Taylor, Maxwell D.
April 1974
Foreign Affairs;Apr1974, Vol. 52 Issue 3, p577
This article explores the impact of the complications arising from the Vietnam war on U.S. national security. Given the fragmentation of the Sino-Soviet bloc, the evidence of an apparent detente, the subsiding of the cold war, and the sobering Vietnam experience, it seems unthinkable to many that the great powers should ever again have deliberate recourse to war as an act of policy. There is a prevalent feeling that strategic nuclear war is suicidal madness and that, since major conventional war may escalate to nuclear war, it is hardly a more rational choice. Efforts to "sell" national security to the public also encounter rising opposition to what are widely regarded as bloated defense budgets, unnecessarily complex and costly military equipment and inefficient if not culpable management of defense business. Success in this comprehensive effort could accomplish many things. The expanded Council could afford a forum for expressions of concern over the primacy felt to be accorded foreign programs at the expense of the domestic. It could improve the integration process for blending military and nonmilitary components of national power and, in so doing, demonstrate the dependence of all forms of national policy on the same sources of national strength.


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