This chapter reviews a range of risks commonly believed, rightly or wrongly, to arise from the existence of nuclear weapons. It examines first the concept of stability, in two forms—deterrent stability and crisis stability. There follows an extended section on the idea of nuclear escalation, bringing out that though the possibility cannot be wholly excluded and is indeed a component of deterrence, suppositions of its inexorability are unfounded. The next section discusses whether risks of nuclear war by accident, miscalculation, or misunderstanding are substantial, and argues that they are not. The final section looks at the risk of nuclear terrorism. It considers what hurdles a would-be terrorist would have to surmount, and notes ways of keeping such hurdles as high as possible.
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