Thursday, May 05, 2005

Strategy Page

There's a wealth of information at the Strategy Page. A good collection of short articles on Tactics, Weapons, and the Enemy is here and a pleasure to peruse.

The site is run by Jim Dunnigan, whose book "How to Make War" I read and re-read throughout the mid-80s, biting my nails hoping Reagan's buildup of the armed forces would finish before the Russkies got wise and invaded West Germany -- because by the time the new M-1 and M-2 armored vehicles and AH-64 Apaches, etc. were on line, the commies would have to know they couldn't win conventionally. And with Reagan putting in the Pershing and Cruise nuclear missiles, to then bargain them away against the Soviet tactical nukes, I knew we'd be saved from nuclear armageddon, because I reasoned the usual scenario of a massive strategic nuclear surprise attack -- the one most imagined by people -- was the least likely to happen due to MAD, and specifically to our invulnerable submarines. Instead, I figured an escalation of tactical nukes we might have to use (with the hollow force of Carter) to hald a Russian conventional lightning strike would be the most likely scenario leading to the ICBMs flying.

Reagon never got enough credit for that. So few seemed to grasp the implications. But the Cold War was strategically won once he negotiated away that whole class of intermediate-range nuclear missiles in Europe -- which the lefties of course protested madly against.

I could never understand the "nuclear freeze" people. They seemed so irrational. A freeze would have locked us in to a very destabilizing mix of weapons. Our nuclear subs made us SAFER, not less safe, because they were hidden and would thus always be a credible counterstrike force, immune to a pre-emptive attack! Smaller, tactical nukes made nuclear war more likely, and we needed a bargaining chip to ban them; the Russkies weren't going to give theirs up for nothing!

And a weak conventional force would only invite the risk of a belief that a strong, quick attack against the NATO might succeed, followed by a quick truce after the capture of land, as more were captured behind the Iron Curtain. Yet so many derided Reagan's modernization program!

I remember one of my high school teachers at the time in absolute shock, lamenting his re-election, saying we were now sure to have a nuclear war. But it was just the opposite!

Does anyone really think of Reagan as the great lessener of the chances of nuclear war? No, but they should.

But I digress.


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