Nuclear Deterrence Theory

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The nuclear deterrence theory is and has been widely used in international relations during and after the Cold War. The theory has brought many political scientists together and its reliability and relevance has been thoroughly questioned, analyzed and tested throughout the years. In this essay, various questions will be examined. Firstly, the nuclear theory in itself, what it is about? Secondly, the effects of nuclear deterrence and wars and lastly, the efficiency of nuclear deterrence will be discussed. It is to be noted that this theory is subject to many controversial issues in the international system where a clear and concise ground about the nuclear deterrence theory has not been found. The nuclear deterrence theory, as the word itself…show more content…
It has been successful in maintaining peace between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold-War. Also it is believed that the spread of nuclear weapons in the Middle-East can stabilize the Arab-Israeli conflict. Nuclear weapons if handled well may have very positive effects and make war difficult to start. War will be difficult to start because it must be remembered that the results of going to war can be disastrous. As per Kenneth Waltz in Sagan’s book, "the probability of major war among states having nuclear weapons approaches zero" (Sagan, Spring, 1994). The key to prevent war is to use the weapons responsibly. In contradiction, it is believed that nuclear proliferation can increase wars according to Scott D. Sagan (D.Sagan, Spring, 1994). Sagan also argued that for nuclear deterrence to work, it depends on the capabilities and will of the political leaders. If analyzed, it demands strength and emotional control in order to manage nuclear weapons or else the slightest cause of tensions between countries or even misunderstandings, can intensify into a war. One simple example to illustrate this is the First World War which escalated into a full scale war due to tensions between states. Also, it should be noted that there are other actors other than states such as terrorist organizations which want to acquire nuclear weapons in order to use against states. These…show more content…
Nuclear deterrence has long been the excuse for acquiring nuclear weapons according to Wilson Ward. The major question here is whether countries concede when they are attacked by nuclear weapons? The answer is no according to Ward. Germany and Japan did not concede earlier even though they were attacked (Ward, The Myth of Nuclear Deterrence Theory, November 2008). According to Ward, nuclear deterrence is similar to terrorism where terrorism aims at killing civilians in order to catch the attention of governments in order to achieve what they want. Nuclear deterrence is similar because it threatens to kill civilians even if the attacks are destined to military armies only (Ward, The myth of nuclear deterrence, November 2008). From this point of view, the simple action of possession nuclear weapons is a huge threat to millions of civilians. The weapons are bought to be used, not to simply be kept as a shield of protection. The least tension, threat or aggression can be the subject to a nuclear bombing as it is the country’s way of defending itself. The only way to protect oneself from adversaries’ threat is to attack and this will give way to huge amount of deaths, whether military or

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