Jeffrey LewisHow Many Nukes to Deter China?

After provocative articles in Foreign Affairs (The Rise of U.S. Nuclear Primacy), International Security (The End of MAD? The Nuclear Dimension of U.S. Primacy) and The Atlantic (Superiority Complex: Why America‚Äôs growing nuclear supremacy may make war with China more likely), Notre Dame’s Keir Lieber and Dartmouth’s Daryl Press are brining their road show to the New America Foundation on Friday at 12:15 to talk whether the US-China nuclear balance is going to be stable or not.

I don’t agree with many (any?) of their conclusions, but they are both smart guys who like a good argument. It should be fun.

You can RSVP online

How Many Nukes Does it Take?
Deterrence Theory and Chinese-U.S. Nuclear Relations

Most scholars and policymakers favor stemming the tide of nuclear proliferation, even as they acknowledge the pacifying effects of established nuclear arsenals on great power relations. When it comes to nuclear arsenals, how robust must a country’s nuclear arsenal be—how much is enough? Some of the key variables in existing studies – e.g., the nuclear “balance of power” – have been poorly conceived, and the data used to measure the nuclear balance and its effect on policy has come from suspect sources. High quality declassified evidence began to percolate just as the Cold War ended and analysts turned their attention to seemingly more important topics.

With an eye toward future potential problems in the U.S.-China relationship, Keir Lieber and Daryl Press will evaluate four major schools of deterrence theory with some of the newly available evidence from the Cold War. Their preliminary findings indicate that we should not be complacent about the deterrent effects of the short-to-medium term nuclear balance between the U.S. and China.

Start: 04/18/2008 – 12:15pm
End: 04/18/2008 – 1:45pm
New America Foundation
1630 Connecticut Ave, NW 7th Floor
Washington, 20009
United States


  1. mlt (History)

    Are you going to put the presentation online???

    There is some interest !!

  2. Lao Tao Ren (History)

    How about a summary of the discussions?

    As usual, I was unable to be in the area…. sigh.

  3. David Clark (History)

    MP3 and powerpoint at the bottom.