RAND Research Brief: Regional Deterrence: The Nuclear Dimension
RAND CORP SANTA MONICA CA
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The United States, in pursuing its interests over the next decade, may well come into conflict with regional adversaries armed with nuclear weapons. How best to deter nuclear threats by regional states is, thus, an important question for U.S. national security strategy. In a recent RAND report, Nuclear Deterrence in a Regional Context, Dean Wilkening and Kenneth Watman outline an approach to answering this question. Nuclear confrontations between the United States and nuclear-armed regional adversaries will be games of brinkmanship, i.e., a competition in risk-taking where threats to cross the nuclear brink are made for strategic objectives. The outcomes of such interactions will be determined by the risk-taking propensities of each side and by the credibility of the opponents threat to cross the nuclear threshold first, the likely consequences of the threatened attack, and the credibility and severity of U.S. retaliatory threats. Credibility, in turn, depends on perceptions of each sides resolve and capability.
- Government and Political Science
- Nuclear Warfare