November 22, 2016

Dinosaur, Dragon or Durable Defence: Deterrence in the 21st Century, A summary of perspectives on nuclear deterrence

The past 25 years have seen significant changes in security environments – nationally, regionally and globally – that impact on nuclear weapons policies and practices. These include, inter alia, the end of the Cold War (followed by periods of fluctuating relationships between the U.S. and Russia); the emergence of new nuclear weapons-possessing States (India, Pakistan and North Korea); the rise of international terrorism and the emerging capacity of non-State actors to acquire WMD; regime change by military force in States that had relinquished nuclear weapons and WMD programmes (Iraq and Libya); rising environmental threats to security including climate change; the adoption of a number of international measures including treaties on non-proliferation, disarmament and international crime; and a phenomenal increase in international cooperation across a range of areas, including in finance, trade, energy, health, information technology and communications.

These changes have influenced academic and policy analysis of the role – or roles – of nuclear weapons in the 21st Century. Opinions are diverse, but can be roughly categorized into dinosaur (outmoded), dragon (mythical, powerful and /or dangerous) or durable defence (suitable for core security and flexible to meet current security challenges).

There is a fourth perspective – perhaps more visionary and constructivist but no less valid – which encompasses all three and adds a problem-solving approach to examine the possibilities for moving beyond nuclear deterrence to achieve a nuclear weapons-free world.

Durable defence (Protective)

Classic deterrence theory is based on the assumption that an adversary will be compelled not to attack in response to threats of unacceptable damage in retaliation. T.V. Paul for example notes: “Deterrence is achieved if and when a potential attacker, fearing unacceptable punishment or denial of victory, decides to forgo a planned offensive.”1Paul, T.V. Complex Deterrence: Strategy in the Global Age. Edited by T.V. Paul, Patrick Morgan and James Wirtz. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009, p. 2.

Nuclear deterrence raises the level of threatened destruction to a much higher level than conventional deterrence and thus, according to the basic deterrence premise, provides a much greater deterrent value.

Many policy analysts, academics and decisionmakers accept the basic premise of deterrence without question, albeit with some consideration of legal constraints under the laws of warfare. Their inquiry is thus primarily focussed on how nuclear deterrence can work, rather than on whether it is an inherently flawed policy.

Paul notes, for example, that, “The classic conventional and nuclear deterrence theory is based on three core premises: (1) in order for deterrence to succeed, a deterrer should have sufficient capability, (2) its threat should be credible, and (3) it should be able to communicate the threat to its opponent.”2Ibid.

A number of policy analysts and academics argue that nuclear deterrence has changed since the end of the Cold War, but is still a vital component of security for a range of countries including the traditional nuclear weapon-States, their allies, new nuclear weapons-possessing States, and possibly even for additional States.

T.V. Paul argues that nuclear deterrence has a range of valid functions in five differing types of security relationships: among great powers, among new nuclear States, in regional alliances (extended nuclear deterrence), between nuclear States and non-State actors and amongst collective actors.3Ibid., pp. 1-27.

Among the great powers (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council), Paul argues that nuclear weapons play a role as “a hedge against the emergence of great-power conflict in the future”,4Ibid., p. 10. ensuring that peace will be maintained through nuclear deterrence if relations deteriorate. He also argues that nuclear deterrence plays a role in constraining current conflicts, like those between the U.S. and China over Taiwan and between Russia and NATO over ballistic missile defence: “Nuclear deterrence in this context has offered the major powers greater manoeuvrability. It has allowed the major power States to sustain their credentials as system managers and has prevented the emergence of active security dilemmas among them that can be caused by conventional arms races and technological breakthroughs.”5Ibid., pp. 10-11.

This analysis has been challenged by other writers such as Ward Wilson who notes that the historical evidence of crises between the nuclear powers indicates that nuclear weapons have often failed to be a constraining factor – and conversely have often stimulated the conflict. Wilson cites as examples the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Berlin crisis of 1948 and the failure of nuclear posturing to prevent China from entering the Korean War.6Wilson, Ward. Five Myths About Nuclear Weapons. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013, pp. 66-86

MccGwire argues that during the Cold War, nuclear deterrence dogma was not responsible for the prevention of war – but made it more likely.7MccGwire, Michael. “Nuclear Deterrence.”, International Affairs, 82, 4 (2006): 771–784, The Royal Institute of International Affairs, http://csis.org/files/media/csis/pubs/poni/nuclear_deterre nce_mccgwire.pdf With regard to war prevention, MccGwire argues that the costs of major war (between USSR and USA) were much greater than any benefits that could be gained (especially from the perspective of the Soviet Union) regardless of the threat of nuclear retaliation.8Ibid., p. 780-781.

Green supports MccGwire’s perspective that nuclear deterrence, is inherently flawed because it is based on provocative threats of massive destruction, and thus undercuts the political stability it is supposed to achieve.9Green, Robert, Security without nuclear deterrence, Astron Media, 2010, pp. 90-123.

