By G. Wyn Rees (auth.)
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Extra resources for Anglo-American Approaches to Alliance Security, 1955–60
If a state is very strong then it will have the capability to revert to self-sufficiency. However, if it is relatively weak, it may be unable to regain any of its former capabilities. Britain and the United States were circumspect about the extent to which The United States, Britain and their Alliances 17 they were prepared to become interdependent with their allies. They were less vulnerable than the other members of the organisations because of their relative strength. They could act independently and were therefore less reliant upon the alliances to fulfil their objectives.
42 Clearly, this would not involve the use of high-yield weapons as the targets would be of a localised military nature, and it was unlikely that they would be used against centres of population. It was important, however, not to threaten nuclear use spuriously as this might undermine deterrence; nor were they envisaged for use in internal security operations. 43 The perception, during 1955-60, was that limited war was becoming more likely. Just as the threat of global war was perceived to be decreasing, so it was becoming more probable that aggression could take place at levels below all-out war.
For a non-nuclear state, alignment with a nuclear power could result in it being targeted by an adversary: a point King makes in relation to the NATO alliance. 44 This issue presented a dilemma for alliance members in NATO, the Baghdad Pact and SEATO who were dependent upon the nuclear capabilities of the United States and Britain. They were expected to trust these two powers to use their weapons on behalf of the other states. Yet at the same time the UK and the US were eager to restrict knowledge about their nuclear planning.