Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Logic of American Nuclear StrategyWhy Strategic Superiority Matters$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Matthew Kroenig

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190849184

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190849184.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 06 December 2021

Strategic Stability

Strategic Stability

(p.127) 6 Strategic Stability
The Logic of American Nuclear Strategy

Matthew Kroenig

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the relationship between nuclear superiority and strategic stability. Many nuclear deterrence theorists and policy advocates have argued for decades that nuclear superiority has a glaring downside: it increases the risk of nuclear war. This chapter analyzes this question in detail and finds that this conventional wisdom is incorrect. It argues that nuclear superiority likely contributes to greater levels of strategic stability. Moreover, it maintains that traditional arguments about strategic stability fail to differentiate between good instability, that which favors US interests, and bad instability, which works to the disadvantage of Washington and its allies. When this distinction is taken into account, we see that US superiority enhances positive instability and dampens negative instability. In short, strategic stability should be listed among the benefits, not the possible costs, of an American nuclear advantage.

Keywords:   nuclear war, strategic stability, nuclear superiority, crisis instability, use ’em or lose ’em, first-strike advantage, mutual vulnerability, nuclear parity, bargaining model of war, imperfect information

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .