Deterrence in the Twenty-first Century

Deterrence in the twenty-first century - Air University Press


initiatives as the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator and the Reliable

Replacement Warhead. Allies and possibly adversaries

alike are watching this trend and questioning the long-term viability

of the US nuclear force.

This discussion of contemporary challenges for extended deterrence

has identified the contextual changes in the global security

environment that have occurred and the issues that

should be addressed if extended deterrence guarantees are to

continue to be effective for deterrence, credible for assurance,

and a stabilizing contribution to the US security strategy. Without

periodic close examination and appropriate adjustments in

extended deterrence relationships, these and future contextual

changes are likely to pose significant strains on alliance relationships

and may result in the eventual failure of either deterrence,

assurance, or both.


1. Kathleen C. Bailey et al., “White Paper on the Necessity of the US Nuclear

Deterrent,” 15 August 2007, 3,

2. Aluf Benn, “Obama’s Atomic Umbrella: US Nuclear Strike if Iran Nukes Israel,”

Haaretz, 11 December 2008. During the 2008 presidential campaign, then

candidate and now secretary of state Hillary Clinton warned, “I want the Iranians

to know that if I’m the president, we will attack Iran [if Iran attacked Israel with

nuclear weapons]. In the next 10 years, during which they might foolishly consider

launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them.”

Interview on Good Morning America, ABC TV broadcast, 22 April 2008.

3. J. Michael McConnell, Director of National Intelligence, “Annual Threat

Assessment of the Director of National Intelligence,” prepared statement before

the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, 5 February 2008, 15.

4. “Japan: Ex-Defense Official Urges Nuclear Policy Review with Less US

Involvement,” JPP20061206026003 Tokyo Research Institute for Peace and

Security WWW-Text (in Japanese), 1 December 2006.

5. “North Korea’s Nuclear Threat: Reinforcing Alliance with US Helps Bolster

Nuclear Deterrence,” JPP20070323969090, Tokyo, Daily Yomiuri in English,

24 March 2007.

6. Mike M. Mochizuki, “Japan Tests the Nuclear Taboo,” Nonproliferation

Review 14, no. 2 (July 2007): 319–20.

7. Quoted in Richard L. Russell, “Arab Security Responses to a Nuclear-

Ready Iran,” in Henry Sokolski and Patrick Clawson, eds., Getting Ready for

a Nuclear-Ready Iran (Carlisle, PA: Army War College Strategic Studies Institute,

October 2005), 29.

8. “Arab Nations Call for Regular Meetings on Iranian Nuclear Program,”

Associated Press, 17 December 2008.


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