Prolif good – War


Asal & Beardsley Methodology Good



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Asal & Beardsley Methodology Good




Our studies are best --

1) Empirics

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)


Much of the literature on the impact of nuclear weapons does not empirically test the arguments made (Geller, 2003: 37; Huth & Russett, 1988: 34). Here, we strive to move beyond speculation to observe the impact of nuclear proliferation on the level of violence used in crises. We examine the relationship between the severity of the violence in crises in the International Crisis Behavior (ICB) dataset and the number of involved states with nuclear weapons, controlling for other factors that increase the likelihood of severe violence.1 We find that crises involving nuclear actors are more likely to end without violence. Also, as the number of nuclear actors involved in a crisis increases, the likelihood of war continues to drop. Drawing from Waltz (Sagan & Waltz, 2003) and the rational deterrence literature, we argue that states facing the possibility of a nuclear attack will be more willing to concede or back down from violent conflict.

2) Data

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)


Data and Methods International Crisis Behavior Data To study the impact of nuclear weapons on international crisis behavior, we employ the International Crisis Behavior (ICB) dataset (Brecher & Wilkenfeld, 2000). The database includes 434 international crises from 1918 to 2001. Following Huth & Russett (1990), the set of crises should be an appropriate set of cases because these are all instances in which some challenge or threat is made, and there is some possibility of deterrence success or failure. In this way, the mechanisms specific to immediate deterrence are tested, which Morgan (2003) notes are generally understudied in the deterrence literature. An actor is defined as being in crisis when some value is threatened, there is a finite time to react to the threat, and there is an increase in the perception of military hostilities.

3) Accuracy and robust results.

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)


The literature on international conflict is divided on the impact of nuclear proliferation on state conflict. The optimists' argument contends that nuclear weapons raise the stakes so high that states are unlikely to go to war when nuclear weapons enter the equation. The pessimists rebut this argument, contending that new proliferators are not necessarily rational and that having nuclear weapons does not discourage war but rather makes war more dangerous. Focusing on one observable implication from this debate, this article examines the relationship between the severity of violence in crises and the number of involved states with nuclear weapons. The study contends that actors will show more restraint in crises involving more participants with nuclear weapons. Using data from the International Crisis Behavior (ICB) project, the results demonstrate that crises involving nuclear actors are more likely to end without violence and, as the number of nuclear actors involved increases, the likelihood of war continues to fall. The results are robust even when controlling for a number of factors including non-nuclear capability. In confirming that nuclear weapons tend to increase restraint in crises, the effect of nuclear weapons on strategic behavior is clarified. But the findings do not suggest that increasing the number of nuclear actors in a crisis can prevent war, and they cannot speak to other proliferation risks.

Prolif Good – Deterrence




Nuclear weapons prevent and descalate war—deterrence, caution, lack of motivation, and miscalc

