Jeffrey LewisDeterrence During Disarmament

James Acton, our good friend and erstwhile colleague here on the blog, has published a new Adelphi Paper (aka a book), Deterrence During Disarmament.

James received two awfully fine blurbs:

“Ronald Reagan’s vision of a world without nuclear weapons remains a valid and ever more urgent goal. James Acton has analysed and rebutted the arguments that have been made against the proposition that the process of eliminating nuclear weapons can enhance national security. Whichever side of the argument readers support, they will find an exceptionally thorough and well-informed examination of the issues raised in this essential public debate.”

George P. Shultz, former US Secretary of State and Fellow of the Hoover Institution, Stanford University

“I have been reading literature on nuclear weapons policy for more than 50 years. This is as careful, conscientious and reliable as it gets.”

Thomas C. Schelling, University of Maryland, Emeritus and author of Arms and Influence

£9.99, plus postage outside Western Europe.

Comments

  1. bobbymike (History)

    So the subtitle is “Deep Nuclear Reductions….” So going from 12000 deployed strategic warheads to 1550 under New Start is what exactly.

    There really was no reason to reduce warhead and launcher numbers under SORT let alone go under New Start levels.

    Why does the arms control community keep using language that implies that nothing has changed since the Cold War as if we still build and deploy thousands of warheads at a huge cost (in comparison to the Cold War).

    I suspect if most American knew how much we have disarmed combined with the fact that it has not changed the behavior of the likes of NK or Iran they public would be saying we have gone far enough.

  2. sferrin (History)

    Meanwhile Russia cranks out new ICBMs, a new type of SSBN, SLBM, and are beginning work on an SS-18 replacement. Didn’t we just sign an arms *reduction* treaty with them? Somehow I don’t think they’ll feel compelled to disarm themselves just because we do.

    • FSB (History)

      Russia certainly will not disarm since we are setting up a BMD system that could (but probably will not in reality) impact their ICBMs. Anyway, you can be sure they will not miss the chance to argue that the BMD system neutralizes hundreds of their missiles.

      There is much more both sides can do to reduce tensions.

      There is no need for 1550, or 1000, or even 100 nukes each.

      I like 27 nukes. Being able to destroy a few of each other cities is sufficient deterrent.

    • Scott Monje (History)

      Russia’s rate of production of new missiles still doesn’t keep pace with the obsolescence of its old ones, which don’t last as long as ours. The overall trend is still downward.

    • bobbymike (History)

      FSB – So given the option of having highly accurate counter force weapons (mitigate civilian casualties as much as possible) and a robust BMD defense in which, hopefully, you never have to use those weapons, your strategy is to threaten the mass murder of civilians as your ONLY available response.

      A Chinese general once stated he was willing to trade 150 million Americans for 150 million Chinese, “because that’s half of your population and only about ten percent of ours.”

    • FSB (History)

      There is no such thing as a robust missile defense as the poor record in even rigged MDA tests shows. Next question?

  3. sferrin (History)

    FSB – So given that Russia will not disarm (because, according to you our missile defenses won’t let them), and given that even before we had missile defenses they were not inclined to disarm, why exactly is it a good idea that WE disarm? Also, please explain why it is better to lose 100 cities than 80.

    • FSB (History)

      How do you know their position in the absence of our missile defense?

      What do you mean by 100 instead of 80?

      And like Scott says Russia’s rate of production of new missiles still doesn’t keep pace with the obsolescence of its old ones, which don’t last as long as ours. The overall trend is still downward.

  4. sferrin (History)

    “How do you know their position in the absence of our missile defense?”

    Because they were turning out TOPOLs long before the first GBI was put in the ground. Also because even if GBI was 100% effective it wouldn’t justify the amount of build up they’ve embarked on.

    Your comment, “There is no such thing as a robust missile defense as the poor record in even rigged MDA tests shows.” seemed to indicate you were of the opinion that no missile defense are better than xx% effective defenses. (Believe it or not there are those who think it would be better that ALL enemy RVs make it through than to try to stop them.) Hence the 80/100 comment.

    “And like Scott says Russia’s rate of production of new missiles still doesn’t keep pace with the obsolescence of its old ones, which don’t last as long as ours. ”

    Not sure what you’re trying to say here. Last time I checked, the laws of physics are the same in Russia as they are here in the US. Russia *chooses* to build new designs rather than try to upgrade old ones. It is a choice, not something forced upon them. In marked contrast, we choose to cross our fingers while our industrial capacity and know-how withers aways.

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