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date: 05 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This article describes the negative effects of mistaken ideas focusing on the case of the history of U.S. nuclear war planning and diplomacy. It suggests that nuclear war planning and nuclear war talking were poorly coordinated and there was no overarching coordination of the two systems, which allowed each to be driven by different dynamics, with different audiences for their actions and different environmental constraints. Deterrence rhetoric was also used misleadingly to try to convince audiences that America's war planning was animated by rational, intellectual considerations. That rhetoric was aimed at misleading domestic and foreign audiences into believing that civilian politicians both were in control of nuclear weapons and understood the technologies they had at their disposal.

Keywords: mistaken ideas, nuclear war planning, diplomacy, U.S., deterrence rhetoric, civilian politicians

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