“The arms race, threatening military deployments, confrontational rhetoric, and often reckless posturing that characterise its application are self-defeating, provoking precisely the response it is designed to prevent.”10Ibid., p. 122.

Blackaby et al. argued during the Cold War that nuclear weapons were not necessary for the defence of the UK, and put forward an alternative range of non-provocative defence options and strategies that they believed would enhance security and deter attack much better than nuclear deterrence.11“Defence without the bomb.” The Report of the Alternative Defence Commission. U.K.: Taylor and Francis, 1983.

With regard to Paul’s position on Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD), other analysts argue to the contrary that nuclear weapons are more likely to be fuelling the current tensions between Russia and U.S./NATO than constraining them. Butt and Postal argue: “[t]he renewed [US/Russia] relationship is at risk because of Russian concerns about the future capability of the planned missile defence system to erode Russia’s strategic nuclear deterrent,”12Butt, Yousaf and Theodore Postol. “Upsetting the Reset: The Technical Basis of Russian Concern Over NATO Missile Defense.” Federation of American Scientists. Washington, 2011, p. 5. http://www.fas.org/pubs/_docs/2011%20Missile%20Defen se%20Report.pdf.

They further assert: “Russia and China might increase their arsenals, end future arms reductions talks with the United States, and decrease their assistance with worldwide counterproliferation efforts.”13Ibid., p. 46.

It is the combination of ballistic missile capability along with U.S. nuclear first-strike capability that, from the Russian perspective, gives BMD an offensive capacity and undermines Russian nuclear deterrence. Without the nuclear weapons dimension, BMD could more readily be perceived by Russia as a defensive system that does not threaten their security.

Among new nuclear States, Paul focuses primarily on India/Pakistan, arguing that “The non-escalation of crises in South Asia in the nuclear era attests to the effectiveness of deterrence.”

On the other hand, he concedes that, “The Kargil conflict provides ambiguous evidence for and against deterrence theory… a nuclear State, Pakistan, initiated a limited war against another nuclear rival, India, expecting no major retaliation from the larger neighbor. India did not escalate the war, but it did wage an intense localized battle that challenged deterrence axioms.”14Ibid., p. 12

Relating to the ambiguity of evidence for or against nuclear deterrence in India/Pakistan, Kapur, although favouring nuclear expansion, must concede that the introduction of nuclear weapons into the security environment in South Asia has not necessarily constrained India and Pakistan in the management of their conflicts. His theoretical analysis displays that nuclear weapons can create strong incentives for rational States to adopt aggressive, extremely risky strategies, and have, in Pakistan’s case, created a shield for military adventurism, bringing with it the risk of Indian overreaction.15Ganguly, Sumit and Paul S. Kapur. India, Pakistan and the Bomb: Debating Nuclear Stability in South Asia. New Delhi: Penguin Books, 2010.

With regard to North-East Asia, there is considerable analysis on the role of extended nuclear deterrence in the security of Japan and South Korea (see below), but very little analysis on the role of nuclear deterrence in the security of North Korea. This is somewhat surprising as North Korea’s official announcement on leaving the Nuclear NonProliferation Treaty to develop a nuclear weapons program exhibited classic nuclear deterrence rationale.16“It is a serious lesson the world has drawn from the Iraqi war that a war can be averted and the sovereignty of the country and the security of the nation can be protected only when a country has a physical deterrent force, a strong military deterrent force capable of decisively repelling any attack to be made by any types of sophisticated weapons. The reality indicates that building up a physical deterrent force is urgently required for preventing the outbreak of a nuclear war on the Korean peninsula and ensuring peace and security of the world.” Press Statement by the DPRK, May 15, 2003.

With regard to the Middle East, analysis of the value of nuclear deterrence to Israel is somewhat skewed by the Israeli policy of opacity – neither confirming nor denying possession. On the other hand, nuclear deterrence to protect the existence of Israel as a State is insinuated in official statements on the need to achieve peace in the region, including recognition by all neighbours of Israel, before Israel could join a process for a Middle East NWFZ. However, the degree to which this policy provides a genuine deterrent is debated. Some analysts argue that Israel’s nuclear deterrence prevented a chemical weapons attack by Iraq in the first Gulf War. Others argue that the fact that Israel has been attacked by Egypt and Syria (1973) and Iraq (Scud missile attacks in 1991), despite Israel’s nuclear arsenal, indicate that it is not an effective deterrent.17Wilson, 2013, pp. 82-83.

Analysis on the potential of nuclear deterrence to enhance the security of Iran (and regional security in the Middle East) is also mixed. Waltz argues that acquisition of nuclear weapons by Iran could enhance regional security by providing a balance to the nuclear weapons of Israel – and thus strengthening mutual deterrence against aggression.18Waltz, Kenneth, N. “Why Iran Should Get the Bomb: Nuclear Balancing Would Mean Stability.” Foreign Affairs, July/August, 2012. http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/137731/kenneth-nwaltz/why-iran-should-get-the-bomb. However, public pronouncements by both the United States and Israel on the likelihood of military action against Iran if it moves towards possession appear to contradict Waltz’s opinion that stability would be achieved by an Iranian bomb.

