Prolif good – War

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AT Preventative Strikes

No preventative wars

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)

Analysts are right to focus on these special dangers of Third World scenarios, but they are wrong to focus on them exclusively. Pessimistic analysts often stress those things which would seem to enable and encourage adversaries to execute preventative strikes on nuclear assets without acknowledging factors that complicate and discourage such strikers. On balance, preventative strikes are likely to be prohibitively difficult and dangerous for Third World preventers. If they do occur, they are likely to be done in such a way that nuclear detonations will not be involved, and so collateral damage will be relatively limited. There are three reasons for these conclusions. One, by nature, preventative strikes against nuclear weapons programs are simply difficult to execute effectively, strategic distances being what they may. While it may be possible to destroy certain physical facilities associated with weapons development, it is extremely difficult to wipe-out the know-how behind them. Proliferators tend to be a determined lot, and though it may be possible to slow down their efforts to acquire the bomb, it is very hard to truly eliminate their nuclear weapons capacities. As a result, it is likely that preventive strikes will have to be repeated by adversaries and, for reasons we shall discuss, prevention is likely to be increasingly difficult with each successive round of preventative strikes. Two, preventive strikes against nuclear weapons programs are getting more difficult as time goes by. The recent diaspora of ex-Soviet nuclear scientists and the growing willingness of the Chinese to provide nuclear aid, and the general increase in nuclear trade and assistance has resulted in an “internationalization” of nuclear weapons knowledge. Even if preventers do manage to wipe-out a proliferator’s know-how with a preventative strike, the proliferator is increasingly able to purchase expertise on the international market. Also, proliferators and would-be proliferators increasingly are taking steps to ‘harden’ their nuclear assets against preventive strikes and they thereby further complicate prevention. Three, in any given situation of nuclear weapons development, the later it is in the proliferator’s weapons development program the greater the chance that the proliferator will have achieved some minimal nuclear weapons capability with which it can retaliate against preventers. That is, the closet proliferator is to achieving explosive capability, the greater the risk that it will be able to launch some limited nuclear retaliation. Because with Third World states even ‘limited’ retaliation with a handful of weapons can cause national devastation, this risk is especially severe for preventers in the Third World. Moreover, certain characteristics of Third World settings make it very difficult for would-be preventers to determine just how close to achieving weapons capability proliferators truly are. In such situations, preventive strikes are like rolls of the dice. These difficulties in determining proliferators’ location on the weapons development timeline, like the general difficulties in executing preventive strikes against nuclear assets, are likely to increase with each successive preventive strike the adversary is forced to make.

Political constraints check preventive war


Van Evera, “If this political penalty is small, a military first-strike advantage still provides a general first-strike advantage.” But, on the other hand, “a large political penalty can outweigh even a large military first-strike advantage, converting a military success into a general politicalmilitary failure.” 143 The relative strength of each of these contrasting elements may be impacted by the intricacies and particularities of each crisis situation. However, due to the legal and normative uncertainties of anticipatory actions, allies of the would be preemptor/preventor may decide to withhold their support. Misperception can compound the difficulties inherent in deciding if a state should engage in anticipatory military activities. Betts notes that while launching a first-strike “may be the only way to avoid the consequences of being struck first in the near future”, in the real world, “it is rarely possible to be sure that the enemy preparations for war are definite, or are aggressively motivated, rather than precautionary reactions to rising tension and fear.” 144 Others examine if the regime type of a state impacts its propensity to use anticipatory military activities. Schweller argues that there are a variety of different factors that reduce the likelihood that democracies will use anticipatory military activities, and that these factors can help explain why different states respond to the same situations in different manners, i.e., why some states preempt while others do not. There are numerous attributes of democratic states that Schweller proposes predisposes these states away from using anticipatory military activities. For instance, Schweller extrapolates Kant’s position that “public opinion inhibits democratic state actors from initiating wars expected to be of great risk and cost” to apply to “preventive war, which by its nature is risky, since it is “an unprovoked war now to avoid the risks of war under worse circumstances later.” 145 Other characteristics of democratic states that influence the use or non-use of anticipatory military activities include the civilian control over the military (which serves to mitigate the “military’s institutional preference for offensive doctrine”), 146 the knowledge that the next election is just around the corner and that wars often come with a substantial political cost and therefore “democratic elites require something more than the assumption of a potential future threat based on the projection of an irreversible decline in relative power,” 147 and finally, there are the normative and “moral” constraints imposed by the “moral values of that society.” 148 Schweller does not argue that democracies never employ anticipatory military activities, but rather that they are severely constrained with respect to which crises and situations will be conducive to their use.


Waltz 95

Kenneth Waltz, The Spread of Nuclear Weapons: A Debate, 1995 p18-19 Ajones

A number of causes combined may account for the reluctance of states to strike in order to prevent adversaries from developing nuclear forces. A preventive strike is most promising during the first stage of nuclear development. A state could strike without fearing that the country it attacked would be able to retum a nuclear blow. But would one country strike so hard as to destroy another country's potential for future nuclear development? lf it did not, the country struck could resume its nuclear career. If the blow struck is less than devastating, one must be prepared either to repeat it or to occupy and control the country. To do either would be forbiddingly difficult. In striking Iraq, Israel showed that a preventive strike can be made, something that was not in doubt. lsrael's act and its consequences, however, made clear that the likelihood of useful accomplishment is low. lsrael's action increased the determination of Arabs to produce nuclear weapons. lsrael's strike, far from foreclosing Iraq's nuclear career, gained Iraq support from some other Arab states to pursue it. Despite Prime Minister Menachem Begin's vow to strike as often as need be, the risks in doing so would have risen with each occasion. A preemptive strike launched against a country that may have a small number of warheads is even less promising than a preventive strike during the first stage. If the country attacked has even a rudimentary nuclear capability, one's own severe punishment becomes possible. Nuclear foroes are seldom delicate because no state wants delicate forces, and nuclear forces can easily be made sturdy. Nuclear warheads can be fairly small and light, and they are easy to hide and to move. Even the Model-T bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were small enough to fit into a World War Il bomber. Early in the nuclear age, people worried about atomic bombs being concealed in packing boxes and placed in the holds of ships to be exploded when a signal was given. Now, more than ever, people worry about terrorists stealing nuclear warheads because various states have so many of them. Everybody seems to believe that terrorists are capable of hiding bombs.Why should states be unable to do what terrorist gangs are thought to be capable of.

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