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Nuclear deterrence in a new age

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For over two decades since the end of the Cold War, US nuclear policy has been based on a general belief that nuclear deterrence, and thus also nuclear weapons, are of rapidly declining value because international relations had moved toward a much more benign and enduring stage of history. Nuclear weapons supposedly had little or no remaining role to play in US security; the only real questions were how, and how quickly could the United States lead the world to nuclear disarmament. The end of the Cold War, which left the United States as the only standing Superpower inspired this view of history, nuclear deterrence, and nuclear weapons. With the nuclear resurgence of Russia, the rise of China, the mounting nuclear threats from North Korea and potentially Iran, that foundational belief underlying US inattention to its nuclear arsenal is now a manifest fiction, and US nuclear policy must confront, and adjust to a very different reality.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: National Institute for Public Policy, Fairfax, VA, USA

Publication date: January 1, 2018

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