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Nuclear Proliferation And U.S. Grand Strategy

1486 words - 6 pages

Neo-isolationists embrace a constricted view of U.S. national interest: national security and defense –the protection of the security, liberty, and property of the American people –is the only vital U.S. interest. Given to the narrow interest, the U.S. should end alliances with Europe and Asia. It can maintain nuclear forces required to deter nuclear attacks, and also adequate conventional forces. They both will be effective even against a Eurasian hegemon. Neo-isolationists argue that the U.S. is inherently a very secure country and is strategically immune, and that nuclear proliferation is not our problem because it is not necessarily bad as someone claims; rather, some proliferation will even be good.
First of all, nuclear proliferation is not necessarily bad because nuclear weapon can reduce the possibility of war by two means: first, by enhancing deterrent capabilities; and second, by providing security.
On one hand, nuclear weapons can enhance deterrent capabilities thus reduce likelihood of war. Nuclear weapons are good at deterrence. When evaluating the credibility of nuclear deterrence, two factors need to be considered: the state’s capabilities to use t and the state’s will and interests to use them. Deterrence is most likely to succeed when a state have the military capabilities and greater will and interests to use nuclear weapons. The will and interests of the attacked state in using nuclear weapons can be presumed to be stronger than that of the attacker because the attacked will strive to retaliate in order to preserve its own territory and security. The U.S. has the strongest nuclear weapon capabilities in the world. Were it attacked, it would have greater will and interests to use the nuclear weapons than the attacker would have, and no states in the world can survive U.S. nuclear retaliation because we have the largest number of nuclear warheads. Knowing this, since the state is unitary rational actor, the would-be attacker will be inhibited, and the U.S. would be secure. In other words, U.S. nuclear retaliatory capabilities are effective deterrence against even determined adversaries, including potential Eurasia hegemon like China or Russia which is less threatening now compared with China, let alone the weaker nuclear states with small number of nuclear weapons. There can be no politically rational state large or small to explode a nuclear bomb on America because U.S. retaliation would be devastating. Besides, Britain, France, PRC and Russia have nuclear retaliatory forces, and this makes it quite likely that these powers will deter each other, further reducing the risk that an ambitious Eurasia hegemon would dominate and military exploit the economic resources of the Eurasian landmass.
On the other hand, nuclear weapons reduce the possibility of war by providing security. One of the reasons for a state to get nuclear weapons is security consideration. Since nuclear weapons are good deterrent weapons, states would like to...

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