With regard to regional alliances, the principle ones relying on extended nuclear deterrence are NATO, U.S.-Japan and U.S.-Korea, with nuclear deterrence featuring to a lesser degree in the U.S.-Australia alliance and the Tashkent Collective Security Treaty between Russia and Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

Shetty, Kearns and Lunn argue that a number of countries, particularly the Baltic States, continue to see a security value in United States extended nuclear deterrence and in the deployment of nuclear weapons in some NATO countries in order to deter any potential attack or intimidation from Russia.19Shetty, Shata and Ian Kearns and Simon Lunn. “The Baltic States, NATO and Non-Strategic Weapons in Europe.”, Royal United Services Institute for Defense and Security Studies, United Kingdom, 2012. http://www.europeanleadershipnetwork.org/the-balticstates-nato-and-non-strategic-nuclear-weapons-in-europe-anew-analysis-by-shatabhisha-shetty-ian-kearns-andsimon_446.html.

The affirmation by NATO in its Chicago Summit that “As long as nuclear weapons exist, NATO will be a nuclear alliance”20NATO. “Strategic Concept for the Defence and Security of the Members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization”, Adopted by Heads of State and Government at the NATO Summit in Lisbon, 19-20 November 2010. http://www.nato.int/strategicconcept/pdf/Strat_Concept_web_en.pdf infers that the value NATO states place on nuclear deterrence extends beyond deterrence of military attacks or intimidation from Russia.

On the other hand, Snyder et al. argue that the majority of NATO States now see the forward deployment of U.S. nuclear weapons in Europe as more detrimental and a greater security risk than benefit, and would support their removal.21TNW and van der Zeijden, Snyder, Susi and Ekker, Peter Paul. “Exit Strategies: The case for redefining NATO consensus on U.S..”, IKV Pax Christi, Netherlands, April 2012. http://www.ikvpaxchristi.nl/media/files/exit-strategies- 201204_0.pdf.

Allison et al. go further to argue that extended nuclear deterrence is no longer necessary for the security of NATO States or for the other regional security alliances. They argue that the key security issues in the 21st Century are non-military threats which require international collaborative and nonmilitary responses, that military threats can be better met by non-nuclear means, regional security can be better met by security mechanisms and mutually-beneficial economic and trade relationships rather than nuclear deterrence, and that the prohibition of nuclear weapons in regions assists in regional security and confidence-building.22Allison, Lyn MP and Hon Marian Hobbs MP, Senator Tadashi Inuzuka, Mikyung Lee MP, Mogens Lykketoft MP, Dirk van der Maelen MP, Alexa McDonough MP, Federica Mogherini MP, Holger K Nielsen MP, Uta Zapf MdB. “Implementing the vision for a nuclear-weapon-free world: Time to close the nuclear umbrella.” PNND: New York, 2009. The authors are parliamentarians or former parliamentarians from countries allied to the U.S. and which either accept, or previously accepted, extended nuclear deterrence. http://www.pnnd.org/pubs/10_12_09_Implementing.pdf

Dragon – powerful (and dangerous?)

A number of academics and policy analysts focus on aspects of the power of nuclear weapons, including the military power, destructive power, political power and coercive/persuasive power.

Such analyses vary in whether they perceive such power as either a positive or negative force depending on the desired outcomes. What for one analyst might be deemed a positive impact of nuclear weapons (from the perspective of the nuclear weapon-State using them in a coercive way, for example), could conversely be seen in a negative way from the State being coerced.

Some analysts argue that States may be attracted to acquiring or retaining nuclear weapons capability due to the perceived political power or status that can be attained. O’Neill, for example, argues that India acquired nuclear weapons primarily for prestige purposes rather than military security reasons: “Prestige is not the only motive for these weapons, of course, and in some cases of proliferation it may be absent, but it led India to acquire them even though the net consequence seems to have been a decrease in security.”23O’Neill, Barry. Nuclear Weapons and the Pursuit of Prestige. Department of Political Science, University of California, Los Angeles, May 2002, p. 3. http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/polisci/faculty/boneill/prestap5 .pdf .

Shankar et al., claim that prestige is a primary factor behind the reluctance of nuclear weapon States – particularly U.K. and France – to seriously consider abandoning nuclear deterrence despite other benefits (political, economic and military) of doing so.24“Report of the Informal Group on Rajiv Gandhi Action Plan 88.” New Delhi, 20 August 2011, p. 54. http://www.pugwashindia.org/images/uploads/Report.pdf.

