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POLI 244 Lecture Notes - Strategic Defence, Mutual Assured Destruction, Massive Retaliation

Political Science
Course Code
POLI 244
Stephen Saideman

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Evolution of Nuclear Strategy
WWII and strategic bombing
You drop it on a city
Like any other bomb
Just bigger
No taboo
Instead of sending thousands of planes with hundreds of bombs, you could
send one place with one bomb
The way to win a war was to cause so much destruction that the country would
commit submission
Massive retaliation
After WWII, the US saw nuclear weapons as the only way to destroy the Soviet
Mutual assured destruction
Both had the capacity
Second strike capability
Land base
Creating bombs
Testing bombs
Dropping bombs
Submarines launching missiles
How much destruction is enough?
Changes the calculus
Offense if good, defence is bad?
You need to have enough warheads to be able to retaliate
e.g. Pakistan and India
Stability-Instability Paradox
"I can't use my weapons against you, you can't use your weapons against me"
e.g. If India strikes Pakistan with nuclear weapons, it can strike back
The problem of defence
Repeated efforts and justifications
Bomber defences of the 1950's
Didn't stop 100% of the missiles
Anti-ballistic missiles of the 1960's
Missiles to take out missiles shot at your own country
Didn't stop 100% of the missiles
While you were building defences, they would
Strategic defence initiatives of the 1980's
Laser beams
Particle beams
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