Deterring nuclear-armed Third World dictators: a targeting strategy for the emerging threat.
Gellene, David J.
Wirtz, James J.
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The continuing efforts of several developing nations to acquire nuclear weapons indicates that the United States may be required to implement a deterrence policy aimed at authoritarian regimes in the Third World. Therefore. U. S. decision-makers must re-evaluate the conceptual foundations of American deterrence policy. This research suggests a solution to the problem of deterring nuclear-capable Third World nations from using nuclear weapons against the United States, its allies and friends. The new deterrence policy is based on the theory of omnibalancing which predicts that the Third World dictators are strongly influenced by perceived internal threats to their regime. Successful deterrence, therefore, is dependent on holding at risk the mechanisms used by Third World authoritarian regimes to maintain internal control. Although developing a nuclear deterrence policy against Third World dictators is critical to the security of the United States, there has been a hesitancy for Western analysts to consider the problem of Third World nuclear deterrence because they either perceive that these regimes are irrational and therefore non-deterrable or they believe that the U.S. nuclear arsenal in itself will provide deterrence. This analysis addresses the flaws of these perceptions and offers an analytical basis for new U.S. strategic thinking about deterrence and the Third World. A deterrence policy based on omnibalancing can be a viable means of preventing Third World nuclear use against the United States and its interests.
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