Evans, Kawaguchi et al. argue that the status value of nuclear weapons is probably over-stated, and that, in any case, “[a]s the delegitimation of nuclear weapons proceeds, and the retention of nuclear weapons becomes more and more clearly unacceptable to the rest of the world, and manifestly unnecessary from a security standpoint, then status considerations alone are not likely to prove sufficient to block movement toward minimization and ultimate elimination.”25Evans, Gareth and Kawaguchi, Yoriko (Co-Chairs) “Eliminating Nuclear Threats: A Practical Agenda for Global Policymakers.” Report of the International Commission on Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament. Canberra, 2009, p. 105. http://icnnd.org/Reference/reports/ent/default.htm.

Some analysts argue that the alternative path of rejecting nuclear deterrence can confer prestige which is equally valuable and much less risky than the prestige acquired through nuclear weapons. Walters, for example, writes that Kazakhstan’s decision to abandon nuclear weapons (over 1500 of which were in their territory at the time of independence), has enhanced Kazakhstan’s international status and assisted in their economic growth and political leadership positions in the region and globally.26Walters, Alex. “Nuclear Disarmament Opened Way for Kazakhstan’s Peaceful Growth.” Kazakhstan Edge. http://www.edgekz.com/national/nuclear-disarmamentopened-way-for-kazakhstans-peaceful-growth-presidentsays.htm

The principle focus of analysts, however, is the destructive power of nuclear weapons and the relationship between this and military power.

Nuclear deterrence is premised on the notion that the threat of massive retaliation provided by the uniquely destructive qualities of nuclear weapons, will compel a potential aggressor to refrain from attacking – whether with conventional weapons or nuclear weapons or other indiscriminate or massively destructive weapons. According to this thinking, the nuclear bomb – as the most powerful weapon – provides the ultimate deterrent power.

Wilson argues that the policy is based on a false presumption that the threat of mass destruction will deter an aggressor or compel an adversary to surrender. He contends that massive destruction and indiscriminate targeting in wartime – such as the strategic bombing of cities in World War II, or Napoleon’s use of mass destruction in the 1814 war against Russia – failed to ‘shock and awe the opponents. On the contrary, such campaigns serve to strengthen the resolve of the opponent. Wilson argues that, “Winning and losing wars depends on whether your adversary’s military is defeated, not how much damage is done to its civilians and their houses, businesses and country.”27Wilson, 2013 p. 64.

Evans, Kawaguchi et al. argue that it may be impossible to prove either way whether nuclear weapons have played – or can continue to play – a decisive role in deterring aggression or armed conflict either between the principal nuclear weaponStates or in regional contexts. However, they argue that even if it is possible to conclude such a role, the risks created by the weapons themselves, i.e. the risks of proliferation and nuclear weapons use, are far greater than the risks associated with their elimination.

Risk analysis features prominently in analysis of nuclear deterrence – with proponents arguing that the risks of nuclear deterrence ‘failure’ leading to nuclear weapons use are very low, while the benefits of deterrence in preventing aggression or war are very high.

Critics of this risk analysis argue that the risks of use of nuclear weapons is probably higher than generally assumed, and support this perspective with both empirical arguments (the number of times nuclear weapons use has been narrowly averted) and theory. From the theoretical side, the need for nuclear threats to be believable (credible) in order to give nuclear weapons a deterrent value, can push adversaries close to the nuclear brink in a conflict, increasing the risks in such a conflict. The Cuban Missile Crisis is an example of this in practice.

The interplay of rationality and irrationality in nuclear deterrence is also an area of exploration. Simply put, under nuclear deterrence theory it is rational to threaten a nuclear attack against an adversary in order to deter them, but it would be irrational to carry out such an attack if nuclear deterrence fails, as such retaliation would impose incredible costs on the retaliating State as well as the State attacked with nuclear weapons.

If rationality holds on each side, i.e. if each side takes decisions that ensure the best possible outcome for their side, then nuclear deterrence works. However, Berekein argues that national decisions and inter-State behaviour often do not conform to rationality. Decision-makers often make decisions that are not the most likely to produce optimal outcomes, due to insufficient knowledge or understanding of the full conditions, or due to social, political or psychological influences. Berekein offers a more comprehensive understanding of decision-making through Prospect Theory.28Berejikan, Jeffrey D. “A Cognitive Theory of Deterrence.” Journal of Peace Research, 39, 2, (2002), pp. 165-183.

Lebow and Stein support Berekein, and add additional considerations influencing decision-making that transcend a rational deterrence model. These include misperception and miscalculation arising from inadequate information and faulty evaluation.29Nebow, Richard, Led and Janice Gross Stein. “Rational Deterrence Theory: I think therefore I deter.” World Politics (1989) 41/2, Publisher: JSTOR, pp. 208-224.

These critiques of rationality in nuclear decisionmaking indicate a high risk of nuclear deterrence failing even in a bi-polar world. A multi-polar world with a number of nuclear weapons players, increases the risks considerably.

With regard to the role of nuclear weapons to deter the use of nuclear weapons by an adversary, Evans, Kawaguchi et al. argue that, “Even if retaining nuclear weapons does continue to have some deterrent utility against others minded to use such weapons, this does not in itself make any case against abolition, because the argument for retention is circular. If the only military utility that remains for nuclear weapons is deterring their use by others, that utility implies the continued existence of nuclear weapons and would disappear if nuclear weapons were eliminated.”30Evans, Kawaguchi et al, 2009, p.63.

