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The Logic of American Nuclear StrategyWhy Strategic Superiority Matters$
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Matthew Kroenig

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190849184

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190849184.001.0001

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The Mechanisms of Nuclear Crisis Outcomes

The Mechanisms of Nuclear Crisis Outcomes

Chapter:
(p.81) 4 The Mechanisms of Nuclear Crisis Outcomes
Source:
The Logic of American Nuclear Strategy
Author(s):

Matthew Kroenig

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190849184.003.0005

This chapter examines the effect of nuclear superiority on crisis outcomes in a series of short case studies of the most important nuclear crises of the nuclear era: the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Sino-Soviet Border War, the 1973 Arab-Israeli Crisis, and the Kargil Crisis. The analysis provides strong support for the argument of the book. It illustrates the effect of the nuclear balance of power in specific cases and demonstrates that the causal mechanisms predicted by the theory are in fact in operation. In these cases, it is clear that leaders paid close attention to the nuclear balance of power, nuclear superior states were willing to run greater risks, and nuclear superior states were more likely to achieve their basic goals. Alternative explanations, such as those that maintain nuclear weapons are irrelevant, or that they do not matter above and beyond a secure, second-strike capability, do not find support.

Keywords:   nuclear, crisis, outcome, Cuban Missile Crisis, Sino-Soviet Border War, 1973 Arab-Israeli Crisis, Kargil Crisis, second-strike capability, balance of power, Zhenbao Island

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