Strategic Stability: It Takes Two to Tango?
Volume 17, Issue 1 (2019), pp. 97–121
Pub. online: 9 November 2019 Type: Article Open Access
9 November 2019
9 November 2019
This article focuses upon the most recent trends in nuclear deterrence and strategic stability. It addresses the contemporary developments in three interconnected domains: first-strike, crisis and arms race stability. It traces the evolution of strategic stability studies, highlights the most fundamental contribution in the three above-mentioned study areas, and attempts to explain the change in contemporary nuclear deterrence. During the Cold War the superpowers developed international practices and unwritten rules of nuclear deterrence. Political practices emerged together with extensive studies of nuclear deterrence, which were based on a rational choice approach and game modelling. Contemporary international relations (IR) faces revival of nuclear deterrence studies. While some scholars are rediscovering the Cold War IR analysis models and adapting them to contemporary realities, others are looking for new analytical possibilities. This article focuses upon interlinkages between firststrike, crisis and arms race stability, and attempts to explain how changes in strategic environment can help better understanding the contemporary nuclear deterrence. It discusses whether and under what conditions nuclear parity, first-strike stability, arms control and crisis equilibrium can guarantee the strategic stability and military balance. It also addresses the qualitative or quantitative change in the conflict or crisis perception, and its implications on contemporary deterrence.