The nuclear winter did not generate excitement among the public, but spurred nuclear analysts and policy experts to contemplate on the issues. Carl Sagan and his fellow nuclear winter proponents ultimately failed to convince the federal government to study the political consequences of the phenomenon. Nevertheless, it sparked a large and rich outpouring of policy ideas and analyses and gave planners the option to pursue nuclear arms expansion, arms control, or do nothing. This chapter examines some of the policy issues in the debate over nuclear winter. It looks at S. Fred Singer’s views about a threshold for climatic effects as well as strategic and tactical nuclear weapons. It also discusses Ronald Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative.
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