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The Challenge of Nuclear-Armed Regional Adversaries by David Ochmanek, Lowell H. Schwartz

By David Ochmanek, Lowell H. Schwartz

Deterrence of nuclear use in the course of the chance of retaliation might be hugely challenging in lots of believable clash situations with nuclear-armed neighborhood adversaries. this may compel U.S. leaders to mood their army and political pursuits in the event that they come into clash with those states. This booklet examines the explanations in the back of this crucial shift within the overseas protection atmosphere and its strategic and strength making plans implications.

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This is not an accident, as, during the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union strove to avoid situations in which one side or the other might feel that its core interests were at stake. This meant that each side tried to draw red lines to indicate which areas were off limits to avoid nuclear conflict. Over time, both sides tacitly agreed to respect those lines. Crises occurred when one side misread the other’s motives or expectations and transgressed on interests that the other regarded as critical.

S. bombing attacks, the United States Strategies and Actions of Nuclear-Armed Regional Adversaries 39 and its allies might locate and destroy their small arsenal of nuclear weapons and delivery means before they can be brought to bear. Or if the weapons themselves are secure, the communications or other infrastructure needed to employ them effectively may be vulnerable. Concerns such as these will add to the pressures that enemy leaders will feel to escalate early. S. ) Third, operational considerations might also argue in favor of early use of nuclear weapons by the regional adversary.

Regional adversaries. S. forces have shown themselves to be quite adept at defeating attacks by enemy aircraft. In the absence of a robust intercontinental ballistic missile force, attempting to hold at risk targets within the United States will be tricky. Adversary states might find it necessary to rely on “slow-motion” means of attack, such as a cargo ship, which could conceal one or more nuclear weapons in its hold or, perhaps, launch a short-range missile from a position offshore. Or a civilian airliner might be used as a delivery platform.

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