Nuclear Threats from Small States

  • June 01, 1994
  • Mr Jerome H Kahan

That are the policy implications regarding proliferation and counterproliferation of nuclear weapons among Third World states? How does deterrence operate outside the parameters of superpower confrontation as defined by the cold war's elaborate system of constraints enforced by concepts like mutual assured destruction, and counter-value and counter-force targeting? How can U.S. policymakers devise contingencies for dealing with nuclear threats posed by countries like North Korea, Libya, Iraq, Iran, and Syria? These are some of the unsettling but nevertheless important questions addressed by the author. Mr. Jerome Kahan examines the likelihood that one or more of these countries will use nuclear weapons before the year 2000. He also offers a framework that policymakers and planners might use in assessing U.S. interests in preempting the use of nuclear weapons or in retaliating for their use. Ironically, with the end of the cold war, it is imperative that defense strategists, policymakers, and military professionals think about the "unthinkable."