Waltz 95


Kenneth Waltz, The Spread of Nuclear Weapons: A Debate, 1995 p3 Ajones

First, war can be fought in the face of deterrent threats, but the higher the stakes and the closer a country moves toward winning them, the more surely that country invites retaliation and risks its own destruction. States are not likely to run major risks for minor gains. War between nuclear states may escalate as the loser uses larger and larger warheads. Fearing that, states will want to draw back. Not escalation but deescalation becomes likely. War remains possible, but victory in war is too dangerous to fight for. If states can score only small gains, because large ones risk retaliation, they have little incentive to fight. Second, states act with less care if the expected costs of war are low and with more care if they are high. In 1853 and 1854 Britain and France expected to win an easy victory if they went to war against Russia. Prestige abroad and political popularity at home would be gained, if not much else. The vagueness of their expectations was matched by the carelessness of their actions. ln blundering into the Crimean War, they acted hastily on scant information, pandered to their people's frenzy for war, showed more concem for an aly's whim than for the adversary's situation, failed to specify the changes in behavior that threats were supposed to bring, and inclined toward testing strength first and bargaining second in sharp contrast, the presence of nuclear weapons makes states exceedingly cautious. Think of Kennedy and Khrushchev in the Cuban missile crisis. Why fight if you can't win much and might lose everything? Third, the question demands an affirmative answer all the more insistently since the deterrent deployment of nuclear weapons contributes more to a country's security than does conquest of territory. A country with a deterrent strategy does not need the extent of territory required by a country relying on conventional defense. A deterrent strategy makes it unnecessary for a country to fight for the sake of increasing its security, and this removes a major cause of war. Fourth, deterrent effect depends both on capabilities and on the will to use them. The will of the attacked, striving to preserve its own territory, can be presumed to be stronger than the will of the attacker, striving to annex someone else's territory. Knowing this, the would-be attacker is further inhibited. Certainty about the relative strength of adversaries also makes war less likely. From the late nineteenth century onward, the speed of technological innovation increased the difficulty of estimating relative strengths and predicting the course of campaigns. Since World War Il, technological advance has been even faster, but short of a ballistic missile defense breakthrough, this has not mattered. lt did not disturb the American-Soviet military equilibrium, because one side's missiles were not made obsolete by improvements in the other side's missiles. In 1906, the British Dreadnought, with the greater range and fire power of its guns, made older battleships obsolete, This does not happen to missiles. As Bernard Brodie put it, "Weapons that do not have to fight their like do not become useless because of the advent of newer and superior types They may have to survive their like, but that is a much simpler problem to solve. Many wars might have been avoided had their outcomes been foreseen. "To be sure," Georg Simmel wrote, "the most effective presupposition for preventing struggle, the exact knowledge of the comparative strength of the two parties, is very often only to be obtained by the actual fighting out of the conflict/'° Miscalculation causes wars. One side expects victory at an affordable price, while the other side hopes to avoid defeat. Here the differences between conventional and nuclear worlds are fundamental. ln the former, states are too often tempted to act on advantages that are wishfully discerned and narrowly calculated. In 1914, neither Germany nor France tried very hard to avoid a general war. nom hoped for victory even though they believed the opposing coalitions to be quite evenly matched. In 1941, Japan, in attacking the United States, could hope for victory only if a series of events that were possible but unlikely took place, Japan hoped to grab resources sufficient for continuing its war against China and then to dig in to defend a limited perimeter. Meanwhile, the United States and Britain would have to deal with Germany, supposedly having defeated the Soviet Union and therefore supreme in Europe. Japan could then hope to fight a defensive war for a year or two until America, her purpose weakened, became willing to make a compromise peace in Asia.7 Countries more readily run the risks of war when defeat, if it comes, is distant and is expected to bring only limited damage. Given such expectations, leaders do not have to be crazy to sound the trumpet and urge their people to be bold and courageous in the pursuit of victory. The outcome of battles and the course of campaigns are hard to foresee because so many things affect them. Predicting the result of conventional wars has proved difficult. ~ 1 Uncertainty about outcomes does not work decisively against the fighting of wars in conventional worlds. Countries armed with conventional weapons go to war knowing that even in defeat their suffering will be limited. Calculations about nuclear war are differently made. A nuclear world calls for a different kind of reasoning. If countries armed with nuclear weapons go to war, they do so knowing that their suffering may be unlimited. Of course, it also may not be, but that is not the kind of uncertainty that encourages anyone to use force. ln a conventional world, one is uncertain about winning Or losing. In a nuclear world, one is uncertain about surviving or being annihilated, If force is used, and not kept within limits, catastrophe will result. That prediction is easy to make because it does not require close estimates of opposing forces. The number of one's cities that can be severely damaged is equal to the number of strategic warheads an adversary can deliver. Variations of number mean little within wide ranges. The expected effect of the deterrent achieves an easy clarity because wide margins of error in estimates of the damage one may suffer do not matter. Do we expect to lose one city or two, two cities or ten? When these are the pertinent questions, we stop thinking about running risks and start worrying about how to avoid them. ln a conventional world, deterrent threats are ineffective because the damage threatened is distant, limited, and problematic. Nuclear weapons make military miscalculation difficult and politically pertinent prediction easy.
Prolif is vital to deterrence and global stabilization.

