend’s] objectivity” after the end of World War II, and he writes that “one of Jim’s problems was that he sometimes lacked a light touch.” Acheson, who wrote in his memoirs that Nitze “was a joy to work with because of his clear, incisive mind,”3 is described by Nitze as “an exceptional individual, a commanding presence,” but “often he could not resist humiliating people whose support he could have used.” Nitze worked closely with McNamara, yet only lists points of agreement and disagreement with him. He did, after all, serve Ronald Reagan for eight years; he says nothing about him. On Richard Perle, his protégé who became his nemesis, there are only a few words, about “his intelligence and wit” and about his fervent promotion of SDI.
He tells us almost nothing about the ways in which, in a fragmented society and government, connections among businesses, law firms, universities, and bureaucracies provide a continuity between public service and the “commanding heights” of society, as well as between administrations. These connections form a ruling class whose coziness, sense of mission, and love of power often transcend its divisions; one suspects that he knows a great deal about the sociology and psychology of the establishment but that this is the last subject he wants to discuss with outsiders.
To be sure, Nitze dutifully tells us what positions he took on the issues he had to deal with. But he doesn’t argue, he just states—and often he understates, as in his account of his drafting of NSC 68 in the Spring of 1950. The directive Nitze prepared not only marked a switch from Kennan’s conception of deterrence (essentially diplomatic and economic) to a predominantly military one, but also suggested that the year 1954 would be the year of “maximum danger” with the Soviet Union. In his Strategies of Containment,4 the historian John L. Gaddis has analyzed the many ways in which NSC 68 departed from earlier official views of the threat: world order was now seen as depending “as much on perceptions of the balance of power as on what the balance was.” Above all, “where Kennan tended to look at the Soviet threat in terms of an independently established concept of irreducible interests, NSC 68 derived its view of American interests primarily from its perception of the Soviet threat”; and NSC 68 “ruled out diplomacy as a means of altering the Soviet outlook.” A reader of Nitze’s book would never suspect any of this.
Similarly, Nitze spends only one page on the very important Committee on the Present Danger of 1976. He presents it as aimed at recreating “a fresh, bipartisan consensus”; in fact, its alarmist and shrilly expressed positions on defense did much to intensify the split between hardliners and doves throughout the US.
Sometimes Nitze puts his experience in a perspective that seems to soften the edges of reality. His treatment of the “walk in the woods” (his attempt at reaching a deal with his Soviet counterpart near Geneva over intermediate nuclear weapons, in the summer of 1982) and of the “Monday package” (an attempt at sketching the outlines of a START agreement, in 1985) can be instructively compared with Strobe Talbott’s. In both cases, Nitze blames the failure of his efforts on the Soviets; Talbott puts far more emphasis than Nitze on the internal divisions of the Reagan administration. He points out that the Soviet rejection of the “walk in the woods” formula came only after the White House repudiated Nitze’s position (as a result of the objections of Perle and Weinberger); and while Dobrynin showed little interest in the “Monday package” when Shultz presented it to him in June 1985, Talbott’s account shows that Reagan had only the vaguest idea of what was in the plan, and the Joint Chiefs had not endorsed it. “The grand compromise was so controversial within the Administration,” Talbott wrote, “that it was virtually impossible to have the necessary technical work done by the bureaucracy.”5
Since Talbott’s book seems based on careful research, one might have expected that Nitze would directly consider such points of difference, but he does not. On the whole, he presents his views as if they were self-evident, and he rarely engages his critics or explains the reasons for his positions. Only twice does he find it necessary to defend himself. Testifying against Paul Warnke’s confirmation as Carter’s arms control negotiator before the Senate Armed Services Committee in 1977, Nitze, when asked if he thought he was a better American than Warnke, said, “I really do.” Here he explains that what he “really meant to say” was that he objected to Warnke’s “inconsistent and misleading” testimony; it is not a very convincing defense.
Then there is Nitze’s support of the so-called “broad interpretation” of the 1972 ABM treaty—an interpretation according to which the treaty did not really ban the development and testing in space of defenses (such as SDI) based on “other physical principles” than those known at the time. Here again, he sounds less than convincing. On this issue he had clearly made a tactical decision to side with the hawks, rather than directly oppose them, in order to be better able to restrain them, for example, from deploying SDI, a move to which he was opposed. But that is not how he describes his position here; instead, he bases it on his reading of the record of the negotiation of the 1972 treaty—a reading very few people share.
The book, then, is arid and disappointing. But precisely because, however plainly, it describes Nitze’s positions, it raises issues that remain important—even though the pace of change in world affairs makes them appear suddenly dated, and one might well, in a few years, begin to wonder how sane men (there were few women in the national security bureaucracy) could spend so much energy—and public money—on some of the doctrines and policies that Nitze defends.
Nitze shared with his colleagues a deep anxiety about the kind of world order that would emerge from World War II, and a conviction that either the US or the USSR would shape that order. Like other men of his time (Kennan and the much younger Kissinger) he had been deeply impressed by Spengler’s gloomy prophecy of the decline of the West. That he was a repentant isolationist made him only more of an activist: the lesson of American passivity in the 1920s and 1930s was that “we could not afford again to be blind to the probable consequences of American inaction.” If security could not be found in isolation, it had to be sought in superior strength.
