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The Great Nuclear Debate, 8 Yale Journal of World Public Order 87 (1981)


The last few months have witnessed a healthy increase in public concern about the state of our security in general and about nuclear arms and nuclear arms control agreements in particular. Since I have tried for years to stir up popular interest in these matters, I can only cheer. We cannot hope to restore a strong, confident, bipartisan foreign policy—and surely that is a national objective of primordial importance—until there has been a thorough, civil, and disciplined debate about what our foreign policy is for—what it is supposed to accomplish, and by what means. Such a debate should produce a new state of public opinion, the only legitimate source of policy in a democracy.

Before I comment on some of the issues which are attracting so much attention on the arms control front these days, let me recall a few fundamental propositions by way of framework.

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