The Fallacies of Cold War Deterrence and a New Direction


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Top charts. Deterrence in the Second Nuclear Age. Keith B. Mother Ann Lee, founder of the Shakers, articulated a vision of a community that embraced sacrifice over the needs of the individual; the result was one of the most successful utopian experiments of nineteenth-century America. The Shakers, an idealistic offshoot of the ascetic Quaker religion, grew to as many as six thousand members in nineteen communities reaching from New England to the Midwest. Founded in , Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, Kentucky, was a thriving community located in the center of the bluegrass region.

After the Civil War, a steadily shrinking membership resulted in the gradual decline of this remarkable community, and the last remaining Shaker to reside at Pleasant Hill died in In the years immediately following, it appeared as though the village would fall prey to neglect and a lack of historic preservation. In , however, local citizens formed a private not-for-profit organization to preserve and restore the village and to interpret the rich heritage of the Pleasant Hill Shakers for future generations.

Over several years, and against incredible odds, this group succeeded in raising the funds necessary for the restoration projects.

By , eight buildings at Shakertown, carefully adapted for modern use while retaining their historical and architectural significance, had been opened to the public. In chronicling how the hopes of the early fund-raisers quickly were challenged by the harsh reality of economic hardships, the book serves as a valuable study in modern philanthropy.

The poems form a narrative of York's inner and outer journey, before, during and after the expedition--a journey from slavery to freedom, from the plantation to the great northwest, from servant to soul yearning to be free. Over the course of the saga and through the poems, we are treated to subtle and overt commentaries on literacy, slavery, native Americans, buffalo, the environment, and more. Though Buffalo Dance purposely references historic accounts and facts, it is fictionalized poetry, and Frank X Walker's rare blend of history and art breathes life into an important but overlooked historical figure.

Frank X Walker is the author of Affrilachia and the soon to be released Black Box , two collections of poetry. Click here for Frank Walker's website. Minimum Deterrence: Examining the Evidence. Keith Payne, former Secretary of Defense James Schlesinger and an unparalleled bipartisan group of senior civilian and military experts critically examine eight basic assumptions of Minimum Deterrence against available evidence.

In general, Minimum Deterrence does not fare well under the careful scrutiny. This book was published as a special issue of Comparative Strategy. Understanding Deterrence. For decades, the rational actor model served as the preferred guide for U. The model tends to postulate common decision-making parameters across the globe to reach generalizations about how deterrence will function and the types of forces that will be "stabilizing" or "destabilizing.

The absence of uniformity means there can be very few deterrence generalizations generated by the use of the rational actor model that are applicable to the entire range of opponents. This identification and assessment process can facilitate the tailoring of deterrence strategies to specific purposes and result in a higher likelihood of success than strategies guided by the generalizations about opponent decision-making typically contained in the rational actor model.

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In some regimes, security considerations may be subordinated to the necessity for flexible response, and hair-trigger readiness. Keeping warheads unassembled or a step away from operational status would render the theft of fully operational weapons difficult, but would not solve the problem and the danger of the theft of near-operational weapons, materials and expertise and would contradict a credible deterrence or compellence posture.


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In most of the regimes in the region, custody of the weapons and the delivery systems will have to be put in the hands of organizations or family members whose loyalty to the leaders is beyond doubt. This may lead to weapons and delivery systems being under unified command. This will simplify command and control, but at the same time increase the risk of unauthorized or hasty use.

Having acquired nuclear weapons in contravention to their npt obligations, Middle Eastern regimes will probably be extremely sensitive regarding the possibility of further unauthorized transfer — from ideological or material motives — of nuclear materials, expertise, hardware, components, or weapons from themselves to adversaries. This is a critical issue already today in the Pakistani context. Unlike the scientific institutions of the Soviet Union, which had little or no prior interaction with potential customers for their know-how, and whose efforts to capitalize on their access could be relatively easily monitored and disrupted by the successor state Russia and the West, these elements have wide access to potential clients.

