Real Peace

Real Peace by Richard Nixon Read Free Book Online

Book: Real Peace by Richard Nixon Read Free Book Online
Authors: Richard Nixon
Soviets have never tested their nuclear weapons under wartime conditions. They have a first-strike capability in theory. But the theory relies on the execution of their military plans with split-second timing and precision accuracy during the chaos of war. Military men, who are by nature cautious, would be hesitant to go to war if a minute technical error could lead to devastating defeat. And while the Soviets want to dominate the world, they want to do so without war. They do not want to rule a world of destroyed cities and dead bodies.
    The greater danger is that, knowing we have no credible response to their clear superiority in land-based missiles, they will be emboldened at other levels. They will tend to be more adventurous in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America and more intimidating in their approach toward Western Europe. They can use the threat of their potential power to dominate the world through nuclear blackmail.
    We cannot expect to regain the nuclear superiority we had for 30 years, but the least we must do is deny superiority to the Soviets. The MX missile will help to achieve that goal. It is powerful and accurate enough to take out Soviet land-based missiles. The program President Reagan has asked Congress to approve will not provide us with a first-strike capability because we do not plan to build enough MX missiles to take out all of the Soviet Union’s land-based missiles. But it at least begins to rectify the military balance of power. Equally important, if war comes, the MX missile will give an AmericanPresident some option other than an attack on Soviet cities.
    The burden of building up our armed forces will not be light but it will be long. As the richest nation in the world, the United States can afford to spend whatever is necessary for our national defense. But restoring the military balance does not mean that what the Pentagon wants the Pentagon gets. We cannot and should not tolerate waste, duplication, and inefficiency in the military bureaucracy any more than we would in the social service agencies. Mismanagement not only erodes public support for necessary defense spending, but also reduces our ability to defend our national interests.
    Some of America’s ablest executives have served as secretary of defense in recent years—Melvin Laird, James Schlesinger, Donald Rumsfeld, Harold Brown, and Caspar Weinberger. They can testify to the fact that keeping Pentagon costs under control is an almost impossible task. The secretary of defense often finds himself in the unenviable position of being the ringmaster of a three-ring circus in which the services turn somersaults competing for the attention and dollars of the Administration and Congress. Each service chief understandably believes that what is best for his service is best for the nation. We need a strong Navy, a strong Army, and a strong Air Force. But the Congress and the taxpayers should not and will not support unnecessary duplication of missions and weapon systems.
    As President Eisenhower, no dewy-eyed dove, once said, “This country could choke itself to death piling up military expenditures just as surely as it can defeat itself by not spending enough for protection.”
    Arms Control . The issue of arms control cannot be separated from the question of national security. They are intimately intertwined. Realistically conducted, arms control negotiations can contribute to real peace. Naively pursued, they can increase the risk of war.
    Arms control can serve four major purposes.
    A properly negotiated agreement can help create the strategicstability that could reduce the chances of war. Strategic instability results when either side or both sides deploy weapons with first-strike capability. This creates a temptation to use these weapons to gain a decisive advantage. The danger is greatest if these weapons themselves are vulnerable to a first strike because in a crisis a leader would be tempted to use his

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