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Strategy in the Second Nuclear Age

Power, Ambition, and the Ultimate Weapon

Toshi Yoshihara and James R. Holmes, Editors

Publication Year: 2012

A “second nuclear age” has begun in the post-Cold War world. Created by the expansion of nuclear arsenals and new proliferation in Asia, it has changed the familiar nuclear geometry of the Cold War. Increasing potency of nuclear arsenals in China, India, and Pakistan, the nuclear breakout in North Korea, and the potential for more states to cross the nuclear-weapons threshold from Iran to Japan suggest that the second nuclear age of many competing nuclear powers has the potential to be even less stable than the first.

Strategy in the Second Nuclear Age assembles a group of distinguished scholars to grapple with the matter of how the United States, its allies, and its friends must size up the strategies, doctrines, and force structures currently taking shape if they are to design responses that reinforce deterrence amid vastly more complex strategic circumstances. By focusing sharply on strategy—that is, on how states use doomsday weaponry for political gain—the book distinguishes itself from familiar net assessments emphasizing quantifiable factors like hardware, technical characteristics, and manpower. While the emphasis varies from chapter to chapter, contributors pay special heed to the logistical, technological, and social dimensions of strategy alongside the specifics of force structure and operations. They never lose sight of the human factor—the pivotal factor in diplomacy, strategy, and war.

Published by: Georgetown University Press

Cover, Title Page, Copyright

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pp. v-vi

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1. Introduction

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pp. 1-16

This is a book about strategy in its broadest sense. Two centuries ago, the Prussian general and military theorist Carl von Clausewitz crafted a workmanlike yet seminal "general concept of strategy," which he defined as "the use of an engagement for the purpose of the war." This is strategy for the battlefield commander. …

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2. After Proliferation: Deterrence Theory and Emerging Nuclear Powers

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pp. 17-36

Deterrence theory evolved along with the Cold War. For some early American strategists, the relationship between nuclear proliferation and deterrence was selfevident. "Everything about the atomic bomb is overshadowed by the twin facts that it exists and that its destructive power is fantastically great," …

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3. South Africa’s Nuclear Strategy: Deterring "Total Onslaught" and "Nuclear Blackmail" in Three Stages

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pp. 37-52

In the 1970s South Africa’s apartheid regime decided to develop nuclear weapons as a means of ensuring its survival in the face of rising external threats.1 Once the regime decided to use its nuclear energy program and a mixture of imported and homegrown technology to begin building nuclear weapons, ...

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4. The Future of Chinese Nuclear Policy and Strategy

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pp. 53-80

The development of China’s missile force has been among the most impressive and most closely watched aspects of Chinese military modernization over the past two decades. Beyond its growing and increasingly sophisticated arsenal of conventional missiles, China’s nuclear modernization is focused on improving the ability of its forces …

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5. North Korea’s Nuclear Weapons Program: Motivations, Strategy, and Doctrine

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pp. 81-98

On October 9, 2006, North Korea (the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) exploded a nuclear device and joined the ranks of the world’s nuclear powers. The yield of this test was well below those of other entrants, probably less than 1 kiloton and smaller than that for which North Korean leaders and technicians had hoped. …

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6. Changing Perceptions of Extended Deterrence in Japan

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pp. 99-114

North Korea’s 2006 and 2009 nuclear weapon tests and the subsequent "debates" in Japan about whether the nation should ponder its own nuclear deterrent renewed attention to the subject of Japan and nuclear weapons. Pundits and policymakers in both the United States and Japan contemplated the implications of Pyongyang’s nuclear breakout, …

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7. Thinking about the Unthinkable: Tokyo’s Nuclear Option

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pp. 115-132

Will Japan go nuclear? Doubtful—but what if it did? It is possible to envision circumstances that would impel Tokyo and the Japanese populace to cast aside their long-standing dread of nuclear weapons and to construct an arsenal of their own for the sake of national survival. …

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8. The Influence of Bureaucratic Politics on India’s Nuclear Strategy

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pp. 133-160

India has premised its nuclear strategy on developing an effective deterrent while at the same time pushing aggressively for a worldwide rollback of nuclear arsenals. Indian strategy, then, derives both from practical military concerns—the stark reality of nuclear neighbors to the subcontinent’s east and west …

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9. The Future of India’s Undersea Nuclear Deterrent

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pp. 161-180

This chapter builds upon the previous one by examining the maritime elements of Indian nuclear strategy and capability, both current and in prospect. It considers how India’s current stationing of nuclear weapons on board surface ships and its planned stationing of nuclear weapons aboard submarines relates to its broader nuclear strategy and doctrine. …

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10. Pakistan’s Nuclear Posture: Thinking about the Unthinkable?

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pp. 181-200

It has been more than ten years now since Pakistan tested its first nuclear device— its first six nuclear devices, if one believes local reporting.1 These nuclear weapons were the product of a twenty-five-year effort, which included collaboration with China, the creation of a covert international nuclear procurement network, ...

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11. Regime Type, Nuclear Reversals, and Nuclear Strategy: The Ambiguous Case of Iran

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pp. 201-224

The nature of a regime may exert less influence on nuclear strategy and force structure than it might appear. Tehran pursued a policy of nuclear ambiguity starting during the rule of Shah Reza Pahlavi, which yielded to today’s Islamic regime following the Revolution in 1979.1

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12. Conclusion: Thinking about Strategy in the Second Nuclear Age

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pp. 225-240

As was noted at the outset, the premise of this book is that proliferation is now a fact and nuclear rollback is a remote prospect at best. Western analysts and officials must accept these uncomfortable realities. Notwithstanding some thinkers’ acknowledgment that the nuclear landscape has changed, …

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pp. 241-244

Stephen F. Burgess is a professor in the Department of International Security Studies of the US Air War College. His books include South Africa’s Weapons of Mass Destruction (with Helen Purkitt); and The United Nations under Boutros Boutros-Ghali, 1992–97. ...


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pp. 245-250

E-ISBN-13: 9781589019294
E-ISBN-10: 1589019296
Print-ISBN-13: 9781589019287
Print-ISBN-10: 1589019288

Page Count: 256
Illustrations: 1 figure, 1 table
Publication Year: 2012

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Subject Headings

  • Nuclear warfare.
  • Nuclear weapons -- Government policy.
  • Strategic forces.
  • Security, International.
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