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A Matter of Survival
  1. Βιογραφία συγγραφέα: Freedman Lawrence
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It is difficult to devise a strategy based on nuclear threats that could ensure an outcome that does not conclude in widespread destruction. States are unlikely to pick the former option, and it may only be a matter of time before the latter is implemented. Although some may argue nuclear defence could prevent this, it may induce the opposite, as one reason the US refused to wage nuclear war was that it simply would not be in their interests given their lack of defence. Despite such a heavy focus on the military uses of nuclear weapons, they also offer a possessor greater status on the world stage via non-military use.

Their possession is often cited as a requirement for great power status, with all five permanent members of the Security Council being nuclear armed. Lawrence Freedman suggests that there is often too much attention devoted to the military when dealing with strategy, and that there are other means by which states can achieve policy objectives; military strength can be manipulated into diplomatic force. However, it has been suggested that this role for nuclear weapons is over-elaborate as a means to achieve policy ends. Nuclear weapons, despite being by no means a form of new technology, are still expensive, especially if a formidable arsenal is to be maintained.

It may be more beneficial for a state to simply pursue economic aims, and possession of nuclear weapons offers little to a major state than becoming hugely influential in the economical arena.

Βιογραφία συγγραφέα: Freedman Lawrence

Thus even the diplomatic, non-military role of nuclear weapons in strategy may be largely irrelevant in the face of other routes to state success. One problem that often arises in literature when dealing with the use of nuclear weapons is that research tends to be linear, focusing on the capabilities of modern, powerful states. While this claim materialised into being false, Saddam may have gained strategic benefit from adversaries simply suspecting he possessed weapons of mass destruction WMDs , and so provided a defensive advantage amid growing tensions with Iran as they may have been reluctant to invade a country suspected of possessing such powerful weapons.

Furthermore, he may have been able to secure his position as the threat of WMDs against internal uprisings would ensure they did not gather much support due to the psychological terror they provide. Whilst this may be more applicable to chemical and biological weapons rather than nuclear, the premise remains the same and so does provide a degree of strategic advantage.

Furthermore, rogue states may adopt a strategy of minimal deterrence MD. This strategy holds the belief that the possession of hundreds or thousands of nuclear warheads is largely unnecessary, such as the stockpiles of the US and Russia.

Instead of an Armageddon-like result of nuclear war, an actor may hold the ability to inflict limited, but still very serious, damage to a potential aggressor. A final notion of strategy relating to nuclear weapons is that it may offer a nation freedom of action and choice in the face of pressure from larger power. This is because a nuclear-armed state would not have to rely on others for their security, especially if potential aggressors believed they had the credibility to follow through with threats.

This nuclear strategy may render the balance of power irrelevant in the international system, as nations are no longer required to form alliances against actors more powerful than themselves. This may still hold true in an economic sense, such as Europe uniting in the face of American and Asian competition, but perhaps not so much for the military. Thus, nuclear strategy may profoundly shape relations between states, and it would be somewhat invalid to claim that nuclear-strategy is a contradiction in terms for all states, as it certainly gifts a strategic benefit to some actors.

It would not be feasible to respond against a state with nuclear force where the terrorists are believed to reside, as this would be viewed both domestically and internationally as an overly aggressive approach and thus highly opposed. Even the threat of nuclear force may be sufficient to achieve such aims. Thus, even while this may be unlikely, it would be unwise to dismiss such thought, and terrorists may well implement such nuclear strategy. Overall, it would not be valid to claim definitively either way that nuclear strategy is, or is not, a contradiction in terms, as this relies heavily on context.

For the majority of states, offensive nuclear strategy is simply not feasible, and it is highly unlikely that even rogue states would implement a first-strike strategy due to fear of, perhaps massive, retaliation. They still have a role in terms of defensive strategy however, and may have resulted in the most peaceful inter-state relations in history. Furthermore, for non-state actors such as terrorist organisations, nuclear strategy may well be a means to their aims, which, although not falling within conventional political thought, cannot be dismissed.

As such, nuclear weapons still heavily influence behaviour, and while some strategies are more regressive than others with a degree of uncertainty somewhat undermining them all, nuclear weapons provide a means to achieve policy objectives, even at the most basic level of state survival, and thus can be said to be either a strategy within itself, or at least an issue that strongly affects strategic decisions.

Baugh, William H.

Nuclear Strategy For Beginners - Part 1 (1984)

Gray, Colin S. In, Baylis, John et al.

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Nuclear strategy | military |

The Globalisation of World Politics 4 th ed. In an era when nuclear strategy issues seem to be becoming relevant again, its historical scope and breadth will make its reading or re-reading even more useful — if only because knowing about the absurdity of the Cold war arms race is a prerequisite if one does not want to repeat its mistakes.

Impressive in every respect! Alas, they are coming to the fore again. The work, just as its previous editions, thus remains the definitive and authoritative point of reference on nuclear strategy in the twenty-first century. It has now been completely rewritten, drawing on a wide range of new research, and updated to take account of the period following the end of the cold war, and covering all nuclear powers.

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He was appointed Official Historian of the Falklands Campaign in and was a member of the official inquiry into Britain and the Iraq War. JavaScript is currently disabled, this site works much better if you enable JavaScript in your browser. Publishing With Us. Book Authors Journal Authors. Free Preview. Originally published in , the leading text on nuclear strategy has been updated and completely revised for its fourth edition The new edition benefits greatly from important contemporary scholarship and newly-available archival material on the history of nuclear strategy A new global perspective includes more material on the Israeli, Indian, Pakistani, North Korean, Iraqi and Iranian nuclear programmes Provides a critical commentary on all positions from abolitionists to nuclear war-fighters see more benefits.

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Buy Softcover. FAQ Policy. Show all. Offence and Defence Pages Freedman, Lawrence et al. Aggression and Retaliation Pages Freedman, Lawrence et al.

Nuclear strategy

Massive Retaliation Pages Freedman, Lawrence et al. Limited Objectives Pages Freedman, Lawrence et al. Limited Means Pages Freedman, Lawrence et al.