Harrington argues that nuclear weapons derive their political power not through destructive force or military value or prestige conferred by them, but through the human-attributed value focused on scarcity, durability and fear. They are scarce because only a few countries own them. They are durable – in that they are produced and stored/deployed but not used. As such, the political and psychological framework confers a currency of power onto the weapons – without which they would be absurd instruments of destruction.31Harrington, Anne. “The Currency of Power.”, A Proposal prepared for Cornell University Press. August 1, 2012. http://icnnd.org/Reference/reports/ent/default.htm.

Wilson argues that nuclear weapons have attained a currency of power due to the non-rational qualities ascribed to the weapons and to nuclear deterrence. He notes that terms such as ‘ultimate weapon’ and ‘you can’t put the genie back in the bottle’ have contributed to giving nuclear weapons a magical quality: “Nuclear weapons are extraordinary, it is claimed; they have power that goes far beyond conventional weapons. Bring your nuclear weapon out. Wave it around and everyone will do what you wish.”32Wilson 2013, p. 107.

Wilson argues that nuclear weapons are not a genie, being neither benevolent nor magic. They are perhaps more like a dangerous fire breathing dragon that could destroy not only the village but the world.

The catastrophic humanitarian and environmental consequences of the use of nuclear weapons, according to a number of analysts, renders such use illegal under international humanitarian law. Thus, deterrence would constitute the threat of an illegal action, and would thus be illegal as well. Some analysts frame their consideration of the illegality of nuclear deterrence on the 1996 decision of the International Court of Justice, which declared that the threat or use of nuclear weapons is generally illegal.33Ginger, Ann Fagan. “Nuclear Weapons Are Illegal: The Historic Opinion of the World Court and How It Will Be Enforced.” New York: The Apex Press, 1998; Grief, Nicholas. “Nuclear weapons: the legal status of use, threat and possession.” Nuclear Abolition Forum, October 2011. http://www.worldfuturecouncil.org/fileadmin/user_upload/ Rob/P_D_website2012/Nuclear_Abolition_Forum_Inaugur al_Issue_-_March_2012.pdf Others go further evaluating legal developments since the 1996 decision to reinforce the norm of illegality of nuclear deterrence and thus the legal imperative to abandon this doctrine.34Weiss, Peter. “How Many Points of the Law is Possession?” Nuclear Abolition Forum, October 2011; and the “Vancouver Declaration: Law’s Imperative for the Urgent Achievement of a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World.” February 11, 2011, reprinted in Nuclear Abolition Forum, October 2011. http://www.worldfuturecouncil.org/fileadmin/user_upload/ Rob/P_D_website2012/Nuclear_Abolition_Forum_Inaugur al_Issue_-_March_2012.pdf.

Dinosaur – outmoded?

A number of policy analysts and academics argue that nuclear deterrence was a determinant for peace between the major powers during the Cold War, but is irrelevant to the security relationships between them in the 21st Century, and also to the wider security issues of other nuclear possessingStates or those under extended nuclear deterrence.

Doyle, for example, reports that, “[a] growing number of strategists and technical and political elites regard nuclear weapons and deterrence theory as anachronistic. Some view the whole idea of nuclear weapons as out of step with today’s global threats, understanding of power and notions of human rights and the rule of law. Emerging structural changes in the international system (such as globalisation) undercut traditional theories of nuclear deterrence, while trends in information technology make possible much more agile and discriminate forms of military power.”35Doyle, James, E. “Why Eliminate Nuclear Weapons?”Survival: Global Politics and Strategy, 2003, 55/1, pp. 7-34.

Primakov, Ivanov, Velikhov and Moiseev, argue that, “[n]uclear deterrence is paradoxical since it mostly refers to the threats of the last century, while a possibility of a massive armed conflict between the superpowers and their allies under present-day conditions of globalization and multi-polarity is close to zero. Moreover, nuclear deterrence is forceless against the threats of the 21st century such as weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and its carriers’ proliferation, international terrorism, ethnic and religious conflicts, cross-border criminality, etc.”36Primakov, Yevgeny and Igor Ivanov, Yevgeny Velikhov, Mikhail Moiseev. “Moving from Nuclear Deterrence to Mutual Security.” Izvestia Daily, October 14, 2010. https://www.abolitionforum.org/site/moving-from-nucleardeterrence-to-mutual-security/ 

Kissinger, Schultz, Nunn and Perry advance the view that nuclear deterrence was vital to security during the Cold War but “the end of the Cold War made the doctrine of mutual Soviet-American deterrence obsolete.” They did not go so far as to say that nuclear weapons have no deterrent value in the 21st Century. Rather, “Deterrence continues to be a relevant consideration for many states with regard to threats from other states. But reliance on nuclear weapons for this purpose is becoming increasingly hazardous and decreasingly effective.”37 Schultz, George and William Perry, Henry Kissinger, Sam Nunn.“A World Free of Nuclear Weapons.” Wall Street Journal, January 4, 2007. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB116787515251566636.html.