Theoretically, this could create a unique relationship of joint command, and unique problems of command and control. I n the veteran nuclear states civilian control of the nuclear arsenal was decided at the inception of the nuclear age and was, for the most part, not an issue for large-scale struggles within the respective regimes.

The tendency throughout the Cold War was to lower the political profile of nuclear tests, exercises, and planning out of concern that publicity would result in possible escalation. While the Soviet system did, apparently, take into account ethnic background of senior officers, this was not, so it seems, a constant concern of the political leadership. It was relegated to the security services to perform appropriate weeding and vetting. The Middle East in this regard will be fundamentally different. The nuclear capability, once achieved, will be an important lever for influence within the regimes.

The very identification of the nuclear capability with the political leader is, in the Middle East, a source of legitimacy and public support.

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The Danger of a Poly-Nuclear Mideast

Therefore, we can expect that even technical issues relating to building, deploying, or training the nuclear force will receive a high profile and publicized reference in these regimes, to enhance the legitimacy of the leadership in the eyes of its constituents. All the regimes and military establishments in question are loath to delegate authority in matters relating to strategic weapons and strategic interests.

We should expect a more personalized chain of command consisting of fewer — but highly trusted — individuals, with less compartmentalization between them. Collective identification — tribal, ethnic, and even social networks, such as affiliation with certain religious institutions — will probably influence who would have access to nuclear weapons, and to whom, and when, authority would be delegated. Similarly, the field units entrusted with nuclear assets are likely to be fiercely loyal, disciplined, and ideologically unshakable e.

The safeguards for communication with nuclear units are far less advanced in the military structures in the Middle East than in any of the existing nuclear states. Communicating a command authorizing the launch of nuclear weapons at an adversary would probably mandate redundancy, including both modern as well as primitive means, given that communications in a crisis or war might be vulnerable to disruption.

Such measures would also reduce flexibility and escalation dominance. The tendency of Middle Eastern regimes to personalize the state may lead to broad authorization to launch nuclear weapons in case the leader is presumed dead — even if no nuclear attack has taken place. However, the logic behind this system in the Cold War was a reflection of the assumptions that if the leadership were destroyed, it would mean that a large part of the country had been decimated and that only the other superpower could have executed such a blow.

These assumptions will not be true in the Middle East. As opposed to the mutually assured destruction of the Cold War, nuclear war in the Middle East may be perceived as survivable, especially in the larger and more populous states, like Iran or Egypt. Therefore, the regime may fear that surviving elements to which authority was delegated even family members or high level members of the ruling party may opt not to automatically escalate to a full-fledged nuclear war in the case of the incapacitation of the top leadership.

The solution might be a standing order for automatic launch if communication with the leadership is lost and it may be presumed to have been destroyed.

Over the years, the means that have evolved for prevention of deliberate unauthorized use and to prevent accidental use have moved from the human to the electronic spectrum. Systems based on split codes held by separate senior officers may be problematic for reasons of regime structure noted above, and regimes may rightly fear that an entire nuclear unit may mutiny and take control over the weapons. Cold War technical means took decades to fully develop, including the evolution of Permissible Access Links pal s to reduce the risk of deliberate or erroneous unauthorized use of nuclear weapons.

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Early Cold War technical intelligence capabilities were limited, and an early poly-nuclear Middle East may resemble this environment in some ways. However, integration of such technologies into the c3 structures of regimes in the Middle East is doubtful, at least in the early stages. Each fledgling nuclear country will initially have small arsenals and a much larger set of enemy targets. This will encumber pre-designation of weapons for targets and exclude the use of pal s, which preclude the accidental use of a weapon against targets that are not pre-defined. Furthermore, the inherent and in the light of the cyberattacks on Iran not unjustified suspicion that the enemy may be capable of planting Trojan horses in technological systems in order to manipulate them may inhibit use of highly technological means.

