Nuclear Deterrence Theory: The Search for Credibility by Robert Powell

By Robert Powell

Utilising contemporary advances in video game conception to the research of nuclear deterrence, the writer examines one of the most advanced and complicated concerns in deterrence concept. Game-theoretic research permits the writer to version the consequences on deterrence recommendations of first-strike merits, of restricted retaliation, and of the variety of nuclear superpowers fascinated with the overseas procedure. With the formalizations he develops, the writer is ready to exhibit the basic similarity of the 2 possible disparate deterrence recommendations that experience developed according to the superpower palms buildup; the tactic that leaves whatever to likelihood and the method of constrained retaliation.

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By Robert Powell

Utilising contemporary advances in video game conception to the research of nuclear deterrence, the writer examines one of the most advanced and complicated concerns in deterrence concept. Game-theoretic research permits the writer to version the consequences on deterrence recommendations of first-strike merits, of restricted retaliation, and of the variety of nuclear superpowers fascinated with the overseas procedure. With the formalizations he develops, the writer is ready to exhibit the basic similarity of the 2 possible disparate deterrence recommendations that experience developed according to the superpower palms buildup; the tactic that leaves whatever to likelihood and the method of constrained retaliation.

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Extra info for Nuclear Deterrence Theory: The Search for Credibility

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Nuclear revolution and the problem of credibility 29 retaliation in the game represented by the payoffs in column I is a Nash equilibrium. Similar arguments show that this doctrine is also a Nash equilibrium in the situations illustrated by columns II and III. Although the doctrine of massive retaliation is a Nash equilibrium, there is a troubling feature about this equilibrium, and this goes to the heart of the criticisms of this doctrine. Suppose that the Soviet Union does, for some reason, challenge the status quo.

Although the doctrine of massive retaliation is a Nash equilibrium, it is not a sequential equilibrium. 29 In a sequential equilibrium, agents are required to act in their best interest everywhere in the game tree given their beliefs and the strategies of the other agents. Thus, when confronted with a choice between —2 and —3, the United States must choose the former. When the United States is relatively invulnerable, but only a peripheral interest at stake, there is a unique sequential equilibrium.

But this time, the United States will attack if challenged, for this brings —3, whereas surrendering a vital interest leaves the United States with —8. Given this American strategy, the Soviet Union's best response is not to dispute the status quo. When the cost of acquiescing is so high, the threat to retaliate massively rather than submit is credible, and the doctrine of massive retaliation is effective in protecting vital interests. But, of course, once the United States became vulnerable to a devastating Soviet retaliatory attack, this doctrine seemed incredible even with vital interests at stake.

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