Prolif good – War

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Prolif Good/Bad Michigan 2011



Prolif Good – War

Prolif decreases war.

Asal and Beardsley 7—professors of political science (Victor Asal and Kyle Beadsley, “Proliferation and International Crisis Behavior”, Vol 44, No. 2, March 2007, Journal of peace research, pp. 139-155, JSTOR, ZBurdette)

As Model 1 in Table IV illustrates, all of our variables are statistically significant except for the protracted conflict variable. Our primary independent variable, the number of nuclear actors involved in the crisis, has a negative relationship with the severity of violence and is significant. This lends preliminary support to the argument that nuclear weapons have a restraining affect on crisis behavior, as stated in HI. It should be noted that, of the crises that involved four nuclear actors - Suez Nationalization War (1956), Berlin Wall (1961), October Yom Kippur War (1973), and Iraq No-Fly Zone (1992) - and five nuclear actors - Gulf War (1990) - only two are not full-scale wars. While this demonstrates that the pacifying effect of more nuclear actors is not strong enough to prevent war in all situations, it does not necessarily weaken the argument that there is actually a pacifying effect. The positive and statistically significant coefficient on the variable that counts the number of crisis actors has a magnitude greater than that on the variable that counts the number of nuclear actors. Since increases in the number of overall actors in a crisis are strongly associated with higher levels of violence, it should be no surprise that many of the conflicts with many nuclear actors - by extension, many general actors as well - experienced war. Therefore, the results can only suggest that, keeping the number of crisis actors fixed, increasing the proportion of nuclear actors has a pacifying effect. They do not suggest that adding nuclear actors to a crisis will decrease the risk of high levels violence; but rather, adding more actors of any type to a crisis can have a destabilizing effect. Also in Table IV, Model 2 demonstrates that the effect of a nuclear dyad is only approaching statistical significance, but does have a sign that indicates higher levels of violence are less likely in crises with opponents that have nuclear weapons than other crises. This lukewarm result suggests that it might not be necessary for nuclear actors to face each other in order to get the effect of decreased propensity for violence. All actors should tend to be more cautious in escalation when there is a nuclear opponent, regardless of their own capabilities. While this might weaken support for focusing on specifically a 'balance of terror' as a source of stability (see Gaddis, 1986; Waltz, 1990; Sagan & Waltz, 2003; Mearsheimer, 1990), it supports the logic in this article that nuclear weapons can serve as a deterrent of aggression from both nuclear and non-nuclear opponents.6 Model 3 transforms the violence variable to a binary indicator of war and demonstrates that the principal relationship between the number of nuclear actors and violence holds for the most crucial outcome of full-scale war. Model 4 demonstrates that accounting for the presence of new nuclear actors does not greatly change the results. The coefficient on the new nuclear actor variable is statistically insignificant, which lends credence to the optimists' view that new nuclear-weapon states should not be presupposed to behave less responsibly than the USA, USSR, UK, France, and China did during the Cold War. Finally, Model 5 similarly illustrates that crises involving super powers are not more or less prone to violence than others. Superpower activity appears to not be driving the observed relationships between the number of nuclear-crisis actors and restraint toward violence. It is important to establish more specifically what the change in the probability of full-scale war is when nuclear actors are involved. Table V presents the probability of different levels of violence as the number of nuclear actors increases in the Clarify simulations. The control variables are held at their modes or means, with the exception of the variable that counts the number of crisis actors. Because it would be impossible to have, say, five nuclear-crisis actors and only two crisis actors, the number of crisis actors is held constant at five. As we can see, the impact of an increase in the number of nuclear actors is substantial. Starting from a crisis situation without any nuclear actors, including one nuclear actor (out of five) reduces the likelihood of full scale war by nine percentage points. As we continue to add nuclear actors, the likeli hood of full-scale war declines sharply, so that the probability of a war with the maximum number of nuclear actors is about three times less than the probability with no nuclear actors. In addition, the probabilities of no violence and only minor clashes increase substantially as the number of nuclear actors increases. The probability of serious clashes is relatively constant. Overall, the analysis lends significant support to the more optimistic proliferation argument related to the expectation of violent conflict when nuclear actors are involved. While the presence of nuclear powers does not prevent war, it significantly reduces the probability of full-scale war, with more reduction as the number of nuclear powers involved in the conflict increases.

