Deterrence During Disarmament: Deep Nuclear Reductions and International Security

James M. Acton Book March 14, 2011 International Institute for Strategic Studies
 
Although Russia, the United States, and American allies have been loath to downsize their nuclear arsenals, deep reductions would not undermine a nation’s security since arsenal size has little bearing on effectiveness of deterrence.
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After two decades of stagnation, Russia and the United States have pledged their support for reductions in nuclear warheads. But the vision of mutual disarmament remains plagued by doubts on all sides. Russia, the United States, and American allies struggle as ever with the notion that downsizing would be a step into the unknown, and hold on to the belief that, when it comes to deterrence, size matters. Until now, the reasons behind this anxiety—and whether it is justified—have not been properly explored. Based on a series of interviews with opinion formers in Russia and the United States, this Adelphi paper by Carnegie's James Acton examines long-held concerns about the effectiveness of deterrence (including extended deterrence) at low numbers, the possible incentives to use nuclear weapons first in a crisis, the potential for rearmament, and risks surrounding nuclear multipolarity.

Deep reductions in nuclear arsenals are much less problematic than commonly perceived, as the experience of the USSR and the United States in the early Cold War, and China, France, and the United Kingdom over a longer period demonstrates. Taking into account these examples, together with potential stumbling blocks and crisis scenarios, this book contends that arsenal size has little bearing on many of the security challenges usually associated with low numbers, and accordingly, that making deep cuts would not undermine international security.

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End of document

About the Nuclear Policy Program

The Carnegie Nuclear Policy Program is an internationally acclaimed source of expertise and policy thinking on nuclear industry, nonproliferation, security, and disarmament. Its multinational staff stays at the forefront of nuclear policy issues in the United States, Russia, China, Northeast Asia, South Asia, and the Middle East.

 
Source http://carnegieendowment.org/2011/03/14/deterrence-during-disarmament-deep-nuclear-reductions-and-international-security/14xx

In Fact

 

45%

of the Chinese general public

believe their country should share a global leadership role.

30%

of Indian parliamentarians

have criminal cases pending against them.

140

charter schools in the United States

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2.5–5

thousand tons of chemical weapons

are in North Korea’s possession.

92%

of import tariffs

among Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru have been eliminated.

$2.34

trillion a year

is unaccounted for in official Chinese income statistics.

37%

of GDP in oil-exporting Arab countries

comes from the mining sector.

72%

of Europeans and Turks

are opposed to intervention in Syria.

90%

of Russian exports to China

are hydrocarbons; machinery accounts for less than 1%.

13%

of undiscovered oil

is in the Arctic.

17

U.S. government shutdowns

occurred between 1976 and 1996.

40%

of Ukrainians

want an “international economic union” with the EU.

120

million electric bicycles

are used in Chinese cities.

60–70%

of the world’s energy supply

is consumed by cities.

58%

of today’s oils

require unconventional extraction techniques.

67%

of the world's population

will reside in cities by 2050.

50%

of Syria’s population

is expected to be displaced by the end of 2013.

18%

of the U.S. economy

is consumed by healthcare.

81%

of Brazilian protesters

learned about a massive rally via Facebook or Twitter.

32

million cases pending

in India’s judicial system.

1 in 3

Syrians

now needs urgent assistance.

370

political parties

contested India’s last national elections.

70%

of Egypt's labor force

works in the private sector.

70%

of oil consumed in the United States

is for the transportation sector.

20%

of Chechnya’s pre-1994 population

has fled to different parts of the world.

58%

of oil consumed in China

was from foreign sources in 2012.

$536

billion in goods and services

traded between the United States and China in 2012.

$100

billion in foreign investment and oil revenue

have been lost by Iran because of its nuclear program.

4700%

increase in China’s GDP per capita

between 1972 and today.

$11

billion have been spent

to complete the Bushehr nuclear reactor in Iran.

2%

of Iran’s electricity needs

is all the Bushehr nuclear reactor provides.

78

journalists

were imprisoned in Turkey as of August 2012 according to the OSCE.

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