nuclear deterrence


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nuclear deterrence

the capacity of a NATION STATE or alliance to protect itself from an attack using nuclear weapons by threatening retaliation which would result in wholesale destruction of the adversary's population and resources. Nuclear deterrence is above all a psychological concept, since a nation state or alliance must believe that an adversary has the capacity to retaliate if attacked and can credibly be expected to use it. The logic of nuclear deterrence is based upon twin assumptions:
  1. the RATIONALITY of decision-makers; and
  2. that both sides would be losers in the event of a nuclear conflict (see also MUTUAL ASSURED DESTRUCTION). Nuclear deterrence is often held to have prevented all-out wars between major powers in the post-World War II era. On the other hand, it does not prevent more limited conventional wars, and the invention of nuclear warfare has brought the ever-present threat of nuclear annihilation on a world scale. See also ARMS RACE, STRATEGIC THEORY, NATION-STATE SYSTEM.
Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000
References in periodicals archive ?
First, enabling geostrategic environment that includes sustainable mechanism for dispute resolution; second, strategic restraint and responsibility, and third, the maintenance of balance in nuclear deterrence capabilities through arms control rather than competition.
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North Korea is on the verge of possessing viable nuclear deterrence. South Korea and Japan may eventually entertain the idea of obtaining nukes of their own.
Commenting on North Korea already having nuclear deterrence capability, Vipin Narang, Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor of political science and an expert on nuclear proliferation, said: "I think we have to assume from a policy perspective that they plausibly do 6 certainly enough that I wouldn't risk New York or DC to find out."
Asked what about the world situation had changed that caused him to break with the church's previous acceptance of nuclear deterrence, and if recent saber-rattling between U.S.
Why shouldn't Africans, whether governments or people, be able to publicly discuss and air their views about global threats to the peace, issues of nuclear deterrence, alongside the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction?
Sir Michael Fallon recommitted the UK to nuclear deterrence as he held global security talks with Nato's Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and the 29 ambassadors of the North Atlantic Council (NAC) at Clyde Naval Base, home to the UK's nuclear submarines (pictured right).
Finally, by treating the concept of extended nuclear deterrence as illegal, or at least immoral, the draft treaty could actually threaten security in Europe and East Asia.

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