For some observers, nuclear arms control is either a relic of the cold war, or a utopian dream about a denuclearized planet decades in the future. But in fact, as Brookings scholars Steven Pifer and Michael O'Hanlon argue in a new book, it is of major relevance to some of the key and urgent security challenges of the day.
Iran, North Korea, and Pakistan dominate the nuclear headlines, and policymakers constantly try to find the right mix of sanctions, incentives, arms control options, and in some cases, even threats of military force to address the problems. Efforts led by the Obama administration to pressure Iran not to enrich uranium, North Korea not to test more devices, or Pakistan to slow its arms racing depend on international consensus about nuclear nonproliferation, nuclear testing, and nuclear weapons reductions.
Then there is Russia. It remains America's chief partner on nuclear arms negotiations, and also a rival in other ways. The Obama administration has had some success in improving U.S.-Russian relations by returning to classic arms control, including the New START Treaty. Those improved relations in turn made it easier to get Moscow to pressure Iran over its nuclear program (and to supply NATO forces in Afghanistan through the so-called Northern Distribution Network rather than just Pakistan). But U.S.-Russian relations remain complex, Moscow is opposed to American plans for missile defense in Europe, and it is not clear how eager Russia is for any further nuclear arms cuts given its reliance on weapons of mass destruction to protect its long borders.
What is the future of nuclear arms control for the next American president, be it a reelected Barack Obama or a newly elected Mitt Romney? Can there be another major U.S.-Russia arms treaty? Can all the tactical and surplus warheads that have so far escaped controls be brought into such a framework? Can a modus vivendi be reached between the two states on missile defense? And what of multilateral accords on nuclear testing and production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons? Pifer and O'Hanlon concisely frame the issues, the circumstances, and the choices for a future president and offer their own recommendations as well.
The United States continues to maintain a large nuclear arsenal guided by a deterrence strategy little changed since the collapse of the Warsaw Pact. Notwithstanding changes in the size and composition of nuclear forces brought about since 1991, the fundamental rationales and planning principles which informed U.S. nuclear policy for decades remain in place--despite the disappearance of a superpower nuclear enemy. In this work, Janne E. Nolan traces the effort to articulate a post-cold war nuclear doctrine through decisions taken in the Bush and Clinton administrations, focusing on the leadership styles of presidents, bureaucratic politics, and broader foreign policy objectives.Based on in-depth interviews with policy participants, this study illuminates in detail the dynamics by which the U.S. government has tried to reflect the dramatically altered international arena in its nuclear policies. In two major policy developments--the 1994 Nuclear Posture Review and the decision to sign the African Nuclear Weapons Free Zone Treaty--U.S. policy makers sought to define the utility of nuclear weapons after the cold war and to gain broad-based consensus. For many reasons, these efforts were largely unsuccessful in developing coherent policies, with the absence of sustained presidential leadership proving most decisive.
For more than forty years, the United States has maintained a public commitment to nuclear disarmament, and every president from Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama has gradually reduced the size of America's nuclear forces. Yet even now, over two decades after the end of the Cold War, the United States maintains a huge nuclear arsenal on high alert and ready for war. The Americans, like the Russians, the Chinese, and other major nuclear powers, continue to retain a deep faith in the political and military value of nuclear force, and this belief remains enshrined at the center of U.S. defense policy regardless of the radical changes that have taken place in international politics.
In No Use, national security scholar Thomas M. Nichols offers a lucid, accessible reexamination of the role of nuclear weapons and their prominence in U.S. security strategy. Nichols explains why strategies built for the Cold War have survived into the twenty-first century, and he illustrates how America's nearly unshakable belief in the utility of nuclear arms has hindered U.S. and international attempts to slow the nuclear programs of volatile regimes in North Korea and Iran. From a solid historical foundation, Nichols makes the compelling argument that to end the danger of worldwide nuclear holocaust, the United States must take the lead in abandoning unrealistic threats of nuclear force and then create a new and more stable approach to deterrence for the twenty-first century.
