Nuclear use by small states would not escalate – the costs are too high
Kenneth Waltz, The Spread of Nuclear Weapons: A Debate, 1995 p16-17 Ajones
Nuclear weapons do not make nuclear war likely, as history has shown. The point made when discussing the internal use of nuclear weapons bears repeating. No one can say that nuclear weapons will never be used. Their use is always possible. In asking what the spread of nuclear weapons will do to the world, we are asking about the effects to be expected if a larger number of relatively weak states get nuclear weapons. If such states use nuclear weapons, the world will not end. The use of nuclear weapons by lesser powers would hardly trigger them elsewhere.
The uncertainty of nuclear response means even an overconfident actor wouldn’t attack
Kenneth Waltz, The Spread of Nuclear Weapons: A Debate, 1995 p24 Ajones
To ask why a country should carry out its deterrent threat if deterrence fails is to ask the wrong question. The question suggests that an aggressor may attack believing that the attacked country may not retaliate. This invokes the conventional logic that analysts find so hard to forsake. In a conventional world, a country can sensibly attack if it believes that success is possible. In a nuclear world, a would-be attacker is deterred if it believes that the attacked may retaliate. Uncertainty of response, not certainty, is required for deterrence because, if retaliation occurs, one risks losing so much. In a nuclear world, we should look less at the retaliator's conceivable inhibitions and more at the challenger's obvious risks.
AT Preemptive Strikes
The high probability of 1st strikes failing is sufficient to prevent them
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)
Proximity also does not mean vulnerability. Every country has enough space to move its weapons around; in order for me to believe that your force is vulnerable and consider a preemptive attack, I have to convince myself that I know exactly how many deliverable nuclear weapons you have. So if I think you have twelve weapons, I’ve got to know you don’t have a couple more. I’ve got to be sure that’s the number. And if I persuade myself that you havetwelve and no more, I have to know where they are, and I have to be sure that you do not move them by the time I decide to attack. It’s estimated by Herbert York, former director of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories, that a country making a relatively crude nuclear warhead would be able tomake one weighing less than a ton–small enough toplace in a van and move around. Journal Some military analysts would contend that India’s conventional superiority makes Pakistan’s nuclear capability vulnerable, largely because Pakistan relies on its air capability to deliver weapons, and in a conventional war, its air capability could be destroyed very quickly. Could that development, with the implications on Pakistan’s inability to withstand a preemptive attack, possibly disrupt nuclear stability? Waltz You’ve got to be sure that in an attack, whether with nuclear weapons or conventional weapons, you’re attacking weapons. Now, it’s hard–nuclear weapons are small–to be sure that you’re going to destroy those weapons quickly and completely. With conventional weapons you at least have the illusion of control; that is, you can defend, you can delay, and you can exact a toll from the enemy. The ultimate question is whether you are going to win or lose. If you are fighting with nuclear weapons the issue is survival, not necessarily physically, but as a political entity. Military commanders are well aware of how many things can go wrong: failed intelligence, undetected warheads in an unexpected location. If Pakistan has two dozen nuclear weapons spread around and at least four or five India does not know about, is India going to attack and risk four or five warheads blowing up Indian cities? While the attack might not destroy India, what could be at stake that would be worth that price? It’s a risk to their regime, it’s a risk to rulers, and it’s a risk to the military. You don’t get much enthusiasm out of the military for fighting wars it’s going to lose.
Empirical studies prove no preemption.
Bzostek 5 (Rachel, PhD Candidate Pol. Sci. “WHY NOT PREEMPT? AN ANALYSIS OF THE IMPACT OF LEGAL AND NORMATIVE CONSTRAINTS ON THE USE OF ANTICIPATORY MILITARY ACTIVITIES ”, August, http://etd.lsu.edu/docs/available/etd-06302005-104805/unrestricted/Bzostek_dis.pdf, ZBurdette)
Anticipatory Military Activities: Do States Preempt? While there are a plethora of different factors that could influence the likelihood of a state’s using anticipatory military activities, a few generalizations can be made. For one, it appears that uncertainty, which underlies most of the concepts discussed above, and is applicable to both the capabilities and the intentions of the adversary, tends to increase, at least hypothetically, the probability of a state using anticipatory military activities to deal with threats posed by an adversary. This is primarily due to the fact that states tend to expect the worst from their adversary. Or, in other words, as the adage goes, it’s better to be safe than sorry. But, is this actually the case? If uncertainty is truly as rampant and detrimental as many scholars suggest, and if taking anticipatory military action is seen as an effective tool for dealing with this uncertainty, one would expect to see states frequently employing these activities. But, as Reiter notes, for the most part states do not take anticipatory action. It is important to note that the absence of such actions does not necessarily imply a corresponding lack of uncertainty. To be sure, there are numerous different elements at play, all of which must be taken into consideration. However, it is also true that just as the influence of many of the international security concepts can be underestimated, they can also be overestimated, leaving a situation of partial understanding. In this respect, Chapters 6 through 8 seek to rectify at least part of this problem by integrating and including concepts from a variety of different sources, specifically, through adding legal and normative elements into the analysis. Several scholars have empirically tested various hypotheses about preemptive and preventive war using concepts and theories derived from the international security literature. While there is diversity vis-à-vis the explanatory variables used in these studies, there appears to be consensus with respect to the conclusions: states rarely use anticipatory military activities. Before discussing these conclusions, it is important to look at the different explanations and hypotheses tested in these studies.
No offensive use.
Kenneth Waltz, The Spread of Nuclear Weapons: A Debate, 1995 p16 Ajones
Although nuclear weapons are poor instruments tor blackmail, would they not provide a cheap and decisive offensive force when used against a conventionally armed enemy? Some people once thought that South Korea, and earlier, the Shah's Iran, wanted nuclear weapons for offensive use. Yet one can neither say why South Korea would use nuclear weapons against fellow Koreans while trying to reunite them nor how it could have used nuclear weapons against the North, knowing that China and the Soviet Union might have retaliated. And what goals might a conventionally strong Iran have entertained that would have tempted it to risk using nuclear weapons? A country that launches a strike has to fear a punishing blow from someone. Far from lowering the expected cost of aggression, a nuclear offense even against a nonnuclear state raises the possible costs of aggression to incalculable heights because the aggressor cannot be sure of the reaction of other states.