Seng, 1998

[Jordan, PhD Candidate in Pol. Sci. – U. Chicago, Dissertation, “STRATEGY FOR PANDORA'S CHILDREN: STABLE NUCLEAR PROLIFERATION AMONG MINOR STATES”,]



In a robust deterrence framework, fear translates into stability. While stability is a hollow substitute for peace, it at least protects lives. In a world without peace -- a world of endless grievances and violent people - deterrence is a valuable thing. And nuclear weapons are excellent vessels of deterrence because they are excellent vessels of fear. Nuclear weapons are a particularly good solution to a particularly bad state of human affairs. Because this is a world without peace, and because our weapons are mostly a symptom of our violence rather than a source of it, powerful weapons systems are advisable for the sake of deterrence, and among such systems, nuclear weapons are sui generis. Particularly for weak minor states, nuclear weapons provide deterrence clout that their other relatively limited military capabilities could not sustain. But nuclear deterrence comes in better and worse forms defined by the robustness of the four elements of stabiliry that have occupied a good deal of this analysis: deterrent threat, crisis stability, control stability and arms race stability. In this volume, I have taken a proliferation situation thought by many to be insolubly unstable and shown it to be otherwise. I have argued that these nuclear deterrence relationships in the foreseeable future will be of the sound variety. Of course, the unforeseeable future looms large. Indeed, it is not the present or medium term of emerging minor proliferators that should cause concern, it is their vague and distant future, and not only theirs. As the recent history of the former Soviet empire shows, things change. As a guard against an uncertain future, it would be better if nuclear proliferation did not occur in the present. In the long view, statistics are the best ally: the fewer the nuclear states the better. But as a policy approach to a compelling present in which a certain sort of proliferation is happening among minor states, one needs a realistic approach. Proliferation is happening and we need to know how to think about it. To this end, it is imperative to note that we should not measure minor proliferators' chances for stability against their potential for duplicating the superpowers' means and methods; not should we neglect the policies available for capitalizing on "˜limited means' balances that adhere in the structural contexts of minor states. Despite vague fears about the nuclear future, we must be prepared to exploit the best parts of current nuclear scenarios. They are not going away, and one would like to make the best of a less than ideal situation. The nuclear future does not have to be bad, and to help ensure that it is not we need to correctly understand the nuclear present.

Nuclear weapons prevent and deescalate war.

Waltz 95


Kenneth Waltz, The Spread of Nuclear Weapons: A Debate, 1995 p3 Ajones

States coexist in a condition of anarchy. Self-help is the principle of action in an anarchic order, and the most important way in which states must help themselves is by providing for their own security. Therefore, in weighing the chances for peace, the first questions to ask are questions about the ends for which states use force and about the strategies and weapons they employ. The chances of peace rise if states can achieve their most important ends without using force. War becomes less likely as the costs of war rise in relation to possible gains, Strategies bring ends and means together. How nuclear weapons affect the chances for peace is seen by examining the different implications of defense and deterrence. How can one state dissuade another state from attacking? ln either or in some combination of two ways. One way to counter an intended attack is to build fortifications and to muster forces that look forbiddingly strong. To build defenses so patently strong that no one will try to destroy or overcome them would make international life perfectly tranquil. I call this the defensive ideal. The other way to counter an intended attack is to build retaliatory forces able to threaten unacceptable punishment upon a would-be aggressor. 'To deter" literally means to stop people from doing something by frightening them. ln contrast to dissuasion by defense, dissuasion by deterrence operates by frightening a state out of attacking, not because of the difficulty of launching an attack and carrying it home, but because the expected reaction of the opponent may result in one's own severe punishment. Defense and deterrence are often confused. One used to hear statements like this: "A strong defense in Europe will deter a Soviet attack." What was meant was that a strong defense would dissuade the Soviet Union from attacking. Deterrence is achieved not through the ability to defend but through the ability to punish. Purely deterrent forces provide no defense. The message of the strategy is this: "Although we are defenseless, if you attack we may punish you to an extent that more than cancels your gains." Secondstrike nuclear forces serve that kind of strategy. Purely defensive forces provide no deterrence. They offer no means of punishment, The message of the strategy is this: "Although we cannot strike back at you, you will find our defenses so difficult to overcome that you will dash yourself to pieces against them." 'Ihe Maginot Line was to serve that kind of strategy



Nuclear weapons are the best means of deterring conflict; the world before them was wrought with war


Forsyth et. al, 10 (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)

