War Scare: Russia and America on the Nuclear Brink

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Greenwood Publishing Group, Jan 1, 1999 - History - 340 pages
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Why do some American intelligence officials maintain fallout shelters and private contingency plans to evacuate their families in the event of a Russian nuclear strike--even in today's post-Cold War era of U.S.-Russian partnership? The frightening answer lies within the pages of "War Scare," a terrifying assessment of the prospect for nuclear holocaust in our day. Written by Peter Vincent Pry, a former CIA military analyst, "War Scare" provides a history of our country's little-known brushes with nuclear war and warns that, contrary to popular opinion and the assurances of our political leaders, the possibility of a Russian attack still exists. Nuclear deterrence has been the foundation of Western security for the last 50 years, but since the end of the Cold War, Russian military doctrine has become more destabilizing, and much more dangerous, than is commonly believed.

By making use of a wealth of declassified and unclassified material, Dr. Pry illustrates how Russia's brutal past continues to shape the consciousness and decision making of its leaders, many of whom are unreconstructed ideologues from the old Soviet regime. Gripped by a perpetual perception of imminent threat--a war scare--the Russian General Staff, which controls the technical capability of launching a nuclear strike, has shown itself to be unstable at best. The author explores recent history and near-disasters such as the Bosnian crisis, the Norway missile incident, and U.S. air strikes on Iraq from the perspective of the Russian General Staff, believing that only by understanding their viewpoint can we minimize the risk of unintentionally provoking a deadly attack. Wary of NATO expansion and reeling from the Russian economy's descent into chaos, the General Staff may interpret Western military exercises and operations in the Middle East and elsewhere as concealing surprise aggression against Russia. This is a grave situation, indeed, as even after the START I, II, and III agreements, Russia will retain enough nuclear weapons to destroy the world--not to mention significantly expanded chemical and biological warfare capability. "War Scare" convincingly shows that we ignore these facts at our peril.


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War scare: Russia and America on the nuclear brink

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

The arrival of the year 2000 will find humankind's basket of worries distressingly full, with issues like Y2K, global warning, and biological terrorism lurking around the corner. Yet how many ... Read full review

Review: War Scare: Russia and America on the Nuclear Brink

User Review  - Jonathan - Goodreads

Informative, yet alarmist. A great deal of insightful fact into the thought process of the Politburo and the Soviet War Ministry, but turned into a warning against thermonuclear war. Amazing attention to detail and great chronological and historical background. Read full review

Selected pages


December 121979
Operation VRYAN May 1981
The Pershing II Crisis May 1981 November 1983
The Polish Crisis September December 1981
The KAL 007 Crisis September 1983
ABLE ARCHER November 2111983
The Death of Andropov February 1984
August Coup The Fall of the Soviet Empire August 19211991
Democracy of the Generals
The Warning Alexandria Virginia June 111993
Whos Got the Button?
Ukraine and the Hot September
Live on Larry King
Northern Lights The Norwegian Missile Crisis January 251995
Dangerous Men

Gorbachev at 20000 Feet August 41991
Kryuchkovs Coup August 181991
The Warsaw Pact Crisis 19891990
Twilight August 181991
Operation THUNDER and the Fall of the Old Guard
The CoverUp
The Armenian Crisis May 1992
The New Russia
The US Threat
The Great Debate May 27301992
The RussoUkrainian Nuclear Crisis October 1991May 1992
War in the Caucasus Genesis
The October Coup September 21 October 41993
Aurora Borealis
Dark History
Black Brant XII
Dangerous Minutes
The West
Black Prophecies Civilian Threat Perceptions
START A More Dangerous Balance
Winning a Nuclear War
Selected Sources

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Page xii - We will not prematurely or unnecessarily risk the costs of world-wide nuclear war in which even the fruits of victory would be ashes in our mouth— but neither will we shrink from that risk at any time it must be faced.
Page xiii - In our recent NIE, the Intelligence Community reaffirmed earlier assessments that the current threat to North America from unauthorized or accidental launch of Russian or Chinese strategic missiles remains remote and has not changed significantly from that of the past decade.

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About the author (1999)

PETER VINCENT PRY, formerly with the CIA, is currently a professional military advisor to the U.S. House of Representatives on national security issues./e In an award honoring his years of service, the CIA stated: A noted expert in his field, Dr. Pry conducted groundbreaking research that illuminated one of the most important issues of our time, the U.S.-Soviet nuclear competition. On the vanguard of strategic intelligence analysis during the Cold War, he developed much of what the U.S. government knows about Soviet planning for nuclear war, including Soviet views of the character of war, perceptions of U.S. intentions, assessment of the nuclear balance, and operational plans. In the post-Cold War period, his work has been central to the U.S. government's understanding of evolving Russian threat perceptions and military doctrine, and the construction of new paradigms for strategic warning and stability assessments. He lives in Annandale, Virginia.

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