The Utility of Deterrence as a Central Nuclear Security Strategy

6048 Words24 Pages
Understanding what role exists for nuclear weapons in the post-Cold War world requires an appreciation for the strategic concepts that defined Cold War nuclear strategy, as well as the applicability of those concepts to the contemporary world. Cold War nuclear strategy was almost entirely concerned with the bilateral relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union, and thus the central strategic concept to arise from this period was the notion of deterrence. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the ongoing proliferation of nuclear weapons, the utility of deterrence as a central nuclear security strategy is in question, even as the threat posed by the mere existence of nuclear weapons increases. By 1997, at least ten countries had missiles capable of delivering nuclear payloads over 500 kilometers, and nearly every country without intercontinental capability is working on it (Stanley & Payne 1997, p. 133). Furthermore, some countries with nuclear capabilities, such as Pakistan, are seeing a serious threat to internal security, increasing the likelihood that nuclear weapons will find their way into the hands of transnational terrorist organizations and other actors far less susceptible to strategies of deterrence. By examining both the state of nuclear security during the Cold War and the concept of deterrence in general in the context of contemporary security issues, it becomes clear that there is no secure place for nuclear weapons in the post-Cold
Open Document