Nuclear Weapons and Strategy: US Nuclear Policy for the Twenty-First Century

Routledge
Free sample

Nuclear weapons, once thought to have been marginalized by the end of the Cold War, have returned with a vengeance to the centre of US security concerns and to a world bereft of the old certainties of deterrence.

This is a major analysis of these new strategic realities. The George W. Bush administration, having deposed the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, now points to a new nuclear "Axis of Evil": Iran and North Korea. These nations and other rogue states, as well as terrorists, may pose key threats because they are "beyond deterrence", which was based on the credible fear of retaliation after attack. This new study places these and other developments, such as the clear potential for a new nuclear arms race in Asia, within the context of evolving US security policy.

Detailing the important milestones in the development of US nuclear strategy and considering the present and future security dilemmas related to nuclear weapons this is a major new contribution to our understanding of the present international climate and the future. Individual chapters are devoted to the key issues of missile defenses, nuclear proliferation and Israel’s nuclear deterrent.

This book will be of great interest to all students and scholars of strategic studies, international relations and US foreign policy.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Routledge
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Published on
Mar 10, 2006
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Pages
144
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ISBN
9781135990442
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Military / General
Political Science / International Relations / Diplomacy
Political Science / Political Freedom
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This content is DRM protected.
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The regime of Kim Jong-Il has been called "mad," "rogue," even, by the Wall Street Journal, the equivalent of an "unreformed serial killer." Yet, despite the avalanche of television and print coverage of the Pyongyang government's violation of nuclear nonproliferation agreements and existing scholarly literature on North Korean policy and security, this critical issue remains mired in political punditry and often misleading sound bites. Victor Cha and David Kang step back from the daily newspaper coverage and cable news commentary and offer a reasoned, rational, and logical debate on the nature of the North Korean regime.

Coming to the issues from different perspectives—Kang believes the threat posed by Pyongyang has been inflated and endorses a more open approach, while Cha is more skeptical and advocates harsher measures—the authors together have written an essential work of clear-eyed reflection and authoritative analysis. They refute a number of misconceptions and challenge much faulty thinking that surrounds the discussion of North Korea, particularly the idea that North Korea is an irrational nation. Cha and Kang contend that however provocative, even deplorable, the Pyongyang government's behavior may at times be, it is not incomprehensible or incoherent. Neither is it "suicidal," they argue, although crisis conditions could escalate to a degree that provokes the North Korean regime to "lash out" as the best and only policy, the unintended consequence of which are suicide and/or collapse. Further, the authors seek to fill the current scholarly and policy gap with a vision for a U.S.-South Korea alliance that is not simply premised on a North Korean threat, not simply derivative of Japan, and not eternally based on an older, "Korean War generation" of supporters.

This book uncovers the inherent logic of the politics of the Korean peninsula, presenting an indispensable context for a new policy of engagement. In an intelligent and trenchant debate, the authors look at the implications of a nuclear North Korea for East Asia and U.S. homeland security, rigorously assessing historical and current U.S. policy, and provide a workable framework for constructive policy that should be followed by the United States, Japan, and South Korea if engagement fails to stop North Korean nuclear proliferation.

Cimbala argues that nuclear complacency is based on a misreading of history and on unsound political and military analysis. The stability factors built into the Cold War international system are now missing. The spread of nuclear weapons after the Cold War moved toward regional actors outside of Europe, some with religious or national scores to settle. Technology transfer of ballistic missiles and other delivery systems for weapons of mass destruction, including biological and chemical as well as nuclear weapons, brings the danger of nuclear eruption closer to reality. Finally, the mechanism of deterrence that seemed so dependable as a means of war prevention from 1947 to 1991 only seems so by virtue of nostalgia.

The early decades of the Cold War were made somewhat unpredictable by uncertain U.S.-Soviet political relations, by nuclear force building based on worst-case estimates, and by rickety command and control systems that could have failed both sides in a crisis. The Soviets and Americans gradually improved their relationship and stabilized Cold War competition, including nuclear rivalry, but they had more than 40 years to practice and no immediate territorial disputes. As Cimbala makes clear, it cannot be assumed that the Soviet-American nonbelligerence of the Cold War is transferable into a multipolar, post-Cold War international system marked by spreading weapons and trigger-sensitive control systems. This provocative analysis will be of interest to all scholars, students, and policy makers involved with defense, security, and foreign policy studies.

Coercion is persuasion supported by the threat or use of force. Just as warfare is often "diplomacy carried out by other means," coercion--the threat of combat or the threat of an escalation in the intensity of combat--is a more subtle method of dispute that shades the spectrum between diplomacy and warfare. Understanding of coercive military strategy is a prerequisite to the successful making of either policy or war.
In "Coercive Military Strategy, " Stephen J. Cimbala shows that coercive military strategy is a necessary part of any diplomatic-strategic recipe for success. Few wars are total wars, fought to annihilation, and military power is inherently political, employed for political purpose, in order to advance the public agenda of a state, so in any war there comes a time when a diplomatic resolution may be possible. To that end, coercive strategy should be flexible, for there are as many variations to it as there are variations in wars and warfare.
Cimbala observes several cases of applying coercive strategy in the twentieth century: the U.S. strategy of limited war during the Cold War; the Cuban Missile Crisis, in which both the United States and the Soviet Union applied coercive strategy; Desert Storm, in which the Coalition Forces could practice coercion without restraint; and the Vietnam War, in which U.S. coercive strategy was ultimately a failure.
Additionally, Cimbala examines coercion and the theory of collective security, which implies a willingness on the part of individual states, such as the NATO nations, to combine against any aspiring aggressor.
With his examples, and the arguments they illustrate, Cimbala shows that although coercive strategy is a remedy for neither the ailments of U.S. national security nor world conflict, it will become more important in peace, crisis, and even war in the next century, when winning with the minimum of force or without force will become more important than winning by means of maximum firepower.
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