Deterrence in the Twenty-first Century

Deterrence in the twenty-first century - Air University Press


weapons, but host governments are reluctant to support their

removal. It is difficult to say if European NATO members would

support using nuclear weapons under any conditions except in

response to a first strike.

7. What alternative views inform our understanding of deterrence

in the twenty-first century?

Some European states, such as the Nordic states, often view

deterrence as a police action rather than as a military action.

They deter within their own borders, not seeing an external

threat. The most significant concern of most European Union

(EU) nations is cross-border migration. Once migrants gain entry

into the EU, they have free access across the entire union.

Nations such as France and Germany are struggling with the

concept of assimilation into their society. Currently enclaves

exist within each nation where underprivileged minorities reside

in congested proximity. The Islamic enclave in Paris erupted

in 2005, rioting for weeks before police were able to restore

order. The close proximity to the Middle East creates a different

dynamic for all EU nations. France and Britain are not exceptions,

but with nuclear weapons, they also see a rationale to

deter externally (principally state on state).

The 2008 Sarkozy administration’s white paper defined deterrence

for French policy as nuclear only. It went on to discuss

terrorism in a dissuasion context. The latest definition of deterrence

was designed principally for an internal and EU audience.

Historically, France has viewed deterrence in a larger

context. For example, the Maginot Line was specifically designed

to deter German aggression.

8. Can nonstate actors be deterred by nuclear or conventional


Nonstate actors, such as al-Qaeda, do not typically begin

their efforts to change the status quo by resorting to terrorism.

Deterring nonstate actors may be best understood within the

context of the Kinetic Effects Pyramid. Nonstate actors prefer

operating at the highest possible level, but because they are


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