Prolif solves major war

Waltz 2k—Kenneth, pol sci prof at Berkeley (Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, Volume 1, Number 1, Winter/Spring 2000, Interviewed by Jeremy Goldberg & Parag Khanna “Interview: Is Kenneth Waltz Still M.A.D. about Nukes?”,, ZBurdette)

Waltz Well, that is a different question. The United States and the Soviet Union developed peculiar ideas of nuclear deterrence: namely that thousands of warheads are required for deterrence. That notion was always crazy. At the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis our estimates were that the Soviet Union had only about seventy true strategic systems. We had thousands. Were we deterred? Yes we were. We did not strike at the nuclear warheads that the Soviet Union had in Cuba. The Air Force was asked if they could hit and destroy all the targets. And remember that they were close by, and there were not that many of them. The Air Force answered: “We promise we can get 90 percent.” Not enough. We were deterred. Now, nuclear weapons do not deter everybody from doing everything. They do not deter forays. They do not deter, for example, Arab countries from starting wars over the disputed terroritories. But they did dissuade the Egyptians and Syrians from trying to divide Israel during the 1973 Yom Kippur War. They pulled back for fear that the threat of the destruction of the Israeli State would prompt the use of nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons deter threats to the vital interests of the state, and they have done so in every case that comes to mind.

New proliferators decrease the likelihood and damage of war—5 reasons


-deescalation due to fear of retaliation

-deterrence by punishment

-nuclear use causes immediate sobriety

-no motive to seek victory

Waltz 95

Kenneth Waltz, The Spread of Nuclear Weapons: A Debate, 1995 p36-37 Ajones

Does the spread of nuclear weapons threaten to make wars more intense at regional levels, where wars of high intensity have been possible for many years? If weaker countries are unable to defend at lesser levels of violence, might they destroy themselves through resorting to nuclear weapons? Lesser nuclear states live in fear of this possibility. But this is not different from the fear under which the United States and the Soviet Union lived for years. Small nuclear states may experience a keen sense of desperation because of vulnerability to conventional as well as to nuclear attack, but, again, in desperate situations what all parties become most desperate to avoid is the use of strategic nuclear weapons. Still, however improbable the event, lesser states may one day fire some of their weapons. Are minor nuclear states more or less likely to do so than major ones? The answer to this question is vitally important because the existence of some states would be at stake even if the damage done were regionally confined. For a number of reasons, deterrent strategies promise less damage than war-fighting strategies. First, deterrent strategies induce caution all around and thus reduce the incidence of war. Second, wars fought in the face of strategic nuclear weapons must be carefully limited because a country having them may retaliate if its vital interests are threatened. Third, prospective punishment need only be proportionate to an adversary's expected gains in war after those gains are discounted for the many uncertainties of war. Fourth, should deterrence fail, a few judiciously delivered warheads are likely to produce sobriety in the leaders of all of the countries involved and thus bring rapid deescalation. Finally, warfighting strategies offer no clear place to stop short of victory for some and defeat for others. Deterrent strategies do, and that place is where one country threatens another's vital interests. Deterrent strategies lower the probability that wars will begin. If wars start nevertheless, deterrent strategies lower the probability that they will be carried very far? Nuclear weapons lessen the intensity as well as thc frequency of war among their possessors. For fear of escalation, nuclear states do not want to fight long and hard over important interests-indeed, they do not want to fight at all. Minor nuclear states have even better reasons than major ones to accommodate one another and to avoid fighting. Worries about the intensity of war among nuclear states have to be viewed in this context and against a world in which conventional weapons have become ever costlier and more destructive.