A key goal of any national security policy should be to enhance stability, where stability is defined as the absence of war or major crisis. Assuming the absence of a sudden change in the anarchic nature of the international system, any such policy should rely upon deterring potential aggressors at its base. Nuclear weapons enhance “general deterrence,” a concept defined by Patrick Morgan. “General deterrence relates to opponents who maintain armed forces to regulate their relationship even though neither is anywhere near mounting an attack” (emphasis in original).15 The goal of a general deterrent policy would be to ensure that incentives for aggression never outweigh the disincentives. In theory, nuclear weapons are better than conventional forces in terms of enhancing general deterrence. This is so because deterrence succeeds when the costs—or, more appropriately, the risks of costs—exceed any probable gains that are to be had through armed aggression. War has been such a common international phenomenon throughout the centuries because some decision makers have concluded that the benefits of aggression would outweigh its costs.16 Such a conclusion can be reached all the more easily when it is believed that victory on the battlefield can be attained quickly and decisively, and there are many historical examples from which decision makers can choose in order to bolster their confidence—from Bismarck’s wars against Denmark, the Austrian Empire, and France to Iraq’s conquest of Kuwait and its eviction by UN coalition forces. Injecting the possible use of nuclear weapons by the defending state into the equation, however, can alter these calculations considerably. The possession of a sizable nuclear arsenal by a defender, as well as the means to deliver these weapons to the battlefield or the aggressor’s homeland, makes the risks of aggression much greater and the potential costs much starker. This is because the possession of nuclear weapons tends to equalize the power of states, although not to the absolute degree that some would argue—attributes of national power such as geographic size, population, industrial capacity, GNP, and others still weigh heavily in any assessment of national power. Nonetheless, this equalizing tendency objectively manifests itself in two ways. On the battlefield, nuclear weapons can enhance the power of a smaller conventional force considerably. And in terms of absolute destructive power, only a finite amount of damage is necessary to destroy a modern state as a functioning entity.17 Provided that two states are capable of developing the means to reliably deliver at least “enough” nuclear weapons to their adversary’s homeland to “assure” its destruction, then, in a relative way, the two states can be considered equally powerful.

Prolif good -- creates stability through state survival and deters conventional and nuclear conflict through balancing.


Monteiro 11 - Nuno P., Assistant Professor of Political Science at Yale University (June 13, 2011, “BALANCING ACT WHY UNIPOLARITY MAY BE DURABLE,” http://www.nunomonteiro.org/wp-content/uploads/Nuno-Monteiro-Balancing-Act-20110613.pdf)

