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Nuclear weapons and national security : far-reaching influence and deterrence dominance

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Title:Nuclear weapons and national security : far-reaching influence and deterrence dominance
Authors:Alagappa, Muthiah
LC Subject Headings:Nuclear weapons - Asia
National security - Asia
Date Issued:2008
Publisher:Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press
Citation:Alagappa, Muthiah. 2008. Nuclear weapons and national security: far-reaching influence and deterrence dominance. In The long shadow, ed. Muthiah Alagappa, 479-507. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press.
Abstract:This study advances four propositions on the role of nuclear weapons in national security in the twenty-first century strategic environment. First, the primary role of nuclear weapons now and in the foreseeable future is basic or central deterrence. Nuclear weapons also prevent blackmail, preserve strategic autonomy (freedom to act), and provide insurance to cope with unanticipated developments in a changing strategic environment. Second, although deterrence continues to be the dominant role and strategy for the employment of nuclear weapons, the conception and practice of deterrence is different from the mutual assured destruction condition that characterized the Soviet-American nuclear confrontation during the Cold War and varies across countries. Deterrence in the contemporary era is largely asymmetric in nature with weaker powers relying on nuclear weapons to deter stronger adversaries. Third, the absence of severe confrontations and the limited capabilities of the relatively small Asian nuclear arsenals have resulted in general deterrence postures. The United States seeks capabilities to deal with a wide array of threats, but it does not confront an immediate conflict or crisis situation that warrants actor-specific threats that could result in nuclear retaliation. Finally, extended nuclear deterrence continues to be important to the national security of U.S. allied states in East Asia. China and certainly India and Pakistan do not have the capability or the strategic imperative to provide strategic protection to an ally against a threat from another nuclear power. Russia has the capability and plans to extend the deterrence function of its nuclear arsenal to protect Byelorussia and Armenia.
Pages/Duration:p. 479-507 pages
Rights:From The Long Shadow, Nuclear Weapons and Security in 21st Century Asia edited by Muthiah Alagappa, (c) 2008 by the Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Jr. University, all rights reserved. Posted by permission of the publisher, Stanford University Press, No reproduction, distribution or further use is allowed without the prior written permission of the publisher.
Appears in Collections: Alagappa, Muthiah

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