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PSC 1003; Lecture 12

by: Eleanor Parry

PSC 1003; Lecture 12 PSC 1003

Eleanor Parry
GPA 3.81

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These notes cover what was in lecture 12
Introduction to International Politics
Farrell, H
Class Notes
International Politics; Political Science
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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Eleanor Parry on Friday February 12, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to PSC 1003 at George Washington University taught by Farrell, H in Fall 2015. Since its upload, it has received 16 views. For similar materials see Introduction to International Politics in Political Science at George Washington University.

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Date Created: 02/12/16
Cold War Cold War and Strategic Thinking • The shock of the Cuban Missile Crisis and possibility of world calamity. • Helped drive a fundamental retaining of how the US and USSR should deal with each other. • Went hand in had with rethinking of fundamentals of strategic theory. • Thomas Schelling as father of the Cold War armaments as a form of communication. The Logic of Deterrence • As both US and USSR sought to come to terms with nuclear weapons, began to think more anymore in terms of the logic of deterrence. • Importance of second strike capabilities. • Threefold aims of actors. ◦ To display resolve so as not to appear like pushovers. ◦ To seek to manipulate the expectations of the other side for strategic and tactical advantage. ◦ To avoid actual nuclear war. • These aims did not necessarily sit well with each other. ◦ Displaying resolve and manipulating expectations might increase risk of war. Bargaining around Nuclear War • Cold War adversaries ended up playing Schelling's chess game. • Three Versions of game. • 1. Standard Chess - in which there is perfect information and a straightforward win/lose calculus • 2. Bargaining chess - in which the foreseeable risk of disaster makes actors prone to bargain (if they have different levels of indifference to risk). ◦ Disaster never happens - but it influences actor's bargaining strength. • 3. Brinkmanship chess - in which actors may push up to bring and risk disaster to press for gains or show resolve. Threats and Credibility • What is at stake in bargaining and brinkmanship? • Risk of breakdown (if you are forced to deliver on threat). • One's future credibility. • If one is unwilling to make threats in order to protect interests, then adversaries and allies may draw conclusions from this. • If one makes threats, and fails to deliver them, likewise. • If one makes threats, and delivers on them, likewise. Importance of Commitment Mechanisms • Needs to post your credibility given that many actions may be painful. • Needs to demonstrate resolve to carry out costly actions in future. • Commitment mechanisms - allow you to commit yourself, by making it more costly to refrain from implementing threat than to deliver on it. ◦ US troops in Berlin The Cold War as Politics • This explains resolve/manipulation/war dynamic. • 1) Everyone wants to avoid losing ace. IF you acquire the reputation of being a pushover, your threats are no longer credible. Hence, incentives to protect reputation. • 2) Everyone wants to avoid war. Hence - the incentive to work out a set of common understandings about what does, and what does not, constitute aggressive action. • 3) Everyone still faces the temptation to make gains through bluffing about ones resolve. This makes mistakes more likely. Implicit Foal of Schelling's Theory • To turn deterrence into a system of communication that could manage the pressures, and prevent escalation into all-out nuclear war. • This often meant allowing actors to retain credibility by clarifying when they had to display resolve, and when not. ◦ Ambiguity of tactical nuclear weapons. • Much of the action of the Cold War was in what never happened (situations where actors did not have to confront each other, with resultant risks). Schelling and Costly Communication • Losing 30,000 troops in order to "save face" in South Korea was completely worth it. • Creating shared expectations over intervention - Berlin vs Hungary • Unwillingness to waste nukes on any old crisis. Save them as a "message of utmost seriousness." • Choosing targets near your enemy's territory as a form of signalling (don't escalate or else). • Choosing particular cities to bomb in the case of nuclear war in order to prevent it from escalating into all out conflagration. Nuclear Weapons as Stabilizers • Nuclear weapons may have positive consequences if states are rational and understand deterrence. • Stabilizing impact: ◦ Less likelihood of rash actions. ◦ Less likelihood of war. • Also deterrence theorists suggest that nuclear free world is an impossible dream. ◦ Too easy to rearm. ◦ Implication: nuclear proliferation can be good. Sagan: Counterpoints • Reliance of pro-proliferation argument on key assumptions. ◦ States are unlikely to make mistakes. ◦ States are likely to be controlled by civilian government. • If these claims do not hold - is there a case for proliferation as a basis for deterrence? Problems of military (Sagan) • States are not rational actors - but composed of competing interests (state level explanation). • Military may have key role in setting nuclear policy. ◦ More likely to want to go to war pre-emotively. ◦ May not want second strike capacity for organizational cultural reasons. ◦ Organizations will have difficulty with problems with high complexity and tight coupling. ‣ High likelihood of accident. Going Nuclear • 2 Plausible pathways - uranium and plutonium. ◦ Ukraine - need to separate U235 and U238. ◦ Plutonium - does not occur naturally. • Uranium pathway - separate out materials to purify uranium. ◦ Delicate centrifuges. ◦ Non-linear progression. • Plutonium pathway - build specialized reactor. Key Question - How Hard is This? • Current proliferation regime - assumes that is is hard to build a successful nuclear program. ◦ Suggests that proliferation risks are limited to a few sates with both motive and opportunity. ◦ Foreign technical help is key. • IT could be that uranium pathway is relatively easy. ◦ Clandestine centrifuges are hard to detect. ◦ No need to rely on foreign assistance. Policy Question: Iran • Iran has had well developed nuclear program. ◦ Threat to Israel. ◦ Regional security implications. ◦ Possible threat to US interests. • Has led to forceful sanctions regime and other measures. ◦ Would proliferations of nukes to Iran be a good thing? ◦ Waltz v Kahl Two Components of Program • Iran claimed to only be pursuing peaceful nuclear power programs. • Centrifuges (hidden). • Has been refining uranium, leading to fears in Israel and US. • Arak heavy water reactor. Us Policy • US policy sought to impede Iran's nuclear program through a variety of tools. ◦ Sanctions. ◦ Covert Actions • Sanctions appear to have helped. ◦ Negotiations leading to deal. • Goals: ◦ Prevent Iran from going nuclear. ◦ Reach a broader accommodation with Iran. ◦ Keep Israel on board. • Benefit if successful - increased stability. • Drawback - continued rule of quasi-theocracy in Iran. Waltz - Iran should have the bomb • Waltz - argument in favor of proliferation of nuclear technology to Iran based on deterrence logic. • Iran is a rational actor. ◦ Sanctions will not deter but make Iran feel more vulnerable. ◦ Would be less vulnerable with nuclear weapons. • Greater regional stability. ◦ Need to balance Israel and restore balance of power. ◦ History says arms race unlikely. Kahl - Don't Arm Iran • Agrees that Iran is rational. • But likely to be emboldened by nuclear weapons. ◦ Increased risk of terrorism. ◦ Dual capable weapons to non state actor. • Iranian adventurism - would lead to more crisis in Middle East. ◦ No case for pre-emptive attacks. ◦ Strong case for combined negotiations and economic pressure. Adding Sagan to the Mix • Would Iran be rational as Kahl and Waltz suggest? • Possibly not. ◦ Role of revolutionary guard. ◦ Uncertainties in military command structure. ◦ Frozen conflicts within the Iranian state (and possibilities of disruption; external action being driven by internal disputes). Conclusions • Deterrence theory suggests that nuclear weapons can increase stability. ◦ But only when states are security seekers, and willing not to play games. ◦ Also implies tat states are unified rational actors. • What do think about peace with Iran depends on relationship between deterrence and stability.


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