The fact that the same types of delivery systems may be used for both conventional and nonconventional warheads will further complicate c3 , as different standard operating procedures sop will probably be applied to those delivery systems which are dedicated for nuclear weapons. Human verification may be implemented at operational levels for example, the need to combine codes held by more than one senior officer in order to override safeguards and arm weapons.

However, it is very unlikely that any of the regimes in the region would be able to adopt human verification of the orders of the head of state. Even the argument that the verification is not meant for regular situations but for contingencies during which the leader may be incapacitated, for any reason, may be difficult to support in these regimes. T he confidence of a nuclear-enabled regime in its intelligence capabilities will play a pivotal role in determining the spectrum of alert levels, and the routine in regards to those levels. Such an operational nuclear deployment will require strategic early warning and intelligence capabilities covering all relevant threats: day and night airborne visual intelligence visint and signals intelligence sigint assets, ground sigint and radar deployment in effective ranges, an advanced satellite deployment, and more.

The indigenous early warning capabilities of all these countries to ssm threats in general — conventional, cbw , and then nuclear, are either weak or nonexistent, and the potential for error is very high.

POST-COLD WAR DETERRENCE AND A TAIWAN CRISIS - Jamestown

Consequently, these new nuclear countries may opt to rely on intelligence allies: the U. However, such reliance may bring about situations not dissimilar to the role the Soviet Union played in , but with far more dire consequences, in which an external player feeds alarming information that provokes nuclear alert. Without the ability to assess such information, countries receiving it will have no choice but to go on nuclear alert.

Much of the discussion relating to the potential dangers of a poly-nuclear Middle East focuses on the feasibility of deterrence to prevent premeditated intentional use of nuclear weapons. However, not enough attention is paid to the potential for nuclear confrontation during a multilateral spiral of escalation and absence of escalation dominance. In this context, the flexibility and robustness of the command and control structures of fledgling nuclear powers in the region will be critical.

In the early stages, such paradigms will probably be closer to the early structures of the veteran nuclear powers, with adaptations for regional cultural, political, and religious idiosyncrasies, and will not necessarily integrate the lessons learned by those veteran powers over time and in thoroughly different strategic and cultural contexts.

The integration of such a taboo would be a key factor in the motivation of the leaderships of the new nuclear states to prevent their use. Even ideologically, or religiously, highly charged leaderships may be aware of the dangers inherent in nuclear war and behave rationally. However, such awareness and rational decision-making processes are a necessary but not a sufficient condition.

Stephen L. Quackenbush and Frank C. Zagare

Nuclear confrontation may not be the result of some irrational but premeditated decision by leaders to initiate a nuclear strike, but of faulty intelligence, command, and control in escalatory situations. In such situations, it appears that the command and control structures that may develop in new nuclear states in the Middle East are likely to exacerbate the dangers inherent in escalation and brinkmanship, and to result ultimately in perennial nuclear instability or even nuclear war.

The early years of the Cold War were far less stable, though we tend to forget that. Former U. We came that close to nuclear war at the end.

The Fallacies of Cold War Deterrence and a New Direction The Fallacies of Cold War Deterrence and a New Direction
The Fallacies of Cold War Deterrence and a New Direction The Fallacies of Cold War Deterrence and a New Direction
The Fallacies of Cold War Deterrence and a New Direction The Fallacies of Cold War Deterrence and a New Direction
The Fallacies of Cold War Deterrence and a New Direction The Fallacies of Cold War Deterrence and a New Direction
The Fallacies of Cold War Deterrence and a New Direction The Fallacies of Cold War Deterrence and a New Direction
The Fallacies of Cold War Deterrence and a New Direction The Fallacies of Cold War Deterrence and a New Direction
The Fallacies of Cold War Deterrence and a New Direction The Fallacies of Cold War Deterrence and a New Direction
The Fallacies of Cold War Deterrence and a New Direction The Fallacies of Cold War Deterrence and a New Direction
The Fallacies of Cold War Deterrence and a New Direction

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