They begin by analyzing the crazy mathematics of nuclear arms races and arms control that preoccupied analysts and policymakers during the Cold War. After examining stability modeling, they argue for a more comprehensive definition of strategic stability and they relate this more inclusive concept to the current relationship between the United States and Russia--one characterized by cooperation as well as competition. They then use the concept of friction to analyze how the gap between theory and practice might influence nuclear force operations and arms control. The problem of nuclear weapons spread or proliferation is then considered from the vantage point of both theory and policy. They conclude with an analysis of whether the United States might get by in the 21st century with fewer legs of its strategic nuclear triplet than weapons based on land, at sea, and airborne. A provocative analysis for arms control policymakers, strategists, and students, scholars, and other researchers involved with nuclear weapons issues.
STEPHEN J. CIMBALA is Distinguished Professor of Political Science at Penn State University, Delaware County. His most recent books include Nuclear Strategy in the Twenty-first Century (Praeger, 2000) and Clausewitz and Chaos: Friction in War and Military Policy (Praeger, 2001).
JAMES SCOURAS is a Principal Scientist at DynCorp National Security Programs.
The existing body of literature largely leans toward the analytical primacy of nuclear deterrence and it is often implicitly assumed that nuclear weapons are so important that, when they are present, other factors need not be studied. This book addresses this omission. It develops a research framework that incorporates the military aspects of deterrence, both nuclear and conventional, together with various perceptual factors, international circumstances, domestic politics, and norms. This framework is then used to re-examine five historical crises that brought two nuclear countries to the brink of war: the hostile asymmetric nuclear relations between the United States and China in the early 1960s; between the Soviet Union and China in the late 1960s; between Israel and Iraq in 1977–1981; between the United States and North Korea in 1992–1994; and, finally, between the United States and the Soviet Union during the 1962 Cuban missile crisis. The main empirical findings challenge the common expectation that the threat of nuclear retaliation represents the ultimate deterrent. In fact, it can be said, with a high degree of confidence, that it was rather the threat of conventional retaliation that acted as a major stabilizer.
This book will be of much interest to students of nuclear proliferation, cold war studies, deterrence theory, security studies and IR in general.
States now face a global choice among alternative nuclear futures. If they desire to avoid runaway nuclear development, the choices come down to three: the status quo, disengagement, or abolition. Larkin argues that if they chose the status quo, they elect a world in which only terror and self-restraint keep devastation at bay, a world in which instant destruction is possible. This study focuses on the nuclear weapons programs of Great Britain, China, and France, because they may be less familiar to students of international affairs. Each of these countries has developed a substantial nuclear capability that could decisively shape the result of coming global nuclear decisions.
Larkin concludes that these three minipowers could conclude that nuclearism serves their interests, refuse disengagement, and encourage proliferation. If they are prepared to abandon nuclearism, they have tremendous political leverage on Russia, the United States, and also on undeclared and aspiring nuclear weapons states. For now, only the United Kingdom, France, and China maintain sufficient warhead inventories and production capabilities to have strong effects on how the United States and Russia view their own strategic capabilities. Nuclear Choices asserts that governments, polities, and parties today do not know how to guarantee themselves against weapons of mass destruction. They must either acquire the political and social means to achieve such guarantees or accept a world in which nuclearism will continue to cast its shadow over all aspects of nation building. It will be of interest to political scientists, policymakers, military analysts, and those interested hi the nuclear issue.
Langewiesche also recounts the recent history of Abdul Qadeer Khan, the scientist at the forefront of nuclear development and trade in the Middle East who masterminded the theft and sale of centrifuge designs that helped to build Pakistan's nuclear arsenal, and who single-handedly peddled nuclear plans to North Korea, Iran, and other potentially hostile countries. He then examines in dramatic and tangible detail the chances for nuclear terrorism.
From Hiroshima to the present day, Langewiesche describes a reality of urgent consequence to us all. This searing, provocative, and timely report is a triumph of investigative journalism, and a masterful laying out of the most critical political problem the world now faces.
As Cimbala shows in his various case studies, armed forces are used most of the time for coercion, not for mass destruction. Yet much professional military thinking, expert lay opinion, and U.S. government analysis presupposes that there is a clear dividing line between all-out peace and all-out war. In addition, U.S. political culture is insensitive to the requirement for matching the political objective to the military means available, as opposed to clamoring for a psychologically satisfying form of victory. Despite these apparent obstacles, Cimbala maintains that the United States must master military persuasion because its resources for defense are limited and its commitments are ubiquitous. This book will be of particular interest to scholars, students, and professionals involved with defense, security, and foreign policy studies.
The purpose of this book is to demonstrate viable alternatives to the current US plan to modernise or replace its full triad of air-, land- and sea-based nuclear weapons. These alternatives would allow the US to maintain deterrence at a lower cost, thereby freeing up funds to ease pressing shortfalls in spending on conventional procurement and nuclear security. Moreover, these alternative structures – which propose a reduction in the size and shape of the US arsenal – offer distinct advantages over the existing plan with regard to maintaining strategic stability vis-à-vis Russia and China; upholding existing arms-control treaties, in particular New START and the INF Treaty; and boosting the security of US nuclear forces and supporting the global non-proliferation regime, including the NPT. They would also endow the US with a nuclear force better suited to the strategic environment of the twenty-first century and mark an advance on the existing triad with regard to supporting conventional military operations.