This chapter challenges the notion that US nuclear posture has a significant bearing on the proliferation behavior of other states. Many believe that a robust US nuclear arsenal is an important determinant of proliferation decisions in other states and that the United States can dissuade proliferation elsewhere by reducing the size of its own nuclear arsenal. This chapter argues that state decisions on nonproliferation issues are driven by a range of other factors and, once these considerations are taken into account, there is little remaining variance to be explained by US nuclear posture. This argument is supported with a case study of the Iranian nuclear program and a statistical analysis using a data set on US nuclear arsenal size from 1945 to 2011. It finds no evidence of a relationship between the size of the US nuclear arsenal and a variety of nuclear nonproliferation outcomes.
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