We live in a dangerous era, when both the United States and the Soviet Union continue to amass nuclear weapons and rely on the threat of their use to deter major war. In such times some encouragement can be found in the repeated expressions by leaders of both countries that they recognize each side would experience catastrophic devastation in a nuclear conflict. The acknowledgement that neither side could escape destruction has been expressed by political leaders ranging from Khrushchev to Gorbachev, from Eisenhower to Reagan. Whatever military leaders and civilian strategists may contemplate as hypothetical contingencies, one observes that politicians of enormously different beliefs, motives, and world views have sensed at a "gut level" that nuclear war as an instrument for achieving political ends makes no sense. Beyond the assurances of their declaratory statements, we have little direct evidence of occasions for decision where Soviet leaders were presented with the option of using nuclear weapons and explicitly rejected the possibility even if it meant accepting possible setbacks, but it certainly is an observable fact that despite various provocations they have not done so even when it meant alienating the Chinese or allowing Egypt to suffer a humiliating defeat. On the American side we know of multiple cases where the idea surfaced and was dismissed (e.g. see Halloran, 1986).