Argument: Small states benefit from having a small nuclear deterrent

Issue Report: Abolition of nuclear weapons


  • Avery Goldstein. Deterrence and Security in the 21st Century. 2000 (Summary of book) – “Beginning with a reconsideration of nuclear deterrence theory, the book takes issue with the usual emphasis on the need for invulnerable retaliatory forces and threats that leaders can rationally choose to carry out. The author explains why states, including badly outgunned states, can rely on nuclear deterrent strategies despite the difficulty they may face in deploying invulnerable forces and despite the implausibility of rationally carrying out their threats of retaliation. In the subsequent empirical analysis that examines the security policies of China, Britain, and France and taps recently declassified documents, the author suggests that the misleading standard view of what is often termed rational deterrence theory may well reflect the experience, or at least aspirations, of the Cold War superpowers more than the logic of deterrence itself.”