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Nuclear Asymmetry and Deterrence : Theory, Policy and History (Hardcover) (Jan Ludvik)
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This book offers a broader theory of nuclear deterrance and examines the way nuclear and conventional deterrence interact with non-military factors in a series of case studies.
The work aims to move deterrence theory forward by asking two critical questions: (1) how does deterrence work between a country with a small nuclear arsenal and a more powerful challenger; and (2) what makes it work? In contrast to the large past of deterrence literature, the work is primarily focused on small nuclear arsenals rather than big ones or, more accurately, on the relations between the two. Furthermore, attention is not limited to the nuclear dimension of deterrence in this small-to-big dyad; rather, it benefits from a broad spectrum of available theoretical literature. Methodologically, the research is inspired by comparative historical case studies and five cases anchor the comparison in empirical reality, covering the history of hostile asymmetric nuclear relations between the United States and China in the early 1960s; the Soviet Union and China in the late 1960s; Israel and Iraq in 1977–81; the United States and North Korea in 1992–94; and, finally the United States and the Soviet Union during the 1962 Cuban missile crisis. The last serves as a control case where both sides operated more substantial nuclear arsenals.
The main empirical findings challenge common knowledge about the relationship between conventional and nuclear deterrence and the effectiveness of deterrence with small nuclear arsenals. The findings have profound implications for theory and policy. In the realm of theory, students of deterrence should consciously avoid the empirically unwarranted analytical primacy of nuclear deterrence, pay attention to the way conventional and nuclear deterrence operate side by side, and advance the concept of conventional retaliation, which desperately needs both careful theoretical refinement and extensive empirical research. In the realm of policy, nuclear weapons are likely replaceable with proper conventional strategies in most deterrence missions and a no-first-use policy can be safely adopted.
This book will be of much interest to students of nuclear proliferation, cold war studies, deterrence theory, security studeis and IR in general.