By the 1970s and especially into the eighties, the ideas of these thermonuclear Jesuits would have so thoroughly percolated through the corridors of power […] that, at least among fellow members of the congregation, their wisdom would be taken almost for granted, their assumptions worshipped as gospel truth, their insight elevated to an almost mystical level and accepted as dogma. […] [for they were the men who pondered mass destruction, who thought about the unthinkable, who invented nuclear strategy]. ( Kaplan 1983 : p. 11)
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Introduction: why does the West not win?
In his 1995 essay, A. J. Bacevich wrote about the “persistent limitations of professional orthodoxy” within the US armed forces, which provided enemies with vulnerabilities ripe to be exploited (1995: 60). This was a problem that Hew Strachan returned to when he argued that the end of the Cold War made the past decades’ strategic vocabulary obsolete (2013: 41). Arguably, the polarization between the two superpowers and the mutual possession of nuclear weapons meant that war had lost its rationality: no justification