MccGuire is even more critical of nuclear deterrence as an out-moded concept, noting that the doctrine was developed as a flawed concept framed in terms of past conflicts and political realities.38MccGuire 2006, p.783.

Green and MccGuire concur that the transition of power from control over territories to the control of markets (financial and trade) has eroded the purpose of nuclear weapons (which are less able to defend markets than territory) and shifted the necessary security framework to being primarily one of cooperative security.39Green 2010, p.96 and 221-222. MccGuire 2006 p.782.

Ware argues that regional and global methods and mechanisms – both legal and political – have developed to a level that the use of them is now generally capable of dealing with core security threats – including threats arising from nuclear weapons – without recourse to nuclear deterrence, thus rendering nuclear deterrence no longer necessary, if it ever was.40Ware, Alyn. “Rule of Force or Rule of Law, Legal Responses to Nuclear Threats from Terrorism, Proliferation, and War.” Seattle Journal for Social Justice, 2/1, Fall/Winter 2003. See especially Table II: EXAMPLES OF METHODS TO VERIFY COMPLIANCE OF DISARMAMENT AND NONPROLIFERATION OBLIGATIONS, and Table III: EXAMPLES OF MECHANISMS TO VERIFY COMPLIANCE OF DISARMAMENT AND NONPROLIFERATION OBLIGATIONS. www.law.seattleu.edu/documents/sjsj/2003fall/Ware.pdf.

Enacting the vision – from deterrence to a nuclear weapons-free world

Some analysts synthesise arguments from the previous three categories into a constructivist approach to address the question of how to move beyond nuclear deterrence to achieve a nuclear weapons-free world.

Finaud, for example, argues that, “The approach to nuclear disarmament followed to date has only yielded limited success because it has been conceived in isolation of global and regional security environments and threat perceptions. A new paradigm should thus be sought in order to reconcile nuclear powers’ security doctrines with the global aspirations for a safer world, and ensure that nuclear powers derive their security less from others’ insecurity but from mutually beneficial cooperative security.”41Finaud, Marc. “Cooperative Security: A New Paradigm for a World Without Nuclear Weapons?” Briefing Paper for The Berlin Framework Forum: Creating the Conditions and Building the Framework for a Nuclear-Weapon Free World. Berlin, Germany, February 21-22, 2013.http://middlepowers.org/events/Berlin_FF/PRESEN TATIONS/FINAUD_COOPERATIVE%20SECURITY% 288%20p%29.pdf.

Finaud identifies a number of practical measures to increase the reliance on cooperative security, lower the reliance on military security and eliminate reliance on nuclear weapons for security.42Ibid.

Evans, Kawaguchi et al. conclude that there is no military necessity for nuclear deterrence, but that there are strong political drivers maintaining nuclear weapons. They thus put forward a number of approaches to address these key drivers, including proposals of technical, political and legal measures.43Evans, Kawaguchi et al. See in particular Part III Section 6: “Disarmament: Making Zero Thinkable”; and Section 7: “Disarmament: A Two-Phase Strategy for Getting to Zero”. http://middlepowers.org/events/Berlin_FF/Berlin_Brief.pdf

Burroughs argues that, “A favorable global environment now exists for undertaking comprehensive work leading to a global regime of zero nuclear weapons: relatively cooperative, and increasingly inclusive, relations among key states, and rising global consciousness of the complete unacceptability of nuclear weapons.”44Burroughs, John, “Creating the Conditions and Building the Framework for a Nuclear Weapons-Free World.” Briefing Paper for The Berlin Framework Forum: Creating the Conditions and Building the Framework for a Nuclear-Weapon Free World. Berlin, Germany, February 21-22, 2013.

He continues to identify practical measures and processes that could be undertaken in order to build the framework for a nuclear weapons-free world, such a framework addressing legitimate security concerns in order to enable the relinquishment of nuclear deterrence and the attainment of comprehensive nuclear disarmament.45Ibid.

Conclusion

The academic and policy debate on nuclear deterrence is robust and varied. There has been a considerable shift in emphasis in the past few years, with a greater emphasis of analysts on the new security environment/s in a globalized world. In this increasingly interconnected world, the risks of nuclear weapons proliferation and use are possibly increased. On the other hand, it also provides greater opportunities and possibilities to achieve nuclear abolition in a more cooperative security framework. This coincides and reinforces the increased political attention to the imperative and possibility to achieve a nuclear weapons-free world.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

  • ALYN WARE is a policy analyst and nuclear abolition advocate from Aotearoa-New Zealand. He is the founder of the Nuclear Abolition Forum, Global Co-ordinator of Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (PNND), a member of the World Future Council, a consultant for the International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms and a 2009 winner of the Right Livelihood Award.
  • TERESA BERGMAN is a Policy Officer at the Basel Peace Office, working as a researcher and editor for the Nuclear Abolition Forum since January 2013. She holds a joint Master of Arts degree in “Global Studies” from the University of Leipzig (Germany) and University of Wroclaw (Poland). Previously she held the position of Project Officer for NGO “Human Rights in Education” in her hometown of Wellington New Zealand.