Nitze, like his colleagues, denies that they had a “pax Americana” in mind. A paper he commissioned during the Korean War, when he was the head of the State Department’s policy planning office, about American war aims should the superpowers get into an armed conflict, rejected both “pax Americana” and world government. But what it recommended was pretty close to a “pax Americana.” After a peace treaty, all Soviet nuclear weapons and facilities to produce them were to be eliminated, and all other nations would turn theirs over to the UN—under US “effective veto power.” There was also to be “worldwide liberal trade and monetary policies” and the US would form “ever varying dominant coalitions of partners.” Already in 1944 Nitze had wanted the US to establish military bases on allied territory before any peace conference took place. He seems to have had no doubts that this was to be the American century.
The major political and ethical problem to be tackled following World War II, in Nitze’s view, was that of nuclear weapons. And here, he took a position that was deeply controversial—but that he doesn’t question. His own formulation of it is strikingly contradictory. “The destructive nature of nuclear war,” he writes, “dictates that we no longer regard war as the continuation of policy by other means.” (This change is what Bernard Brodie had called the nuclear revolution.) But “the deterrence of nuclear war, until such time as technology provides a more reliable and stable method, must, for the United States, be based upon the capability to prevail if deterrence should fail”—which means not simply the ability to inflict unacceptable damage on the opponent’s society, even after having been struck first, but the capacity and will to use nuclear weapons in order to destroy the enemy’s military forces, as in all the wars of the past, as if nuclear weapons were ordinary weapons.
Nitze’s basic position on nuclear policy, which did not really change since the early 1950s, reflects the two statements I have quoted. On the one hand, the destructiveness of even tactical nuclear weapons made him extremely cool toward their deployment in Europe, from where they could not hit the most dangerous Soviet weapons, i.e., Soviet missiles and bombers on Soviet soil, and where their use by us might provoke a Soviet strategic first strike. (He attacked Kissinger’s 1957 book Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy for underestimating the destructiveness of tactical weapons.) But on the other hand he thought that if a conventional war in Europe escalated, we should have the means to launch a strategic first strike against the Soviets’ main military forces: those capable of hitting the US and the American nuclear arsenal. The strategy he advocated was not a huge attack on Soviet cities, but what he describes as a “military win capability.”
If their generals told the high councils of the Kremlin that after successive phases of a nuclear war the United States would still have a residual capability considerably in excess of the remaining Soviet nuclear capability, and that the future of the world…would then be dominated by those surviving U.S. forces, I believed this would be a stronger deterrent to Soviet leaders than the risk of losing large numbers of their population.
Two extremely debatable assumptions lie behind this policy. One was that the Soviets had a “grand design” for world domination, “without a nuclear shot being fired,” through nuclear superiority. (Already in early 1946 he and Forrestal had interpreted Stalin’s speech announcing three five-year plans to build up the Soviet Union’s forces as “a delayed declaration of war against us.”) This assumption rested on another postulate: that nuclear superiority would be decisive in extending its possessor’s control and influence throughout the world. Indeed, according to this second assumption, the balance of power in the world depended primarily on the respective sizes and characteristics of the superpowers’ nuclear forces and, in particular, on their respective “throw weight,” or aggregate payload, a measure he (but very few other experts) deemed more important than the number of launchers or of warheads.
Hence Nitze’s obsession, in the 1970s, with “the trend toward an increasingly large margin of Soviet offensive strategic superiority,” and his conviction that the US had to resort to a gigantic “long-term program or strategic modernization” aimed at building invulnerable offensive forces capable of hitting Soviet nuclear forces and military targets. Nitze’s relative skepticism toward SDI results from his belief that such defenses might be susceptible to destruction by the opponent’s offensive weapons; or the opponent could “add offsetting offensive military capabilities” more cheaply than we could add defenses.
Nitze believes, in short, that deterrence will lose its credibility and effectiveness unless it is based on a capacity to “prevail.” This nightmarish view of a competition driven by the capacity to have just a few more nuclear weapons left than the opponent after the destruction of most of the world has been attacked—convincingly, in my opinion—by former officials including McGeorge Bundy and Lord Zuckerman, and by academics such as Bernard Brodie and Robert Jervis. 6 Treating nuclear war as if it were going to be like past wars makes no sense: however vast its buildup, neither side is capable of knocking out, in a first strike, more than a fraction of the other side’s nuclear arsenal—and the surviving forces could hardly be expected to wait passively for their subsequent gradual destruction. And if one is worried about the survival of one’s nuclear forces, the ratio of enemy warheads to one’s own launchers is a far more important measure than throw weight.
