Savel'ev Alexander
Nuclear Deterrence, Strategic Stability, Missile Defence // Russia in Global Affairs. 2023. Vol. 21, Issue 4 (84). P. 10-23. DOI 10.31278/1810-6374-2023-21-4-10-23.
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ISSN 1810-6374

DOI 10.31278/1810-6374-2023-21-4-10-23

The article addresses a set of problems pertaining to nuclear deterrence, strategic stability, and missile defense. The author states that as a derivative of nuclear deterrence strategic stability can only be applied to military-strategic relations between Russia and the United States. This concept “does not work” in all other cases, including the multilateral format of relations. Nuclear deterrence is more universal and impacts, among other things, the decision-making process in relatively strong and weak nuclear states that oppose each other. The effectiveness of nuclear deterrence is not determined solely by the balance of opposing forces. No less important is the assessment by a potential aggressor of all the negative consequences of its decision to strike first, which creates the “self-deterrence” effect that outweighs even the aggressor’s absolute confidence in the complete military success of its nuclear attack. The author also insists that missile defense is undeservedly considered a “destabilizing” weapons system, because the baseline scenario involving a massive exchange of nuclear strikes, which is used for estimating the effectiveness of nuclear deterrence and the level of strategic stability, is completely far-fetched.


Keywords: nuclear deterrence | strategic stability | nuclear weapons | first strike | targeting of nuclear weapons | missile defense |

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