Handout – Nuclear Weapons
How do nuclear weapons keep peace?
What is the state of the non-proliferation regime?
How do we think about the nuclear crisis with Iran?
Mutually Assured Destruction: a nuclear weapons doctrine based on mutual vulnerability. Each side in
the conflict is protected so long as each is equally vulnerable. In a nuclear confrontation, both sides
would strike, and therefore both would be destroyed.
Second Strike Capability: the capacity to survive a nuclear attack and respond to it. MAD does not
function if both sides do not have second strike capability.
Deterrence: MAD creates deterrence; there is no incentive to strike. Deterrence rests on 3 Cs:
capability, credibility, communication.
Massive Retaliation: nuclear strategy based on massive nuclear response to any threat, conventional or