In a nuclear world, the primary end of states (survival) can be achieved through means (developing a nuclear arsenal) that require no push for a shift in the systemic balance of power. In fact, the pursuit of an overall (i.e., nuclear and conventional) balance of power between nuclear states for the purposes of guaranteeing state survival is futile at best and dangerous at worst. Since two nuclear states are unlikely to go to war with each other and, in any case, such a war would threaten the survival of both regardless of the conventional balance of power between them, further conventional balancing efforts between them would be futile. They could also be dangerous because the acquisition of conventional forces capable of being used against another nuclear state could be perceived by the latter as indicative of aggressive intentions, triggering preemptive action. This line of reasoning highlights the theoretical contradiction underlying mechanistic understandings of the formation of systemic balances of power. In Craig’s words, the balance-of-power logic “is based ultimately upon a great power’s readiness to wage major war.” 26 The logical steps entailed in this assertion are: states care about their survival, therefore they must be able credibly to threaten potential predators with high costs in case of a major war, and the only way of doing so is to balance until they possess as much or more power than any such potentially predatory state. In a nuclear world, however, no greatpower war is winnable. As Robert Jervis showed, survivable nuclear weapons make all-out great-power war unwinnable. 27 This means that major war in a nuclear world endangers a state’s existence, jeopardizing the initial premise -- a preeminent interest in state survival -- of the argument that led to balancing in the first place. Consequently, any threat of major war issued by a nuclear state against another nuclear state is itself a threat to the threatening state’s survival -- no less of a threat than any threat a predatory state might pose to its existence. In sum, as Craig points out, nuclear technology makes the ultima ratio of international politics -- the ability to wage major war rather than allow an adversary to threaten a state’s existence -- absurd. It is, as Bismarck would put it, suicide for fear of death. Furthermore, as Jervis has also argued, invulnerable nuclear arsenals make it very difficult to prevent any war between great powers from escalating into a total nuclear war. In my view, Jervis is right in eschewing the effects of the so-called “stability-instability paradox.” 28 As Jervis explains, the stability-instability paradox is less valid than usually argued because all-out war is the result of “a dynamic process in which both sides get more and more deeply involved, more and more expectant, more and more concerned not to be a slow second in case the war starts.” 29 For a nuclear war to remain limited, and therefore winnable, “one side must accept defeat while it still possesses the military capability to destroy its opponents easily.” 30 This violates proposition (1) -- the only that remains unaltered in my revised logic of balancing -- that states care first and foremost about their own survival. Nuclear weapons therefore give paramount practical import to the distinction Nexon established between theories of balancing and balance-of-power theories. For him, the extant literature often conflates the two, despite their lack of logical coherence. As Nexon sees it, and I concur, theories that explain the conditions that lead states to adopt a strategy of balancing and the ways in which they implement such a strategy (i.e., theories of balancing) are logically independent from theories that explain the formation of systemic balance of power (i.e., balance-of-power theories). 31 In his own words, “[e]ven theories that posit the ubiquity of balancing strategies need not imply that these strategies aggregate into systemic power balances.” 32 Such is the case with the theory laid out in this article. Balancing may be a common strategy of states and still the international system as a whole might be persistently out of balance. Nuclear weapons bring this disjunction into bold relief. Craig pointed in this direction in his Glimmer of a New Leviathan. His work attempts to update realist thinking for the nuclear age. Rather than proclaiming that nuclear weapons have made the nation-state obsolete 33 , Craig argues that, faced with the omnicidal potential of thermonuclear weapons, realists were led “to glimpse -- not to design, to glimpse -- a new, that is, unforeseen, political process whereby a condition of anarchy evolves into a new Leviathan: a world state that comes into being merely because of the prospect of a nuclear war of all against all.” 34 My view is that Niebuhr and Morgenthau, the realists who, to use Craig’s phrase, glimpsed this new leviathan, got it wrong. Nuclear weapons do indeed provide the “glimmer of a new leviathan,” but this leviathan does not come in the form of a world state. Rather, it comes in a transformation of the structure of the international system that attenuates the impact of anarchy in the affairs of great (and major) powers. Specifically, nuclear weapons guarantee that no state that values first and foremost its own survival will threaten the survival of a nuclear state. Rather than producing the conditions of possibility for the emergence of a global state, nuclear weapons, then, attenuate the conditions that, from the point of view of state survival, led to the prescription of a global state as the solution. Nuclear weapons are therefore an element of the structure of (international) politics that increase the odds of peace (at least among the nuclear states). They are, in this sense, the new leviathan: the (granted, partial) solution to the problems created by international anarchy. 3 More problematic, though, is what Craig’s argument means for the structural balance-of power theory of Kenneth Waltz. Craig’s work illuminates the tension between Waltz’s 1979 and 1981 works. In the former, his Theory of International Politics, Waltz lays out how the ever present ultima ratio of international politics -- the specter of total war -- leads to the recurrence of balances of power. 36 Wars among great powers are unlikely, yet they are made possible by the anarchical system. In the latter, his argument in “The Spread of Nuclear Weapons: Why More May Be Better,” Waltz makes the case for how the spread of nuclear weapons, with their insurmountable defensive advantage, would have a pacifying effect on the international system. 37 Wars among great powers become all but impossible, despite the anarchical international system. Craig is cognizant of the devastating effect of this latter argument on Waltz’s earlier theory: The spread of nuclear weapons would create defensive, conservative, and secure states, assured of their long-term survival and mindful of the extreme risks associated with aggression and conquest. International politics could thereby approach the ‘defensive ideal’: a condition in which anarchy is not eliminated but rather adapted to by defensive-minded states so thoroughly as to make offensive wars exceedingly irrational and hence extremely unlikely. 38 Interestingly for the issue at hand, Waltz’s argument on the benefits of the spread of nuclear weapons can also serve as an adjudicator between the two factors Waltz pointed to as pillars of “bipolar stability” -- bipolarity and nuclear weapons. If one takes his argument on nuclear weapons seriously, it appears that nuclear weapons, not bipolarity, were doing most of the work in the so-called “bipolar stability” era. 39 As Craig notes, in a world of secure nuclear states, “bipolarity, multipolarity -- any kind of balance of power -- would become much less important.” 4




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