The indelicate balance of terror: Nuclear deterrence stability in a world of three nuclear superpowers

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Albert Wohlstetter’s seminal essay of the early Cold War years, “The Delicate Balance of Terror,” calls for revisiting in the current climate of geopolitics and military technology. The possible emergence of China as a near peer competitor with the United States and Russia in strategic nuclear forces changes the dynamics of nuclear deterrence, arms control and strategic stability in Asia and globally. In addition, future deterrence stability will also be challenged by changes in technology, including hypersonic weapons, improved missile defense capabilities, competition in the cyber and space domains, and the uncertain impacts of game changers such as artificial intelligence and nanotechnology. As well, containment of nuclear weapons spread cannot be guaranteed, given the dissatisfaction of some existing and aspiring nuclear weapons states with the present international order.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)763-775
Number of pages13
JournalComparative Strategy
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Political Science and International Relations

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