US Nuclear Deterrence Policy and Its Problems
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Share this article Copy link Link copied. Removing white paint from old brick house. Reagan's 'hard sell' for guns. Bell, and Rory O'Connor. New York: Penguin Books. Subscribe to continue. There is a strong nuclear component to this debate. Changes in the security context In the East, events in Ukraine and the new posture of Russia challenge the very foundations of European security.
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It is all the more concerning that Russia has developed hybrid tactics that might prove more difficult to deter than traditional warfare. Furthermore, Russia has been exercising and using the whole spectrum of non-military and military tools, ranging from cyber attacks, proxies, special forces, and conventional capabilities to implicit or explicit nuclear threats including at an early stage in a crisis. In practice, Russia has developed an integrated defence posture, combining nuclear and conventional capabilities in its doctrine, training and exercises.
Beyond Russian nuclear policy, it is important for the Alliance to take into account ongoing missile and nuclear proliferation risks in the Middle East, nuclear arms race phenomena in Asia, which could all alter the Alliance security. All these development suggest that the 21st century might prove more nuclear than expected.
Furthermore, the policies of newcomers as well as those of some of the established nuclear weapon states demonstrate that the risk of use cannot be ruled out and that it is essential to preserve the logic of deterrence. Beyond the Readiness Action Plan, it remains however extremely important to deliver the appropriate messages on the full spectrum of NATO capabilities, as deterrence can no longer be taken for granted, to address challenges both from the East and elsewhere.
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For the Alliance, nuclear weapons play a unique and specific role in its deterrence posture. Their role is to prevent major war, not to wage wars. Even if Russia tends to lower the nuclear threshold and seems to envisage the possibility of an early use of nuclear weapons in a crisis or a conflict, the Alliance does not have to match this policy and to follow this dangerous path. Quite the contrary, NATO and nuclear allies can emphasise that they are responsible nuclear players that envisage nuclear weapons as weapons of ultimate resort under extreme circumstances.
NATO nevertheless ought to signal to Russia, or any other potential nuclear adversary, that the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons involving the Alliance would immediately transform the nature of the crisis. It would change the nature of any conflict fundamentally.
Go to top. Given their dependence on Middle Eastern oil, the Europeans might have been expected to pay lip service to countering Iraqi aggression, but little more. Times have changed, however, and Saddam's biggest miscalculation in his plan to annex Kuwait may have been to ignore the shift in world alliances that has occurred during the past year. The Soviet Union, instead of jumping to Saddam's defense, denounced the invasion and joined its fellow members of the United Nations Security Council in supporting economic sanctions against Iraq.
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The Security Council broke precedent again Aug. And Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev reiterated his country's support of U. Help Login. Search by keyword. Congress U. Presidency U. Take a Tour Permissions. All Rights Reserved. Controlling Scientific Information. Trends in U.
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