New proliferators dramatically reduce the risk of war

Waltz 95

Kenneth Waltz, The Spread of Nuclear Weapons: A Debate, 1995 p43-44 Ajones

What will a world populated by a larger number ot nuclear states look like? I have drawn a picture of such a world that accords with experience throughout the nuclear age. Those who dread a world with more nuclear states do little more than assert that more is worse and claim without substantiation that new nuclear states will be less responsible and less capable of self control than the old ones have been. They feel fears that many felt when they imagined how a nuclear China would behave. Such fears have proved unfounded as nuclear weapons have slowly spread. I have found many reasons for believing that with more nuclear states the world will have a promising future. l have reached this unusual conclusion for four main reasons. First, international politics is a self-help system, and in such systems the principal parties determine their own fate, the fate of other parties, and the fate of the system. This will continue to be so. Second, given the massive numbers of American and Russian warheads, and given the impossibility of one side destroying enough of the other side's missiles to make a retaliatory strike bearable, the balance of terror is indestructible. What can lesser states do to disrupt the nuclear equilibrium if even the mighty efforts of the United States and the Soviet Union did not shake it? Third, nuclear weaponry makes miscalculation difficult because it is hard not to be aware of how much damage a small number of warheads can do. Early in this century Norman Angell argped that war could not occur because it would not pay. But conventional wars have brought political gains to some countries at the expense of others. Among nuclear countries, possible losses in war overwhelm possible gains. In the nuclear age Angell's dictum becomes persuasive. When the active use of force threatens to bring great losses, war becomes less likely. This proposition is widely accepted but insufficiently emphasized. Nuclear weapons reduced the chances of war between the United States and the Soviet Union and between the Soviet Union and China. One must expect them to have similar effects elsewhere. Where nuclear weapons threaten to make the cost of wars immense, who will dare to start them? Fourth, new nuclear states will feel the constraints that present nuclear states have experienced. New nuclear states will be more concerned for their safety and more mindful of dangers than some of the old ones have been. Until recently, only the great and some of the major powers have had nuclear weapons. While nuclear weapons have spread, conventional weapons have proliferated. Under these circumstances, wars have been fought not at the center but at the periphery of international politics. The likelihood of war decreases as deterrent and defensive capabilities increase. Nuclear weapons make wars hard to start. These statements hold for Small as for big nuclear powers. Because they do, the gradual spread of nuclear weapons is more to be welComed than feared.

Prolif prevents the escalation of wars

Waltz 95

Kenneth Waltz, The Spread of Nuclear Weapons: A Debate, 1995 p33-34 Ajones

The presence of nuclear weapons makes war less likely. One may nevertheless oppose the spread of nuclear weapons on the ground that they would make war, however unlikely, unbearably intense should it occur. Nuclear weapons have not been fired in anger in a world in which more than one country has them, We have enioyed half a century of nuclear peace, but we can never have a guarantee. We may be grateful for decades of nuclear peace and for the discouragement of conventional war among those who have nuclear weapons. Yet the fear is widespread that if they ever go off, we may all be dead. People as varied as the scholar Richard Smoke, the arms controller Paul Wamke, and the former defense secretary Harold Brown have all believed that if any nu~ clear weapons go off, many will, Although this seems the least likely of all the unlikely possibilities, it is not impossible, What makes it so unlikely is that, if a few warheads are fired, all of the countries involved will want to get out of the mess they are in.

Even if low-scale violence does occur it won’t escalate

Seng 98 (Jordan, Phd Candidate in Pol. Sci. – U. Chicago, Dissertation, “STRATEGY for PANDORA'S CHILDREN: STABLE NUCLEAR PROLIFERATION AMONG MINOR STATES”, P. 158-159, ZBurdette)

Overall, limited war will not be as prevalent among Third World proliferators as many analysts fear. If it does occur, limited aims strategies are likely to be very restrained in terms of both military methods and objectives. One might well see a prevalence of low grade violence aimed at Third World proliferators, but such violence is distinctive from true limited war, and it is not the sort of violence that is in danger of causing escalation and possible nuclear launch.

More nuclear states increase stability—the cold war became even more stable when europe joined the fray

Waltz 95

Kenneth Waltz, The Spread of Nuclear Weapons: A Debate, 1995 p14 Ajones

Fourth, while some worry about nuclear states coming in hostile pairs, others worry that they won't come in hostile pairs. The simplicity of relations that obtains when one party has to concentrate its worry on only one other, and the ease of calculating forces and estimating the dangers they pose, may be lost. Early in the Cold War, the United States deterred the Soviet Union, and in due course, the Soviet Union deterred the United States. As soon as additional states joined the nuclear club, however, the question of who deterred whom could no longer be easily answered. The Soviet Union had to worry lest a move made in Europe might cause France and Britain to retaliate, thus possibly setting off American forces as well. Such worries at once complicated calculations and strengthened deterrence. Somebody might have retaliated, and that was all a would-be attacker needed to know. Nuclear weapons restore the clarity and simplicity lost as bipolar situations are replaced by multipolar ones.

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