ABSTRACT

The adequacy of a deterrence paradigm as the touchstone of strategic doctrine should not be determined without reference to the character of the opponent, and the deterrence functions that strategic forces are intended to provide. As discussed in Chapter 4, the deficiencies of Assured Vulnerability and Flexible Targeting include the lack of reference to the character of the opponent. Indeed, the mutual vulnerability paradigm was developed and advocated virtually without consideration of the significant differences in United States and Soviet foreign policy objectives and modes of strategic thought: presuppositions regarding Soviet perceptions and behavior were (are) based upon intuition, convenience, or wishful thinking. However, despite the theoretical weaknesses of the mutual vulnerability paradigm, it could still contribute to the preservation of United States and Allied security. The advocates of Assured Vulnerability and Flexible Targeting could have identified accurately Soviet perceptions and behavior--although that accuracy would be a result of luck and intuition rather than analysis.