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December 6, 1985

Nuclear Threat: What About the Russians?-Reply

Author Affiliations

University of Chicago

JAMA. 1985;254(21):3034-3035. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03360210046016

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In Reply.—  Drs Van Coevering and Deusenberg have raised similar aspects of the same point, which has its generic form in the question, "What about the Russians?" This question is responsible for a lack of clear reasoning about nuclear weapons policy among certain government officials as well as among the general public. No matter how atrocious the totalitarian state of the USSR may be (and I agree that it is) and no matter how objectionable the notion of "Communist morality" may be (and I agree that it is), a frantic buildup of yet more nuclear weapons will not protect us from any threat posed by the Soviet Union nor will it change the nature of that country's government. By increasing reliance on nuclear rather than conventional arms, we lower the threshold for beginning a nuclear war. If these weapons are used, it is clear that both sides lose, and life