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Carter's conversion : the hardening of American defense policy /
Brian J. Auten.
imprint
Columbia : University of Missouri Press, c2008.
description
xiv, 344 p. ; 25 cm.
ISBN
0826218164 (alk. paper), 9780826218162 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Columbia : University of Missouri Press, c2008.
isbn
0826218164 (alk. paper)
9780826218162 (alk. paper)
general note
Originally presented as the author's thesis (Ph. D.)--2004.
abstract
"Examining Carter's dramatic shift from advocating defense budget cuts early in his administration to supporting development of the MX missile and modernization of NATO's Long-Range Theater Nuclear Force by the end of his presidency, the author argues, counter to common interpretations, that the shift was a "self-correcting" policy change in response to the prevailing international military environment"--Provided by publisher.
catalogue key
6693747
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 311-332) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2009-07-01:
This revised doctoral thesis asserts that classical realist theories explain the Carter administration's turn toward more militant defense policies better than domestic-political or international-structural theories. While the overall story of Carter's 1979 turn is familiar to foreign policy analysts, the story Auten (intelligence analyst) tells is more about the conversion of policy makers serving under him. Defense policy specialists might find Auten's archival work helpful in exploring the details of nuclear targeting strategy or defense spending during the Carter years. Political scientists, however, will be disappointed to find an overabundance of detail overtaking the analytical framework. They will find that Auten's heavy reliance on the acronyms and jargon of defense policy detracts from the testing of rival theories. In the end, he argues that Carter's administration unwisely delayed a confrontation with Soviet power and was forced to succumb to its reality. But the wider political context--at both the domestic and the structural level--helps explain the shift without any additional theoretical innovation. Thus, the book will be of greater interest to historians than to political scientists interested in theory-testing, or to students who know little about the MX missile or neutron bomb debates. Summing Up: Optional. Graduate, research, and professional collections. S. Waalkes Malone College
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, July 2009
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Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
Full of rich history and cogent analysis, 'Carter's Conversion' presents a wealth of detailed arguments about how Carter adjusted his policy outlook, couched in a thorough understanding of weapons, arms control dynamics, and defense policymaking.
Library of Congress Summary
"Examining Carter's dramatic shift from advocating defense budget cuts early in his administration to supporting development of the MX missile and modernization of NATO's Long-Range Theater Nuclear Force by the end of his presidency, the author argues, counter to common interpretations, that the shift was a "self-correcting" policy change in response to the prevailing international military environment"--Provided by publisher.
Main Description
When presidential candidate Jimmy Carter advocated defense budget cuts, he did so not only to save money but also with the hope of eventually abolishing nuclear weapons. Three yearslater ,when President Carter announced his support of full-scale development of the MX missile and modernization of NATO's Long-Range Theater Nuclear Force, it marked a dramatic policy shift for his administration. In light of Carter's cost-cutting in the first year of his administration, previous observers have attributed Carter's subsequent shift either to the "shocks of 1979"-the Soviet Union's move into Afghanistan and the seizure of power by Islamic revolutionaries in Iran-or to domestic political pressure, such as interest group activity, executive-legislative bargaining, or interbureaucratic conflict. Brian Auten now argues that these explanations only partially explain this midterm policy change. In Carter's Conversion, Auten reveals how strategic ideas and studies, allied relations, and arms control negotiations each worked to deflect Carter's initial defense stance away from the policy path suggested by the prevailing international military environment. He also shows how the administration's MX and Long-Range Theater Nuclear Force decisions subsequently hardened following significant adjustments to these three variables. Employing the approach to international relations known as neoclassical realism, Auten demonstrates that Carter reassessed his strategic thinking and revised his policy stance accordingly. Integrating declassified documents, interviews, and private archives with a mountain of secondary sources, he provides a historical analysis of defense policy transformation over the first three years of the Carter administration and a detailed examination of how Carter and his national security team addressed challenges posed by the expansion of Soviet military power. Full of rich history and cogent analysis, Carter's Conversionpresents a wealth of detailed arguments about how Carter adjusted his policy outlook, couched in a thorough understanding of weapons, arms control dynamics, and defense policy-making. As a revision ofcommon interpretations, it provides both an example of self-correcting policy change and a realist argument about the end of superpower détente and the start of the "Second Cold War."
Main Description
When presidential candidate Jimmy Carter advocated defense budget cuts, he did so not only to save money but also with the hope of eventually abolishing nuclear weapons. Three yearslater ,when President Carter announced his support of full-scale development of the MX missile and modernization of NATO’s Long-Range Theater Nuclear Force, it marked a dramatic policy shift for his administration. In light of Carter’s cost-cutting in the first year of his administration, previous observers have attributed Carter’s subsequent shift either to the “shocks of 1979”-the Soviet Union’s move into Afghanistan and the seizure of power by Islamic revolutionaries in Iran-or to domestic political pressure, such as interest group activity, executive-legislative bargaining, or interbureaucratic conflict. Brian Auten now argues that these explanations only partially explain this midterm policy change. In Carter’s Conversion, Auten reveals how strategic ideas and studies, allied relations, and arms control negotiations each worked to deflect Carter’s initial defense stance away from the policy path suggested by the prevailing international military environment. He also shows how the administration’s MX and Long-Range Theater Nuclear Force decisions subsequently hardened following significant adjustments to these three variables. Employing the approach to international relations known as neoclassical realism, Auten demonstrates that Carter reassessed his strategic thinking and revised his policy stance accordingly. Integrating declassified documents, interviews, and private archives with a mountain of secondary sources, he provides a historical analysis of defense policy transformation over the first three years of the Carter administration and a detailed examination of how Carter and his national security team addressed challenges posed by the expansion of Soviet military power. Full of rich history and cogent analysis, Carter’s Conversionpresents a wealth of detailed arguments about how Carter adjusted his policy outlook, couched in a thorough understanding of weapons, arms control dynamics, and defense policy-making. As a revision ofcommon interpretations, it provides both an example of self-correcting policy change and a realist argument about the end of superpower d tente and the start of the “Second Cold War.”
Table of Contents
Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Glossaryp. xiii
Introduction and Common Theoretical Explanations for Carter's "Conversion"p. 1
The Strategic Environment of the 1970sp. 38
The Pre-Presidential Strategic Thought of Jimmy Carterp. 81
The Carter Administration's First Year of Defense Policy: The Strategic Slowdown and the Conventional Emphasisp. 117
Carter's FY1979 Defense Budget: Understanding Changes to the MX Missile and Theater Nuclear Force Modernization Programs, 1977-January 1978p. 174
Carter's Adjustments to the MX and TNF Modernization Programs in 1978p. 219
Carter's Conversion: Explaining MX and LRTNF Decision-Making in Early 1979p. 257
Conclusionp. 305
Bibliographyp. 311
Indexp. 333
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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