Bundy questions whether nuclear weapons confer diplomatic power. Though the United States invested a considerable fortune in its nuclear arsenal, the Soviet Union still managed to invade and control much of Eastern Europe. Bundy cites only one instance where nuclear power led to diplomatic victory: President Eisenhower defending two small islands against the Chinese.
Bundy's analysis argues that statesmen refrain from utilizing nuclear weapons because they fear retaliation. In a nuclear age, dropping a bomb on another country may well lead to another bomb dropped on the aggressor.
Bundy would likely say that the early stages of the nuclear arms race showed a missed opportunity for negotiation. Had the United States been more open about its nuclear weapons, it may have invited discussion that could have led to regulation of nuclear weapons.