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War der Kalte Krieg ein Krieg? — Realitäten, Phantasien, Paradoxien

Dieter Senghaas
Leviathan
Vol. 31, No. 3 (September 2003), pp. 303-322
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23983656
Page Count: 20
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
War der Kalte Krieg ein Krieg? — Realitäten, Phantasien, Paradoxien
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Abstract

The Cold War (1947-1989/92) was not a war in the proper sense of the term, but it could have turned into a hot war at several instances. Whereas traditional wars were limited with respect to their aims and their military potentials, world politics experienced a dramatic totalization of both aims and the destructiveness of weapons within the deterrence constellation. The mutual threat of annihilation, however, paralyzed foreign policy with the consequence of self-deterrence. To escape the dilemma of self-deterrence a continuous search for graduated and limited nuclear war scenarios and weapon potentials, respectively, could be observed throughout the Cold War period. The escape from self-deterrence equaled a process of pathological learning which, due to its size and diversification, engendered a tremendous impetus of its own. This growth process became to a large extent autistic, and it came to an end by the exit of the Soviet Union from this constellation. To analyze the Cold War period and by implication the deterrence constellation, retrospectively, may convey some deeper insights into less conspicuous constellations of the security dilemma characterizing international politics.

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