References   [ + ]

1. Paul, T.V. Complex Deterrence: Strategy in the Global Age. Edited by T.V. Paul, Patrick Morgan and James Wirtz. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009, p. 2.
2, 42, 45. Ibid.
3. Ibid., pp. 1-27.
4. Ibid., p. 10.
5. Ibid., pp. 10-11.
6. Wilson, Ward. Five Myths About Nuclear Weapons. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013, pp. 66-86
7. MccGwire, Michael. “Nuclear Deterrence.”, International Affairs, 82, 4 (2006): 771–784, The Royal Institute of International Affairs, http://csis.org/files/media/csis/pubs/poni/nuclear_deterre nce_mccgwire.pdf
8. Ibid., p. 780-781.
9. Green, Robert, Security without nuclear deterrence, Astron Media, 2010, pp. 90-123.
10. Ibid., p. 122.
11. “Defence without the bomb.” The Report of the Alternative Defence Commission. U.K.: Taylor and Francis, 1983.
12. Butt, Yousaf and Theodore Postol. “Upsetting the Reset: The Technical Basis of Russian Concern Over NATO Missile Defense.” Federation of American Scientists. Washington, 2011, p. 5. http://www.fas.org/pubs/_docs/2011%20Missile%20Defen se%20Report.pdf.
13. Ibid., p. 46.
14. Ibid., p. 12
15. Ganguly, Sumit and Paul S. Kapur. India, Pakistan and the Bomb: Debating Nuclear Stability in South Asia. New Delhi: Penguin Books, 2010.
16. “It is a serious lesson the world has drawn from the Iraqi war that a war can be averted and the sovereignty of the country and the security of the nation can be protected only when a country has a physical deterrent force, a strong military deterrent force capable of decisively repelling any attack to be made by any types of sophisticated weapons. The reality indicates that building up a physical deterrent force is urgently required for preventing the outbreak of a nuclear war on the Korean peninsula and ensuring peace and security of the world.” Press Statement by the DPRK, May 15, 2003.
17. Wilson, 2013, pp. 82-83.
18. Waltz, Kenneth, N. “Why Iran Should Get the Bomb: Nuclear Balancing Would Mean Stability.” Foreign Affairs, July/August, 2012. http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/137731/kenneth-nwaltz/why-iran-should-get-the-bomb.
19. Shetty, Shata and Ian Kearns and Simon Lunn. “The Baltic States, NATO and Non-Strategic Weapons in Europe.”, Royal United Services Institute for Defense and Security Studies, United Kingdom, 2012. http://www.europeanleadershipnetwork.org/the-balticstates-nato-and-non-strategic-nuclear-weapons-in-europe-anew-analysis-by-shatabhisha-shetty-ian-kearns-andsimon_446.html.
20. NATO. “Strategic Concept for the Defence and Security of the Members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization”, Adopted by Heads of State and Government at the NATO Summit in Lisbon, 19-20 November 2010. http://www.nato.int/strategicconcept/pdf/Strat_Concept_web_en.pdf
21. TNW and van der Zeijden, Snyder, Susi and Ekker, Peter Paul. “Exit Strategies: The case for redefining NATO consensus on U.S..”, IKV Pax Christi, Netherlands, April 2012. http://www.ikvpaxchristi.nl/media/files/exit-strategies- 201204_0.pdf.
22. Allison, Lyn MP and Hon Marian Hobbs MP, Senator Tadashi Inuzuka, Mikyung Lee MP, Mogens Lykketoft MP, Dirk van der Maelen MP, Alexa McDonough MP, Federica Mogherini MP, Holger K Nielsen MP, Uta Zapf MdB. “Implementing the vision for a nuclear-weapon-free world: Time to close the nuclear umbrella.” PNND: New York, 2009. The authors are parliamentarians or former parliamentarians from countries allied to the U.S. and which either accept, or previously accepted, extended nuclear deterrence. http://www.pnnd.org/pubs/10_12_09_Implementing.pdf
23. O’Neill, Barry. Nuclear Weapons and the Pursuit of Prestige. Department of Political Science, University of California, Los Angeles, May 2002, p. 3. http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/polisci/faculty/boneill/prestap5 .pdf .
24. “Report of the Informal Group on Rajiv Gandhi Action Plan 88.” New Delhi, 20 August 2011, p. 54. http://www.pugwashindia.org/images/uploads/Report.pdf.
25. Evans, Gareth and Kawaguchi, Yoriko (Co-Chairs) “Eliminating Nuclear Threats: A Practical Agenda for Global Policymakers.” Report of the International Commission on Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament. Canberra, 2009, p. 105. http://icnnd.org/Reference/reports/ent/default.htm.
