Kenneth Waltz, The Spread of Nuclear Weapons: A Debate, 1995 p20-21 Ajones
This question then arises: May dispersing forces for the sake of their survival make command and control hard to maintain? Americans think so because we think in tenns of large nuclear arsenals. Small nuclear powers neither have them nor need them. Lesser nuclear states may deploy, say, ten real weapons and ten dummies, while permitting other countries to infer that numbers are larger. An adversary need only believe that some warheads may survive its attack and be visited on it. That belief is not hard to create without making command and control unreliable. All nuclear countries live through a time when their forces are crudely designed. All countries have so far been able to control them. Relations between the United States and the Soviet Union, and later among the United States, the Soviet Union, and China, were at their bitterest just when their nuclear forces were in early stages of development and were unbalanced, crude, and presumably hard to control. Why should we expect new nuclear states to experience greater difticulties than the ones old nuclear states were able to cope with? Although some of the new nuclear states may be economically and technically backward, they will either have expert and highly trained scientists and engineers or they will not be able to produce nuclear weapons. Even if they buy or steal the weapons, they will have to hire technicians to maintain and control them. We do not have to wonder whether they will take good care of their weapons. They have every incentive to do so. They will not want to risk retaliation because one or more of their warheads accidentally struck another country.
Even atrocious arsenals can deter
Kenneth Waltz, The Spread of Nuclear Weapons: A Debate, 1995 p21-22 Ajones
The weak can deter one another. But can the weak deter the strong? Raising the question of China's ability to deter the Soviet Union in the old days highlights the issue. The population and industry of most states concentrate in a relatively small number of centers. This was true of the Soviet Union. A major attack on the top ten cities of the Soviet Union would have mashed 25 percent of its industrial capacity and 25 percent of its urban population. Geoffrey Kemp in 1974 concluded that China could probably have struck on that scale." And I emphasize again, China needed only to appear to be able to do that. A low probability of carrying a highly destructive attack home is sufticient for deterrence. A force of an imprecisely specifiable minimum capacity is nevertheless needed. In a 1979 study, Justin Galen (pseud.) wondered whether the Chinese had a force capable of deterring the Soviet Union. He estimated that China had sixty to eighty medium-range and sixty to eighty intermediaterange missiles of doubtful reliability and accuracy and eighty obsolete bombers. He rightly pointed out that the missiles might miss their targets even it' fired at cities and that the bombers might not get through the Soviet Union's defenses. Moreover, the Soviet Union might have been able to preempt an attack, having almost certainly located virtually every Chinese missile, aircraft, weapons storage area and production facility But surely Soviet leaders put these things the other way around. To locate virtually all missiles and aircraft is not good enough. Despite inaccuracies a few Chinese missiles might have hit Russian cities, and some bombers might have got through. Not much is required to deter. What political-military objective is worth risking Vladivostok, Novosibirsk, and Tomsk, with no way of being sure that Moscow would not go as well?
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?”, http://www.ciaonet.org/olj/gjia/gjia_winspr00f.html, ZBurdette)
Journal What about those states whose leaders might not use rational calculations in considering the threat of nuclear weapons, such as Saddam Hussein of Iraq, if he were to acquire nuclear weapons? Waltz We have this peculiar notion about the irrationality of rogue states. When he was Secretary of Defense, Les Aspin said these rogue leaders might be undeterrable. Others contend that some states may undertake courses of action even if they know that catastrophe may result. But who would do that? Not Saddam Hussein. Not Kim Il Sung when he was ruler of North Korea. What is a key characteristic of all those rulers? They are survivors, as they struggle to live in a harsh environment–both internally, with the constant danger of assassination, and externally, as they’re surrounded by enemies. And they survive for decades until they are carried out in a box. Are they irrational? Their behavior is ugly and nasty to be sure, but irrational? How could they survive?If they were not deterrable, how would they ever have survived?They don’t run the kind of risks that would put their regime into question. Kim Il Sung wanted to pass his reign onto his son, Kim Jong Il. They obviously love to rule, but they’ve got to have a country. They’re not going to risk the existence of their country. For example, Saddam Hussein was deterred during the Persian Gulf War. He did not arm the SCUD missileswith lethal warheads and shoot them at Israel. They were nuisance attacks. Why? Because he didn’t want us to pound him more heavily than he was being pounded. The allies, led by the United States, could have substantially destroyed that country without ever using nuclear weapons, and he knew it. Sure he was deterred. So how can we say irrational or undeterrable? But we do say it.
All actors are at least rational enough, even non-state/terrorist groups.
Forsyth et al., 2010(James, B. Saltzman, Gary Schaub, “Remembrance of Things Past The Enduring Value of Nuclear Weapons,” Strategic Studies Quarterly, Forsyth: professor of strategy at the School of Advanced Air and Space Studies, Saltzman: chief of the Air Force Strategic Plans and Policy Division, Schaub: assistant professor of strategy at the Air War College, JPL)
It is often argued that deterrence is inherently flawed because no human being is perfectly rational—indeed, they often act irrationally.10 But this is a red herring. As Robert Jervis has argued, “How rational do people have to be for deterrence theory to apply? Much less than total rationality is needed for the main lines of the theory to be valid.”11 Indeed, given that adversaries of any note lead large organizations—states—and had to pursue strategies to gain and retain power, it is difficult to argue that such persons are irrational or nonrational.12 They may not be perfect, but they are sensible and react to the incentives of their strategic and domestic environments.13 This holds also for terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda or Hamas, who utilize suicide terrorism to achieve strategic objectives.14 It is on this basis that strategy and policy can be readily erected.
Kenneth Waltz, The Spread of Nuclear Weapons: A Debate, 1995 p11 Ajones
Second, many fear that states that are radical at home will recklessly use their nuclear weapons in pursuit of revolutionary ends abroad. States that are radical at home, however, may not be radical abroad. Few states have been radical in the conduct of their foreign policy, and fewer have remained so for long. Think of the Soviet Union and thePeople's Republic of China. States coexist in a competitive arena. The pressures of competition cause them to behave in ways that make the threats they face manageable, in ways that enable them to get along. States can remain radical in foreign policy only if they are overwhelmingly strong-as none of the new nuclear states will be_or if their acts fall short of damaging vital Interests of other nuclear powers. States that acquire nu clear weapons will not be regarded with indifference. States that want to be freewheelers have to stay out of the nuclear business. A nuclear Libya, for example, would have to show caution, even in rhetoric, lest it suffer retaliation in response to someone else's anonymous attack on a third state. That state, ignorant of who attacked, might claim that its intelligence agents had identified Libya as the culprit and take the opportunity to silence it by striking a heavy conventional blow. Nuclear weapons induce caution in any state, especially in weak ones.