Baranovsky Vladimir , Buzhinsky E., Zagorskii Andrei, Nikitin Alexander, Oznobishchev S.
Avoiding nuclear war. Problems of escalation/de-escalation of armed conflicts when approaching the “nuclear threshold”
Publication Type:

ISSN 1026-9487

DOI: 10.17976/jpps/2022.06.09

Several historic international conflicts, considered in the article, have presented a risk of nuclear weapons being used. The authors analyze and systematize factors and methods that allowed the sides to prevent the escalation of such conflicts to the “nuclear threshold” and avoid the risk of catastrophic consequences linked to passing such a “threshold”. The opportunity and probability of avoiding a nuclear escalation that is caused by unintended or unsanctioned actions, human and technical mistakes, malfunctions, wrong interpretations of the actions of the potential adversary are discussed. The authors review existing mechanisms of de-escalation of military-political incidents and analyse the complex of confidence-building and security assuring measures. Their validity and applicability in modern conditions are considered through a study of the current tense situation in Russia’s relations with the West/NATO, as well as in a long-term (in scale of decades) perspective.

Acknowledgements. The article has been prepared in the framework of the MGIMO grant project “Systemic Advancement of the International Activities of the MGIMO Institute for International Studies” (Project 2022-02-02, project chaired by A. Nikitin) and presents main findings of the Analytical Report elaborated within this project.

Keywords: nuclear weapons | escalation | de-escalation | armed conflicts | “nuclear threshold” | NATO | confidence building measures | international security |

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