26. Walters, Alex. “Nuclear Disarmament Opened Way for Kazakhstan’s Peaceful Growth.” Kazakhstan Edge. http://www.edgekz.com/national/nuclear-disarmamentopened-way-for-kazakhstans-peaceful-growth-presidentsays.htm
27. Wilson, 2013 p. 64.
28. Berejikan, Jeffrey D. “A Cognitive Theory of Deterrence.” Journal of Peace Research, 39, 2, (2002), pp. 165-183.
29. Nebow, Richard, Led and Janice Gross Stein. “Rational Deterrence Theory: I think therefore I deter.” World Politics (1989) 41/2, Publisher: JSTOR, pp. 208-224.
30. Evans, Kawaguchi et al, 2009, p.63.
31. Harrington, Anne. “The Currency of Power.”, A Proposal prepared for Cornell University Press. August 1, 2012. http://icnnd.org/Reference/reports/ent/default.htm.
32. Wilson 2013, p. 107.
33. Ginger, Ann Fagan. “Nuclear Weapons Are Illegal: The Historic Opinion of the World Court and How It Will Be Enforced.” New York: The Apex Press, 1998; Grief, Nicholas. “Nuclear weapons: the legal status of use, threat and possession.” Nuclear Abolition Forum, October 2011. http://www.worldfuturecouncil.org/fileadmin/user_upload/ Rob/P_D_website2012/Nuclear_Abolition_Forum_Inaugur al_Issue_-_March_2012.pdf
34. Weiss, Peter. “How Many Points of the Law is Possession?” Nuclear Abolition Forum, October 2011; and the “Vancouver Declaration: Law’s Imperative for the Urgent Achievement of a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World.” February 11, 2011, reprinted in Nuclear Abolition Forum, October 2011. http://www.worldfuturecouncil.org/fileadmin/user_upload/ Rob/P_D_website2012/Nuclear_Abolition_Forum_Inaugur al_Issue_-_March_2012.pdf.
35. Doyle, James, E. “Why Eliminate Nuclear Weapons?”Survival: Global Politics and Strategy, 2003, 55/1, pp. 7-34.
36. Primakov, Yevgeny and Igor Ivanov, Yevgeny Velikhov, Mikhail Moiseev. “Moving from Nuclear Deterrence to Mutual Security.” Izvestia Daily, October 14, 2010. https://www.abolitionforum.org/site/moving-from-nucleardeterrence-to-mutual-security/
37. Schultz, George and William Perry, Henry Kissinger, Sam Nunn.“A World Free of Nuclear Weapons.” Wall Street Journal, January 4, 2007. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB116787515251566636.html.
38. MccGuire 2006, p.783.
39. Green 2010, p.96 and 221-222. MccGuire 2006 p.782.
40. Ware, Alyn. “Rule of Force or Rule of Law, Legal Responses to Nuclear Threats from Terrorism, Proliferation, and War.” Seattle Journal for Social Justice, 2/1, Fall/Winter 2003. See especially Table II: EXAMPLES OF METHODS TO VERIFY COMPLIANCE OF DISARMAMENT AND NONPROLIFERATION OBLIGATIONS, and Table III: EXAMPLES OF MECHANISMS TO VERIFY COMPLIANCE OF DISARMAMENT AND NONPROLIFERATION OBLIGATIONS. www.law.seattleu.edu/documents/sjsj/2003fall/Ware.pdf.
41. Finaud, Marc. “Cooperative Security: A New Paradigm for a World Without Nuclear Weapons?” Briefing Paper for The Berlin Framework Forum: Creating the Conditions and Building the Framework for a Nuclear-Weapon Free World. Berlin, Germany, February 21-22, 2013.http://middlepowers.org/events/Berlin_FF/PRESEN TATIONS/FINAUD_COOPERATIVE%20SECURITY% 288%20p%29.pdf.
43. Evans, Kawaguchi et al. See in particular Part III Section 6: “Disarmament: Making Zero Thinkable”; and Section 7: “Disarmament: A Two-Phase Strategy for Getting to Zero”. http://middlepowers.org/events/Berlin_FF/Berlin_Brief.pdf
44. Burroughs, John, “Creating the Conditions and Building the Framework for a Nuclear Weapons-Free World.” Briefing Paper for The Berlin Framework Forum: Creating the Conditions and Building the Framework for a Nuclear-Weapon Free World. Berlin, Germany, February 21-22, 2013.
Rob van Riet

About Rob van Riet

Rob van Riet is Coordinator of the Disarmament Programme at the World Future Council. In addition, he has been U.K. Coordinator of Parliamentarians for Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament (PNND) since 2011 and has served as the Director of the Nuclear Abolition Forum since its founding in 2011. He was a co-author of the InterParliamentary Union/PNND Parliamentary Handbook Supporting Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament, released during the 127th Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly in Quebec City, Canada, in October 2012.

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