Deterrence in the Twenty-first Century

Deterrence in the twenty-first century - Air University Press


Russian leaders are trying to gain respect by making others

fear them. This is partly sincere, and partly for a manipulative

purpose. They are using anti-NATO rhetoric and policies to justify

their retention of power.” 25

NATO analyst Michael Rühle has identified several issues

related to extended deterrence in an expanded alliance. One

issue is the acknowledgement that, as part of an attempt to

expand in a way that is nonthreatening to Russia, NATO has

limited its ability to expand nuclear burden sharing to its new

members. NATO pledged to Russia that its expansion would be

done consistently with “three no’s”: no intention, no plan, and

no reason to deploy nuclear weapons on the territory of the new

members. This excludes all new NATO allies at the outset from

playing a meaningful role in NATO’s nuclear burden-sharing

arrangements. In addition, while long-time NATO members

have participated in nuclear-related debates over the decades

and are familiar with statements on the role of nuclear weapons

and deterrence in NATO’s strategic concept, many of the

newer allies, according to Rühle, have little knowledge of “the

sophisticated strategic thinking about deterrence and nuclear

weapons that has developed in the West, although that is slowly

changing through active participation in NATO’s nuclear planning

group staff group [sic] meetings and an active ‘outreach’

educational program to new Allies.” 26

The implications for the United States of a Russian Federation

that is assertive and highly dependent on its nuclear forces

for security, as well as for its foreign policy agenda, include the


• A US nuclear force that is “second to none” (e.g., not inferior

in size or capability to that of Russia) will continue to

be important to allies who distrust Russian leaders and

view Russia as a potential threat.

• The expansion of NATO has resulted in US extended deterrence

guarantees being provided to additional states. These

states are in closer proximity to Russia and in areas that

Moscow has long considered within its sphere of influence.

These allies are likely to be the target of direct nuclearrelated

threats from Russia.


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