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Extended Deterrence

  • Michael J. Mazarr

Abstract

As noted in chapter 1, current deterrence theory and practice is concerned not just with attacks on the homelands of the superpowers or central deterrence. It also labours under the demands of extended deterrence, the attempt to deter nuclear or conventional attack upon the allies of the superpowers through the threat of nuclear first use. Given the relative position of the two superpowers and their proximity to their allies, the problems of extended deterrence are almost unique to the United States. This chapter will examine that aspect of the deterrence debate; its analysis is specific to NATO, but its general conclusions about the infeasibility of extended deterrence are applic-able in many ways to other theatres as well.

Keywords

Nuclear Weapon Flexible Response European Security Nuclear Deterrent Warsaw Pact 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 2.
    Daniel Charles, Nuclear Planning in NATO (Cambridge, MA: Ballinger, 1987), p. 15 explains that McNamara viewed flexible response as a way to deter war, if necessary, ‘without resorting to the use of nuclear weapons’.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    The relevance of this fact can be traced back for decades — one observer has commented on the ‘deep underlying tension between [Secretary of Defense] McNamara’s statements on mutual nuclear deterrence and NATO military doctrine’. Scott D. Sagan, Moving Targets: Nuclear Strategy and National Security (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1989), p. 40. The chief statement of this thesis, and the most important, was made by Henry Kissinger in 1979. See Kissinger, ‘The Future of NATO’, Washington Quarterly 2 (1979).Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    Eckhard Lubkemeier, ‘Current NATO Strategy and No-First-Use’, in Frank Barnaby and Terence Hopmann (eds), Rethinking the Nuclear Weapons Dilemma in Europe (London: Macmillan, 1988), pp. 120–2.Google Scholar
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    Perhaps the strongest argument for this proposition is made by a Greek scholar, Panayiotis Ifestos, in Nuclear Strategy and European Security Dilemmas (Aldershot: Gower, 1988). Ifestos recognises that the US guarantee is fading, but contends that it is irreplaceable in any case. ‘As European leaders remind us time and again’, he contends, ‘Europe is not in a position ... to substitute the American nuclear guarantee with a European nuclear deterrent force’. The Soviet reaction to European independence, Ifestos argues, ‘would undoubtedly be automatically negative if not actively hostile’ (p. 324). He concludes regarding European defence co-operation that all that can be said is ‘this is a matter fraught with difficulties which should be handled with extreme caution’ (p. 392). This may be true today; the argument of this essay is that several years from now it may not.Google Scholar
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    Leon Sigal is more sanguine about the prospects for an independent nuclear deterrent; see Sigal, No-First-Use and NATO’s Nuclear Posture’, pp. 119–27. See also Edward A. Kolodziej, ‘British-French Nuclearization and European Denuclearization: Challenge for American Policy’, Atlantic Community Quarterly 26 (Autumn–Winter 1988), 318, who foresees a ‘decreasing European dependence on the United States’ achieved in part through the ‘gradual emergence of a European nuclear deterrent’.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Michael J. Mazarr 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael J. Mazarr
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Strategic and International StudiesUSA

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