Prolif good – War



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Prolif Bad (Sokolski)

A proliferated world would risk escalatory regional nuclear wars.

Sokolski, 2009 


[Henry, Ex. Dir. Nonproliferation Policy Education Center and served on the US congressional commission on the prevention of weapons of mass destruction proliferation and terrorism, Policy Review, “FEATURES: Avoiding a Nuclear Crowd”, June/July, http://www.hoover.org/publications/policyreview/46390537.html]

There are limits, however, to what this approach can accomplish. Such a weak alliance system, with its expanding set of loose affiliations, risks becoming analogous to the international system that failed to contain offensive actions prior to World War I. Unlike 1914, there is no power today that can rival the projection of U.S. conventional forces anywhere on the globe. But in a world with an increasing number of nuclear-armed or nuclear-ready states, this may not matter as much as we think. In such a world, the actions of just one or two states or groups that might threaten to disrupt or overthrow a nuclear weapons state could check U.S. influence or ignite a war Washington could have difficulty containing. No amount of military science or tactics could assure that the U.S. could disarm or neutralize such threatening or unstable nuclear states.22  Nor could diplomats or our intelligence services be relied upon to keep up to date on what each of these governments would be likely to do in such a crisis (see graphic below): Combine these proliferation trends with the others noted above and one could easily create the perfect nuclear storm: Small differences between nuclear competitors that would put all actors on edge; an overhang of nuclear materials that could be called upon to break out or significantly ramp up existing nuclear deployments; and a variety of potential new nuclear actors developing weapons options in the wings. In such a setting, the military and nuclear rivalries between states could easily be much more intense than before. Certainly each nuclear state’s military would place an even higher premium than before on being able to weaponize its military and civilian surpluses quickly, to deploy forces that are survivable, and to have forces that can get to their targets and destroy them with high levels of probability. The advanced military states will also be even more inclined to develop and deploy enhanced air and missile defenses and long-range, precision guidance munitions, and to develop a variety of preventative and preemptive war options. Certainly, in such a world, relations between states could become far less stable. Relatively small developments — e.g., Russian support for sympathetic near-abroad provinces; Pakistani-inspired terrorist strikes in India, such as those experienced recently in Mumbai; new Indian flanking activities in Iran near Pakistan; Chinese weapons developments or moves regarding Taiwan; state-sponsored assassination attempts of key figures in the Middle East or South West Asia, etc. — could easily prompt nuclear weapons deployments with “strategic” consequences (arms races, strategic miscues, and even nuclear war). As Herman Kahn once noted, in such a world “every quarrel or difference of opinion may lead to violence of a kind quite different from what is possible today.”23  In short, we may soon see a future that neither the proponents of nuclear abolition, nor their critics, would ever want.  

Prolif Bad (Roberts)




In the new world order proliferation will be rapid and destabilizing – even Waltz assumes proliferation is slow


Roberts ’99 (Brad, Member of Research Staff – Institute for Defense Analyses & editorial Board of Nonproliferation Review, Nonproliferation Review, “VIEWPOINT: PROLIFERATION AND NONPROLIFERATION IN THE 1990S: LOOKING FOR THE RIGHT LESSONS”, Volume 6, Fall, http://cns.miis.edu/pubs/npr/vol06/64/robert64.pdf)

This brings us then to the question of what is at stake in the effort to combat proliferation. There are two stan- dard answers to the question of what’s at stake: human lives, and stability. NBC weapons are weapons of mass destruction—all of them, though in different ways. The most deadly of these weapons systems can kill millions—and much more quickly than conventional weaponry (though it too is capable of killing millions). A regional war em- ploying mass destruction as a matter of course could cause suffering and death unknown in human experi- ence. Such a war would cast a harsh light on the argu- ment now in vogue that landmines, small arms, even machetes in the hands of drunk young men are the real weapons of mass destruction. Strictly from the perspec- tive of limiting the effects of war, then, the world com- munity has an interest in preventing the emergence of an international system in which the possession and use of NBC weapons is accepted as normal and custom- ary. The stability argument relates to the unintended con- sequences associated with acquiring weapons of mass destruction. It focuses on the weapons-acquiring state and its neighbors and the risk of war that grows among them, including both preemptive and accidental wars. Although it is an old truism that proliferation is destabi- lizing, it is not always true—not where the acquisition of strategic leverage is essential to preservation of a bal- ance of power that deters conflict and that is used to create the conditions of a more enduring peace. But those circumstances have proven remarkably rare. In- stead, the risks associated with the competitive acquisi- tion of strategic capabilities have typically been seen to outweigh the perceived benefits to states that have con- sidered nuclear weapons acquisition. Argentina and Bra- zil, for example, like Sweden and Australia before them, have gotten out of the nuclear weapons business because they see no reason to live at the nuclear brink even if living there is within their reach. But the standard answers don’t really take us very far into this problem any more. To grasp the full stake re- quires a broader notion of stability—and an apprecia- tion of the particular historical moment in which we find ourselves. It is an accident of history that the diffusion of dual-use capabilities is coterminous with the end of the Cold War. That diffusion means that we are moving irreversibly into an international system in which the wildfire-like spread of weapons is a real possibility. The end of the Cold War has brought with it great volatility in the relations of major and minor powers in the inter- national system. What then is at stake? In response to some catalytic event, entire regions could rapidly cross the threshold from latent to extant weapons capability, and from co- vert to overt postures, a process that would be highly competitive and risky, and which likely would spill over wherever the divides among regions are not tidy. This would sorely test Ken Waltz’s familiar old heresy that “more may be better”7—indeed, even Waltz assumed proliferation would be stabilizing only if it is gradual, and warned against the rapid spread of weapons to mul- tiple states. At the very least, this would fuel NBC ter- rorism, as a general proliferation of NBC weaponry would likely erode the constraints that heretofore have inhibited states from sponsoring terrorist use of these capabilities. Given its global stature and media culture, America would be a likely target of some of these ter- rorist actions.



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