Normative factors in U.S. nuclear policy
Preczewski, Michael W.
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This thesis explores the relative value that norms have on U.S. nuclear policies, particularly on their constraining effect on nuclear weapon use and possession. Contemporary academic literature explores how norms constrain the use of nuclear arms, but further research is needed to determine how they affect policies of possession. Using case studies from the Cold War, this thesis presents research indicating that norms have had inconsistent constraining effects on nuclear use and possession policies. Upon applying four leading theories on how norms affect U.S. nuclear policymaking, it becomes clear that no single theory dominated policymaker decisions throughout the Cold War. Instead, differing circumstances created vast inconsistencies as to the constraining effects that norms had on nuclear strategies. Today's policymakers must understand the constraining role that norms have on nuclear policy, and that these norms differ in their constraining effects when nuclear policies are broadened beyond just those of nuclear use. Nuclear policies regarding the possession of nuclear weapons are also influenced by norms, but not necessarily in the same way as they are for nuclear use.
RightsThis publication is a work of the U.S. Government as defined in Title 17, United States Code, Section 101. Copyright protection is not available for this work in the United States.
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