November 25, 2005


Nixon Was Torn by Prospect of Nuclear War, Papers Show (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, 11/25/05)

Widely considered a military hawk, President Richard M. Nixon fretted privately over the notion of any no-holds-barred nuclear war, newly released documents from his time at the White House reveal.

The recently declassified papers, from the first days of the Nixon presidency in 1969 until the end of 1974, show that Nixon wanted an alternative to the option of full-scale nuclear war - a plan for a gentler war, one that could ultimately vanquish the Soviet Union while avoiding the worst-case situation.

The papers provided a glimpse behind the scenes at efforts to find choices other than "the horror option," as the national security adviser, Henry A. Kissinger, called the worst-case scripts for all-out nuclear war that were then in place.

Such delicate liberal sensibilities explain why he was so half-hearted in confronting evil, while the millenarian Ronald Reagan, who despised the thought of M.A.D. without fearing it, was able to topple the regime.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 25, 2005 10:17 AM

This is exactly right. Reagan wanted to do everything possible not to have to launch nukes because he would have done it if he had to. Firing the PATCO strikers was a small example of his willingness to pull the trigger if forced to do so. It scared the Soviets to be dealing with such a man in a way I doubt Nixon scared them.

Posted by: JAB at November 25, 2005 10:46 AM

Slightly tangental, but I've always wondered why the Left hated Nixon so virulently, considering he was one of them in so many ways.

Posted by: Mike Morley at November 25, 2005 10:57 AM

Hiss. They could never accept that he was right about the Communists in their midst.

Posted by: oj at November 25, 2005 11:02 AM

Hiss first, then defeating a liberal woman/Hollywood semi-celebrity (Helen Gahagan Douglas) for the Senate added even more to the left's Nixon Derangement Syndrome. And after he escaped his first ethics crisis with the Checkers speech and then was used by Ike as his bridge to the conservative wing of the Republican Party, that pretty much assured him of permanent hostility from the left, and was a forerunner to today's Bush Derangement Syndrome, both in a few of its causes and in the way it blinds the left to the fact that GWB is far from the most conservative Republican out there (though he's still well to the right of what Nixon did as president).

Posted by: John at November 25, 2005 11:21 AM

Nixon was a socialist. The left hated him because, unlike them, he didn't hold the Soviets in high esteem.

Posted by: erp at November 25, 2005 12:42 PM

Yes, he did. He and Kissinger thought Bolshevism was working.

Posted by: oj at November 25, 2005 12:51 PM

Exactly right about Nizon. Nixon had early-on Commie-hunter credentials, and the Left could never forgive him for that.

Nuclear warfighting ia creepy subject. Zoomies and sub people were a lot closer to it than I, but I knew enough.

It is troubling that Nixon may have been waivering on his responsibility to keep our deterrent credible.

Posted by: Lou Gots at November 25, 2005 2:16 PM