On Herman Kahn


Louis Menand has a fascinating review of the latest bio of Herman Kahn, nuclear strategist at the RAND Corporation and probably one of the models for Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove.

As Norman Podhoretz later wrote of Kahn's opus On Thermonuclear War: "If I wanted to convince a skeptic that there is no security in the balance of terror which American policy is committed to maintaining, I would send him to the works of Herman Kahn far sooner than to the writings of the unilateralists and the nuclear pacifists."

But the balance of terror finally did work–a fact some might want to ponder, if not necessarily reproduce, when considering how to deal with the North Korean and possibly Iranian nuclear weapons programs.