Nuclear weapons created a revolution in military strategy, but the character of that revolution has yet to be fully determined. Nuclear weapons threatened to annihilate the very societies that they were intended to defend if actually used in warfare. Therefore, the purpose of nuclear weapons became primarily the threat of use with the object of deterrence, instead of the actual employment of those weapons for the attainment of victory in combat. The U.S. and the Soviet Union faced down one another during the Cold War by using tacit and explicit threats of nuclear escalation but also by forbearance in crisis management and coercive diplomacy. The post-Cold War "second nuclear age" presents new challenges in the control of nuclear weapons, especially the prevention of nuclear weapons spread among new state and non-state actors.
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