AUTHORLarsen, Jeffrey A. / Kartchner, Kerry M., Eds.
TITLEOn Limited Nuclear War in the 21st Century
PUBLISHERStanford University Press
CITYStanford, CA
DATE PUBLISHED2014
ISBN978-0-8047-9089-5


The authors of this edited volume address in detail the possibility of a limited nuclear war in which opposing nations choose to use nuclear weapons selectively with restraint. Taken as a whole, the book seeks to promote meaningful dialogue and stress that strategic vision and crisis management are as important as flexible military capabilities. Chapters are grouped into three topical sections. The first reviews the history of nuclear war theory and the changing views toward nuclear conflict over nine U.S. presidential administrations, with an emphasis on prior considerations of limited nuclear weapon use. The second provides five scenarios on how conventional conflict could escalate into limited nuclear war that is then terminated, with a return to nuclear deterrence strategy. With the end of the Cold War, the potential for nuclear weapon use has shifted from a U.S.-Russian confrontation to actions of newer nuclear powers. A potential Pakistan-India conflict is of particular concern, as well as collapse of relatively unstable nuclear powers such as Pakistan or North Korea or seizure of nuclear assets by radical groups. The final section covers U.S. capabilities toward waging limited nuclear war and how the American war culture and strategic psychology would prepare the country for such a conflict. The thirteen contributors are widely respected analysts in nuclear strategy, nuclear theory, and strategic defense policy.


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