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Monday, December 8, 1997 Published at 07:30 GMT


Clinton changes nuclear war rules
image: [ Clinton: Directive dispenses with Cold War thinking ]
Clinton: Directive dispenses with Cold War thinking

President Clinton has issued a new directive to American defence chiefs, advising them that a protracted nuclear war is un-winnable.

According to details published in the Washington Post newspaper, the new directive shifts the emphasis from waging a nuclear war to deterring one.

The directive still retains the option for nuclear strikes if necessary against Russia's military and civilian leadership, as well as its nuclear forces.

It is also said to allow targeters to broaden the list of sites to be attacked in the event of a nuclear exchange with China.

The new order also reportedly contained language that would permit nuclear strikes following enemy attacks involving the use of chemicals or biological weapons.

The newspaper says the decision could result in further reductions in the American nuclear arsenal.

The Clinton directive replaces one signed by Ronald Reagan in 1981. It effectively dispenses with the Cold War theory that America's generals must be prepared to win a protracted nuclear war even if it meant the end of the world as we know it.

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