Nuclear Strategy and the Superpowers


131 pages
ISBN 0-919769-17-9




Edited by R.B. Byers
Reviewed by J.L. Granatstein

J.L. Granatstein is a history professor at York University and author of
War and Peacekeeping and For Better or For Worse.


The Canadian Institute of Strategic Studies and York University’s Programme in Strategic Studies have, in a very few years, become one of the major publishers in Canada on East-West military-political questions. This book of papers, most originally presented at a student conference in 1983, is a good example of their work. The essays are good, clear, straightforward presentations of a fairly hawkish position. In these papers, to generalize too much, the Russians are the menace and the West — even Ronald Reagan — are the good guys in the white hats. This shows most clearly in a mistitled essay by Nils Orvik on “Canada in Soviet Perspective,” a paper that looks at the USSR from a slightly demonological point of view. More useful is Rod Byers’s paper on the Trudeau peace initiative of 1983, a quite unsparing look at the failures in planning and thinking that foredoomed Trudeau’s last crack at a Nobel Peace Prize.

This little book is a useful introduction for the interested general reader — although the jargon gets somewhat heavy in places — to the current thinking of strategists. Just what Canadians can do about the balance of terror, however, remains as unclear as ever.


“Nuclear Strategy and the Superpowers,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 24, 2024,