This edited collection considers the future of nuclear weapons in world politics in terms of security issues that are important for U.S. and other policy makers. The spread of nuclear weapons also is related to the equally dangerous proliferation of other weapons of mass destruction, including chemical and biological weapons, and of ballistic missiles of medium and longer ranges.
Cold War studies of nuclear weapons emphasized the U.S.-Soviet relationship, deterrence, and bilateral arms control. A less structured post-Cold War world will require more nuanced appreciation of the diversity of roles that nuclear weapons might play in the hands of new nuclear states or non-state actors. As the essays suggest as well, the possibility of terrorism by means of nuclear or other weapons of mass destruction introduces other uncertainties into military and policy planning. An important analysis for scholars, students, and researchers involved with defense, security, and foreign policy studies.
Sooner or later, if the world keeps following its current course, there will be a nuclear war. Roger Hilsman, who played a significant role during the Cuban Missile Crisis, is convinced that the only way to prevent an eventual nuclear conflict is to abolish war itself. This study examines and critiques all of the various proposals to date for incorporating nuclear weapons into strategic doctrine and concludes that these efforts have failed. Plans for abolishing only nuclear weapons are, according to Hilsman, good-intentioned but ill-advised attempts to rehabilitate war. Instead, he proposes a gradual transition to world government, which will perform the traditional social and political functions that were in the past served only by war.
War will not disappear immediately. The world must still be prepared to deal with three types of war: wars that have the potential for escalating to a nuclear World War III; wars that are self-confining; and civil wars that cry out for peacekeeping intervention on humanitarian grounds. While the United States will have to be responsible for dealing with potentially nuclear wars, an entirely new force structure will be necessary. Self-confining wars, such as Bosnia, pose a particular problem as far as world public opinion for intervention is concerned; this study proposes solutions to such dilemmas. Finally, because national forces are ill-suited to peacekeeping missions in countries ravaged by civil war, the UN must recruit and maintain an international force along the lines of the French Foreign Legion.
In recent years, the dangers associated with nuclear weapons and the complexities of addressing these dangers have steadily grown. Relations with a nuclear-armed Russia could become adversarial. China's level of strategic development of nuclear technology remains unclear. Nuclear technologies are illicitly transferred through black markets. Equally important, new threats continue to grow from emerging nuclear states, such as Iran and North Korea, and from terrorist groups who may gain access to nuclear weapons. In this new and dangerous world, the United States must address and reassess its nuclear weapons policy.
Under the leadership of former secretary of defense William J. Perry and former national security adviser Brent Scowcroft, an independent task force takes a fresh look at current U.S. nuclear doctrine and policy and determines the underlying purpose of America's nuclear weapons. Their report outlines a strategy for achieving the fundamental objectives of U.S. nuclear weapons through the skillful management of important political relationships and relevant amendments to policies on nonproliferation, arms control, nuclear terrorism prevention, securing nuclear weapons and weapons-usable materials, and ensuring crisis stability.
As proven by the recent discovery of ongoing research and tests in India and Pakistan, the nuclear age is not dead. Nuclear weapons, deployed in plentiful numbers during the Cold War by the Americans and Soviets, and, in lesser numbers, by others, were nevertheless controlled in their use by the essential equivalence, of U.S. and Soviet strategic power and by the ability of the U.S. and the Soviet Union to dominate the international security environment by means of their global military power. Now the setting within which nuclear weapons exist has been transformed.
Now that the Cold War has ended, and the Soviet Union has vanished, states seeking nuclear weapons operate under decision making rules that are sometimes opaque to Western observers. If the end of the Cold War leads to the unrestrained spread of nuclear weapons, Cimbala stresses that a combination of military hubris and arms control insolvency could lead to new nuclear crises or worse. The author provides a provocative analysis for policy makers and professional military staff as well as scholars and researchers involved with international relations, security studies, and arms control.