Minimum deterrence and missile defenses: What's new, what's true, what's arguable

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Minimum deterrence is a compromise, or halfway house, between nuclear abolition or nearly zero and assured destruction, the dominant paradigm for strategic nuclear arms control during and after the cold war. Minimum deterrence as applied to the current relationship between the United States and Russia would require downsizing the numbers of operationally deployed long-range nuclear weapons to 1000, or fewer, on each side. More drastic bilateral Russian-American reductions would require the cooperation of other nuclear weapons states in making proportional reductions in their own arsenals. In addition, US plans for European-based and global missile defenses cause considerable angst in Russia and threaten to derail the Obama reset in Russian-American relations, despite the uncertainties about current and plausible future performances of missile defense technologies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)65-80
Number of pages16
JournalDefense and Security Analysis
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Political Science and International Relations


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