Deterrence and the New Nuclear Threats
NATIONAL WAR COLL WASHINGTON DC
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For over 40 years, U.S. defense policy centered on the prevention of nuclear war with the Soviet Union. During this period, the primary focus of U.S. military strategy was to deter the use or threatened use of Soviet nuclear weapons against the United States, its allies, or its interests. The end of the Cold War and the breakup of the Soviet Union unmistakably altered U.S. and Soviet threat perceptions and led to new agreements designed to lessen the risks of nuclear war. Concurrent with these developments, however, new nuclear threats appeared with potentially ominous consequences for the United States. The emergence of new nuclear states, some of which are hostile to the United States, has brought into question the future applicability of the nuclear deterrence concept. This paper addresses this fundamental question and its implications for future defense planning. It first discusses the dangers of the newly emerging nuclear states and the threats they pose to U.S. interests. It then analyzes the declining utility of U.S. nuclear weapons as a deterrent to the emerging threat. Finally, it recommends some options for dealing with the threats and enhancing overall deterrent capabilities.
- Government and Political Science
- Nuclear Warfare