The security dilemma exists at the level of the state. It does not exist in the minds of statesmen or women, but in the political debate within the extended state. The previous chapter developed this in detail. This chapter uses this framework to interpret U.S. defence policy during the Cold War. The previous chapter also demonstrated the academic response to the development of military technology and introduced ways in which this influenced America’s approach to its relations with the Soviet Union. The minimalist/maximalist distinction identified two politically significant intellectual communities in America’s security discourse. This is mirrored by what Erik Beukel (1989) labelled nuclear/Soviet essentialists. Nuclear essentialists believed the nuclear revolution was embedded across both superpowers and that deterrence was stable. Soviet essentialists, on the other hand, argued that nuclear weapons had been integrated into a Soviet culture that continued to see military power as an extension of political ambition. Deterring the Soviet Union was infinitely more complex than nuclear essentialists supposed.