The NATO alliance has come under increasing strain since President Reagan's announcement of plans for the strategic defense initiative (SDI) in March 1983. This study examines the logic underlying Western European reactions to SDI and assesses the validity of European anxieties about missile defenses. Systematically analyzing the positions of France, Britain, and West Germany on the full spectrum of NATO defense issues, the author attempts to determine whether strategic and tactical missile defenses can in fact contribute to U.S. and Western security. In his introduction, the author traces the history of NATO's doubts concerning the strategic nuclear guarantee, which were frequently expressed after the Soveits' first successful missile launches in the late 1950s. He next looks at Western European reactions to the SDI announcement and NATO's strategic thinking on deterrence and escalation. He discusses the relation between arms control considerations and the strategic defense initiative, focusing on NATO fears that SDI would lead to the abrogation of the 1972 ABM Treaty and with it the end of the arms control process. Turning to antitactical missile defense, Soofer argues that despite political opposition, there exists a substantial strategic rationale for missile defenses deployed in Western Europe. Offering clarification and new perspectives on many complex defense issues. Missile Defenses and Western European Security will be an important contribution to the current debate on how new weapons initiatives will affect prospects for world peace. This timely book is for specialists, students, and academics in the fields of strategic studies, peace studies, arms control, diplomacy, andinternational relations.