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Todd Alway (280)
Lecture 7

Political Science Lecture 7b Feb 26 2013.doc

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Political Science
Todd Alway

Political Science 1G06 2013 II Lecture 7b: To proliferate or not to proliferate - Did the threat of nuclear annihilation prevent two opponents that were vehemently opposed to one another on so many fundamental levels from actually going to war? - The fact that the Third World War did not happen is taken by some as sufficient proof that nuclear deterrence was effective - But there is additional support - 1969 Sino-Soviet clash - 1999 India-Pakistan clash - In many respects, this is a critical case for proponents of nuclear deterrence - This was a case where it was least likely for nuclear deterrence theory to hold: - New nuclear powers - Limited Second Strike Capability - Less than Mutually Assured Destruction - History of conflict - Despite all these factors weighing against deterrence, and the fact that the conflict went right to the brink, in the end a full scale war was avoided. Deterrence is a stabilizer. Given the deterrence story, is nuclear weapon proliferation a security problem or a security solution? Proliferation Optimists: - If deterrence worked for the parties in the Cold War, then why would it not work everywhere? - The possession of nuclear weapons means that the costs of aggression will always outweigh any benefits that aggression could bring - In general, then, if more states are armed with nuclear power, all states would have to be more cautious in their foreign policy Proliferation Pessimists: 1 - Even if we accept the logical persuasiveness of nuclear deterrence theory (and not everyone does), it does not necessarily follow that nuclear proliferation would result in increased security - Even if we accept the argument that nuclear deterrence will prevent nuclear war 99.9% of the time - The potential consequences associated with a 0.1% failure rate may more than overwhelm the potential benefits of years of stability - According to critics, given a sufficient span of time and given a sufficient number of nuclear weapons states, it becomes increasingly likely that “nuclear weapons will be used” - Moreover, the present security environment presents several, perhaps insurmountable new challenges to the effectiveness of deterrence - Deterrence will only work if there is an identifi
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