The Development of Non-Provocative Defence Concepts in Western Europe in the 1980s

  • Geoffrey Wiseman
Part of the St Antony’s Series book series


In the 1980s, proposals for improving the stability of East-West security relations began to focus on non-provocative defence concepts. These defensive proposals arose in essentially two contexts: the sustained Western critique of NATO deterrence strategy in the early to mid 1980s, and Soviet and Warsaw Pact defence pronouncements under the rubric of Gorbachev’s ‘new thinking’ beginning in 1986. This chapter has three major parts. The first looks at why non-provocative defence concepts arose in Western Europe in the 1980s, highlighting salient features of the debates in several countries. The second surveys state policies in Switzerland and Sweden, two European neutral states that voluntarily practice versions of non-provocative defence. The third assesses the non-provocative defence critique of NATO policy that followed NATO’s 1979 ‘dual-track’ decision and its move to include more offensive elements in its conventional war plans. The assessment is made in terms of defensive writers’ main claims, assumptions, and modes of discourse.


Nuclear Weapon Flexible Response Common Security Peace Movement Nuclear Deterrence 
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Copyright information

© Geoffrey Wiseman 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Geoffrey Wiseman
    • 1
  1. 1.School of International RelationsUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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