The lessons of the past forty years should by now be clear. First, neither side will allow the other to attain clear nuclear superiority—even if there is little any nation can actually “do” with such superiority—because such an achievement might induce the power that became stronger to take dangerous risks, or because of how the other side’s superiority would be perceived at home and abroad. Second, the race to prevent the adversary from achieving superiority, or to acquire a capacity to “prevail,” has put both superpowers on the brink of bankruptcy and done much to precipitate their decline.
Nitze does not acknowledge these arguments anywhere. His misgivings about SALT I, his interpretation (or misinterpretation) of SALT II as moving the strategic balance to a position of “clear Soviet strategic nuclear superiority,” his continuing conviction (opposed to Bundy’s) that it was American nuclear superiority that explained the outcome of the Cuban missile crisis show that when he speaks of strategic principles, he has not changed his views.
At the same time, however, during the last years of the Reagan administration, Nitze endorsed an arms control deal that would drastically cut the offensive arsenals, “work out a mutually acceptable solution to the defense and space issues” (something Reagan and Weinberger blocked), and “alleviate the most serious and understandable Soviet concerns.” He recognized, moreover, that “the decisive race might be between each side’s ability to bring its economic structure into balance without prematurely cutting its relative military strength.” Such positions in favor of arms control show a kind of surreptitious breakthrough of reality, helped, of course, by the changes in Soviet policy under Gorbachev.
It is such contradictions, or apparent contradictions, that make people interesting. Nitze was the man who put his faith in what he called his “computations” of force ratios, as if the world’s equilibrium rested only on the abstractly formulated ratio of US to Soviet strategic nuclear weapons—a deformation that might perhaps be traced to his studies of economics. Many strategists have applied to the world of politics, of which nuclear force and military forces are a part, neat yet inappropriate models derived from economic theory.
But Nitze was also, at times, a man of prudent pragmatic judgment. He thought that the atomic bomb need not have been dropped. He doubted the wisdom of allowing MacArthur’s forces in South Korea to cross the 38th parallel in order to reunify the peninsula by force. He showed sympathy for the nationalist Iranian leader Mossadegh, whom he judged far preferable to the Shah’s corrupt regime. He was uneasy about the Bay of Pigs invasion (although he did not doubt its morality). He advocated prudence during the Berlin crisis (because he deemed the choices open to the Western allies poor ones). He clashed with McNamara over the sending of ground forces to Vietnam, and was horrified by the tactic of indiscriminate artillery barrages there. He was skeptical (on the basis of his findings for the Strategic Bombing Survey) about the effects of air power, and argued for winding down the Vietnam War. He also did his best to negotiate arms control agreements under Reagan—unsuccessfully, except when the Soviets in 1986 accepted the “zero option” on the intermediate nuclear forces.
Most of these positions are compatible with, or perhaps even derived from, Nitze’s obsessive view that the only decisive factor is the Soviet-American strategic nuclear relationship. But they add nuances or a sense of complexity to his overall hawkishness, a touch of realistic moderation to his compulsive calculations, projections, “estimates and computations” of Soviet offensive and defensive capacities. His skepticism about SDI and his support of the INF agreement showed his ability to take pragmatic positions that some of his longstanding allies in Washington opposed.
It would have been interesting to read Nitze’s thoughts about such nuances, just as it would have been good to have him try to put in perspective the forty years in which—in very different ways, and to very different degrees—two great powers tried to freeze history, one by imposing domination and an absurd ideology on its own people and on the land it conquered, the other one by acting as if it knew what was in the best interest of everyone else. We may, as some Bush administration officials already do, come to dread the unpredictability of the coming world (a world in which history, far from “ending,”7 is released from the cold war cage), and to regret the “stability” of these forty years. But it had to be paid for at an extravagant price: so-called “limited” wars, subversion, oppression within client nations, the grotesque arms race, and the perverse, seemingly “rational” calculations of the strategic thinkers. George Kennan, who, like Paul Nitze, was “present at the creation,” has, in beautiful prose, often ruefully reflected on the tragic waste caused by the cold war. Paul Nitze’s drab volume is a record of surfaces.
November 23, 1989
Strobe Talbott, Endgame: The Inside Story of SALT II (Harper and Row, 1979); Deadly Gambits: The Reagan Administration and the Stalemate in Nuclear Arms Control (Random House, 1984); The Master of the Game: Paul Nitze and the Nuclear Peace (Knopf, 1988); see my review of the latter in The New Republic (January 30, 1989). ↩
McGeorge Bundy, Danger and Survival: The Political History of the Nuclear Weapon (Random House, 1989); James G. Blight and David A. Welch, eds., On the Brink: Americans and Soviets Reexamine the Cuban Missile Crisis (Hill and Wang, 1989). ↩
Dean Acheson, Present at the Creation: My Years in the State Department (Norton, 1969), p. 373. ↩
Oxford University Press, 1982, pp. 89–109. ↩
Talbott, The Master of the Game, p. 268. ↩
See Jervis’s Illogic of American Nuclear Strategy (Cornell University Press, 1984). ↩
I allude to the sophomoric essay by Francis Fukuyama, “The End of History,” in The National Interest, No. 16 (summer 1989), pp. 3–18. ↩