This chapter provides a case study of the relationship between weapons technology and war escalation: the effects of deploying dual-capable ballistic missiles in Europe. It discusses factors that might contribute to a situation in which North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) use of conventional ballistic missiles could be perceived by the Soviets as a nuclear attack. The chapter argues that although as a theory or strategy, Mutual Assured Destruction enjoys no favor in the United States or the Soviet Union, it appears that civilian decisionmakers have very low confidence that any other nuclear outcome is likely. The Soviet predilection for rapid offensives exacerbates NATO's reliance on nuclear weapons by exploiting the weaknesses in NATO's strategic position. Conventional war can become a cloak behind which a nuclear attack against the Soviet Union could be prepared and launched. The Soviets hope to reduce NATO's chances of getting off a massive first nuclear attack through preemptive conventional attacks on NATO's theater nuclear forces.