discriminatory aspects of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty are to be erased over time. This ultimate result remains highly uncertain under current world conditions.
These developments associated with weapons of mass destruction, together with the issues involved in deterring the use of conventional force for purposes inimical to our interests, further complicate the already intricate environment into which we would extend the concept of deterrence that served so well during the Cold War period. At the same time, changing attitudes in the United States, deriving from the subsidence of the most extreme dangers to U.S. security and that of our long-term allies, have altered the way we can respond to threats against our interests and against other nations whose security is related to ours. The tools available to us to respond have also changed, with the advent of conventional weaponry of unprecedented precision and power. All of these factors require new answers to the question of how to think about deterrence in today's world.
It is not easy to disengage from thinking about matters affecting the potential for peace, war, and survival that evolved for half a century. The discussions and the collection of papers (see the appendixes) that form the foundation of this overview of the subject represent the best thinking about the problem that could be generated at this stage of development of the new world outlook. Some of the points of view presented will solidify in much the form presented; others are not yet ready to do so. Important differences remain within the special group of study participants and in the nation; they are highlighted in this chapter. They occur especially in areas having to do with:
• The potential uses and value of nuclear weapons in deterring attacks on close U.S. allies and vital U.S. interests by states using powerful conventional forces or chemical and biological weapons;
• Active defense against ballistic missiles attacking the United States; and
• Assessments of the extent to which less-than-vital U.S. interests might justify the use of military force, with attendant casualties, in the eyes of the American public.
To answer the lead question, this chapter first examines what deterrence means in the new environment. The group of study participants found that some principles endure; these are reviewed in the new context. The group next examined ways to extend these principles into the post-Cold War world situation. Finally, this chapter examines some approaches to analyzing deterrence policies that can shed light on how such policies may function in the new environment and that can help the United States and the U.S. naval forces prepare for action in future situations.