EXTENDING THE UNITED STATES NUCLEAR DETERRENCE UMBRELLA TO THE MIDDLE EAST
AIR COMMAND AND STAFF COMMAND MAXWELL AFB United States
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The United States nuclear umbrella is a foreign policy tool to deter nuclear attacks against our allies or deter coercive behavior backed by the threat of nuclear attack. It is offered as part of a multi-lateral security treaty in Europe, and offered bilaterally to key partners in the Asia-Pacific theater. In the Middle East, Irans nuclear ambitions compel US policymakers to debate the merits of extending our nuclear umbrella to regional partners, even after passage of the Iranian Nuclear Deal. This research paper examines historic cases in which the US provided, or did not provide, extended deterrence around the world. It offers a qualitative analysis of the factors which drove previous US decisions, the most important of which were national interest and the existence of a primary threat. Furthermore, this paper dissects the cases where US assurance was deemed insufficient or incompatible, e.g., with France and New Zealand, respectively. Applied to the Middle East strategic context, extending the US nuclear deterrence umbrella to our partners would provide negligible benefits and carry potentially negative political implications in the region.
- Government and Political Science