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Lecture 11

lecture 11 blackboard reading notes

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Political Science
Todd Hall

POL208 – Reading Notes (BB) Lecture 11 Why Do States Build Nuclear Weapons? • The Security Model o States build nuclear weapons to increase nat’l security against foreign threats, especially nuclear threats o Neorealist Theory: states exist in an anarchical int’l system and must therefore rely on self-help to protect their sovereignty and nat’l security o Any state that hopes to protect nat’l security against a rival state that develops nuclear weapons must gain access to a nuclear deterrent itself o This can produce 2 policies:  Strong state do what they can: they can pursue a form of internal balancing by adopting the costly, but self-sufficient, policy of developing their own nuclear weapons  Weak states do what they must: they can join a balancing alliance w/ a nuclear power, utilizing a promise of nuclear retaliation by that ally as a means of extended deterrence o Explaining Nuclear Restraint  Nuclear restraint is caused by the absence of the fundamental military threats that produce positive proliferation decisions o Policy Implications of the Security Model  US Nonproliferation Policy can only slow down, not eliminate, the future spread of nuclear weapons • Will eventually be countered by 2 strong structural forces o The end of the Cold War creates a more uncertain multipolar world in which US nuclear guarantees will be considered less reliable o Each time one state develops nuclear weapons, it will increase the strategic incentives for neighbouring states to follow suit o Problems and Evidence  • The Domestic Politics Model: Nuclear Pork and Parochial Interests o Envisions nuclear weapons as pol tools used to advance parochial domestic and bureaucratic interests o Three kinds of actors commonly appear in historical case-studies of proliferation:  The state’s nuclear energy establishment  Important units w/I the professional military  Politicians in states in which ind parties or the mass public strongly favour nuclear weapons acquisition o Pol actors have parochial interests, but such interests have only a marginal influence on crucial nat’l security issues o Nuclear weapons programs are not obvious or inevitable solutions to int’l security problems; instead, they’re solutions looking for a problem to which to attach themselves to as to justify their existence o Security threats are not the central cause of weapons decisions according to this model: they are mere
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