The Western Debate II
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is entering an era, begun by an Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces agreement and perhaps to be marked by a treaty on strategic arms reductions, with a generally consensual desire to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in military strategy. Western debate regarding future nuclear policy revolves around three essential issues—how many nuclear weapons there should be, what type of weapons they should be, and who should have and control them. The political value of flexible response rests in its ability to tie the possibility of Armageddon into a central front war, without stating how this would be done. The future of the Western nuclear debate will make the maintenance of NATO's battlefield forces difficult but will likely end in the reaffirmation of the central strategic systems as primary to deterrence. Flexible response could be revalidated by the coupling of conventional forces with central strategic systems.