PSCI 3603 Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: Mutual Assured Destruction, Fissile Material, Nuclear Proliferation

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Lecture 3: The Nukes of Hazard
There has been an increase in nuclear capability over the last 50 years.
Security reasons
National-international prestige
Self-reliance and isolation
What causes the demand for nukes?
Some states have attempted to acquire nukes
Preventative war
Pressures from alliance members
These costs may outweigh the benefits to states that feel secure
Why have only 9 countries acquired nukes?
Political will to develop weapons
Knowledge of how to build them
Nuclear, industrial and manufacturing infrastructure required to build
Fissile material for bomb
Bomb design must be adopted and decision made to assemble and
deploy weapons.
Requirements for building nukes
Supply issues
Begins with the Cold War
Democratic Peace
Nuclear deterrence among great powers
Three Theories of great power peace:
Nuclear weapons dissuade states from going to war much more surely
than conventional weapons.
Mutually assured destruction:
Nuclear proliferation, even among rogue states, is good for international security
Deterrence vs Defence
Deterrence requires that states with nuclear arsenals possess second strike
Miscalculation in a multipolar system
Windows of opportunity/vulnerability
Pre-emptive war
Preventative war
Offense dominance and the cult of the offensive
The security dilemma augments these
Nuclear proliferation ameliorates causes of war:
Eliminates miscalculation
No need for defensive conquest
Reduces uncertainty
Creates a “defensive” system
Relative gains calculus
Nukes and Peace: Causal mechanisms
Weak/fragile states with nukes
Waltz responds to objections
The Case for Proliferation
Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons: Spread of nuclear weapons to states or non-state actors
PSCI 3603 Strategic Thought and International Security
6:00 PM
Lecture 3 Page 1
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