Atlantic Nuclear Policy

AuthorJohn Slessor
Publication Date01 Jun 1965
DOI10.1177/002070206502000201
SubjectArticle
Atlantic
Nuclear
Policy
Sir
John
Slessor*
The
problem
of
nuclear
strategy
and
control
lies
at
the
heart
of
the
present
crisis
in
the
development
of
the
Atlantic
Alliance.
Consideration
of
an
inherently
complex
problem
is
still
confused
by two
factors:
first
by
reluctance
on
both
sides
of
the
Atlantic
to
face
the
truth
that
"to-day
a
great
Power's
foreign
policy
can only
be
a
policy
of
coalition,
and
this
involves
accepting
certain
limitations
of
national sovereignty"t;
and
secondly
by
hesitation
to
accept
the
implications
of
the
profound
change
that
is
taking
place
in
the
whole
trend
and
balance
of
international
relationships,
in
a
world
where
the
Soviet
military
threat
that
called
NATO
into being
is
now so
much
less
real,
while
the
inevi-
table
emergence
of
Communist
China
as
a
world
military
power
-though
not
immediately
imminent-is
near
enough
and
threat-
ening
enough
to
demand
a
drastic
reorientation
of
Western
stra-
tegic
thought.
It
should
be
obvious
that
an
unchallengeable
military
position
in
the
NATO
area
remains
indispensable.
Western
civilization
could
not
survive,
let
alone
contain
the
menace of
world-wide
militant
Communism,
unless
its
heartlands
in
Europe
and
North
America
are
secure
against
a
threat
which,
while
now
dimin-
ished,
may
rise again
in
ugly
form--quite
possibly
coinciding
with
a
crisis
elsewhere.
And
unless
we
are
secure
and
united
in
the
NATO
area,
we
cannot
hope
to
be
able
to
present
a
united
front
against
threats
to
our
vital
interests
outside
it.
But
it
is
only
realistic
to
recognize
that
the
more
probable
challenge
in
the
coming
years
does
lie
beyond
the
actual
NATO
area
itself.
Massive
armed
attack
by
Soviet
Russia
on
Europe
or
North
America
is
now
extremely
unlikely-as
long
as
NATO
remains
solid.
What
we
certainly
have
to
face
is
a period
of
decades-perhaps
of
generations-of
the
tactics
of
the
termite
subversion,
peripheral
conflicts-"wars
of
liberation"
in
the
Com-
*Marshal
of
the
Royal
Air
Force;
Vice-President,
Institute for
Strategic
Studies,
London.
tGeneral
Von
Senger
und
Etterlin,
Neither
Fear
Nor
Hope
(New York,
1964),
p.
331.

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