The world is in a second nuclear age in which regional powers play an increasingly prominent role. These states have small nuclear arsenals, often face multiple active conflicts, and sometimes have weak institutions. How do these nuclear states—and potential future ones—manage their nuclear forces and influence international conflict? Examining the reasoning and deterrence consequences of regional power nuclear strategies, this book demonstrates that these strategies matter greatly to international stability and it provides new insights into conflict dynamics across important areas of the world such as the Middle East, East Asia, and South Asia.
Vipin Narang identifies the diversity of regional power nuclear strategies and describes in detail the posture each regional power has adopted over time. Developing a theory for the sources of regional power nuclear strategies, he offers the first systematic explanation of why states choose the postures they do and under what conditions they might shift strategies. Narang then analyzes the effects of these choices on a state’s ability to deter conflict. Using both quantitative and qualitative analysis, he shows that, contrary to a bedrock article of faith in the canon of nuclear deterrence, the acquisition of nuclear weapons does not produce a uniform deterrent effect against opponents. Rather, some postures deter conflict more successfully than others.
Nuclear Strategy in the Modern Era considers the range of nuclear choices made by regional powers and the critical challenges they pose to modern international security.
Vipin Narang is assistant professor of political science and member of the Security Studies Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
"Narang adds importantly to the scholarly understanding of nuclear posture in a way that can inform policy. He studies an important topic, shatters false assumptions, provides insightful and useful new conceptual categories, offers apparently powerful theoretical explanations of important behaviors, provides a valuable set of case studies, and opens doors for additional scholarly research. . . . The many avenues for additional research it suggests and worrisome possibilities it surfaces testify to the analytic strength and policy ambition of this important book."--Douglas B. Shaw, Arms Control Today
"Narang explores an understudied aspect of nuclear strategy and doctrine. Rejecting conventional scholarly thinking that nuclear weapons have an inherent ability to deter conflict, Narang examines the nuclear postures of Pakistan, India, China, Israel, South Africa, and France."--Choice
"This excellent book offers a novel typology of nuclear postures and a theory that explains why states adopt certain postures but not others, before assessing the consequences of postures for deterrence. An exemplary blend of theory and qualitative and quantitative evidence, its conclusions have wide-ranging implications for the way we think about nuclear deterrence."--Alexander Downes, George Washington University
"This book makes a major contribution to our understanding of the nuclear challenges that we currently face. Narang argues that the theories developed during the Cold War cannot explain the nuclear policies of regional powers. To fill this important gap, he convincingly lays out three distinct nuclear postures available to regional powers and he questions conventional wisdom to show that a state's nuclear posture significantly influences its deterrence effect."--Charles Glaser, George Washington University
Table of Contents:
List of Figures and Tables vii
Chapter 1 Introduction 1
Chapter 2 The Sources of Regional Power Nuclear Postures: Posture Optimization Theory 13
Chapter 3 Pakistan 55
Chapter 4 India 94
Chapter 5 China 121
Chapter 6 France 153
Chapter 7 Israel 179
Chapter 8 South Africa 207
Chapter 9 Deterring Unequally I: A Large-n Analysis 222
Chapter 10 Deterring Unequally II: Regional Power Nuclear Postures and Crisis Behavior 253
Chapter 11 Conclusion 299