Strategic Stability in Europe: Risks with Low Numbers of U.S. and Russian Nuclear Weapons
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This article offers a survey of risks that might arise for strategic stability (defined as a situation with a low probability of major-power war) with the reduction of US and Russian nuclear arsenals to "low numbers" (defined as 1,000 or fewer nuclear weapons on each side). These risks might include US anti-cities targeting strategies that are harmful to the credibility of extended deterrence; renewed European anxiety about a US-Russian condominium; greater vulnerability to Russian noncompliance with agreed obligations; incentives to adopt destabilizing "launch-on-warning" strategies; a potential stimulus to nuclear proliferation; perceptions of a US disengagement from extended deterrence; increased likelihood of non-nuclear arms competitions and conflicts; and controversial pressures on the UK and French nuclear forces. Observers in North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) states who consider such risks significant have cited four possible measures that might help to contain them: sustained basing of US nonstrategic nuclear weapons in Europe; maintaining a balanced US strategic nuclear force posture; high-readiness means to reconstitute US nuclear forces; and enhanced US and allied non-nuclear military capabilities. These concrete measures might complement the consultations with the NATO allies that the United States would in all likelihood seek with respect to such important adjustments in its deterrence and defense posture.
The article of record as published may be located at https://doi.org/10.1080/10736700.2013.804317
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