Intelligence over-confidence means they'll chance preemptive strikes.
Russell ‘3 (Richard, Prof. Nat’l. Sec. Affairs – National Defense U. Near East and South Asia Center for Strategic Studies and Adjunct Prof. Security Studies in Center for Peace and Security Studies – Georgetown U. Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Journal of Strategic Studies, “The Nuclear Peace Fallacy: How Deterrence Can Fail”, 26:1, March, InformaWorld)
Major regional powers might one day be overly confident in the quality of their intelligence. It is entirely possible that a nuclear-armed state might obtain raw intelligence or form intelligence analyses that confidently identify the locations of an adversary's nuclear weapons inventories and delivery systems. In the heat of an escalating crisis, leaders might seize on such intelligence as justification for a bold military action, calculating that great risk is required in warfare to achieve strategic success. They might judge that the prospect of destroying an adversary's nuclear weapons and delivery vehicles on the ground - coupled with the fear that the window of opportunity would be rapidly closing and that a delay might increase their own vulnerability to attack - would necessitate a pre-emptive attack. Nuclear weapons inventories may in fact be vulnerable to pre-emptive action. Pakistan, for example, in November 2001 in the midst of the American military campaign against the Taliban and the Al-Qaeda network in neighboring Afghanistan was sufficiently anxious about the vulnerability of its nuclear weapons that President Musharraf ordered an emergency redeployment of the country's nuclear arsenal.'Wajor regional powers today - with smaller geographic areas, limited nuclear inventories and fewer military infrastructures such as airbases for delivery systems - are more vulnerable to preventive and pre-emptive strikes than the United States and the Soviet Union were during the Cold War.
Goldstein ‘3 (Lyle, Associate Prof. Strat. Studies and Vice-Chair Eurasia Studies Group – US Naval War College, Political Science Quarterly, “Do nascent WMD arsenals deter? The Sino-Soviet crisis of 1969”, 118:1, Spring, Proquest)
This article has aimed at a clearer understanding of the Sino-Soviet crisis of 1969 in the hopes of contributing to the theoretical debate about the impact of WMD proliferation on international affairs. While archives remain closed precluding definitive conclusions at this point and for the foreseeable future, I have attempted to employ second-best sources: the testimony of both Russian and Chinese scholars and policy makers. After suggesting that Soviet leaders appear to have seriously considered a preventive strike against China's nuclear facilities, this article has investigated five hypotheses for explaining why the Soviets ultimately opted against such an attack. The testimony presented here challenges the conventional explanation for Soviet restraint.122 While the proliferation optimist explanation of the Sino-Soviet crisis of 1969 cannot be ruled out entirely, available evidence suggests that scholars should be cautious about accepting the optimist interpretation that nuclear weapons restrained the Sino-Soviet conflict in 1969. Recall that in the wake of the Cuban Missile Crisis, scholars and policy makers on both sides tended to reify the role of nuclear weapons, hoping that nuclear balance could undergird cold war stability. In this case, however, both Russian and Chinese specialists deny that nuclear weapons played a stabilizing role in the crisis. Rather, the leading authorities in both countries-Russia's Lev Deluisin and Victor Gobarev, in addition to China's Li Danhui and Yang Kuisong-say that China's nascent nuclear arsenal was vulnerable and destabilizing. As with China's minimal nuclear deterrent, the role of the United States also appears to have been exaggerated. The United States had neither the capability nor the will to directly participate in such a conflict. The evidence for a norms-based explanation is slender, but it remains plausible. In a situation where nuclear weapons appeared to offer the most efficient solution for destroying China's nuclear infrastructure, the suggestion that Soviet plans for a conventional attack reached the advanced planning stages may have significant theoretical meaning. One could hypothesize, based on this case, that proliferation may indeed spur conflict, but it is likely to follow the pattern of the Israeli attack on Osirak in 1981, that is to say, preventive attacks will likely be conventional because of norms that restrict nuclear first use. Regarding the impact of the conventional balance, the evidence remains indeterminate. However, there is sufficient evidence for Chinese strength to question the hypothesis that Soviet conventional superiority obviated the necessity for considering preventive war. China's unique resilience to attack, established by its large, hardy rural population and extensive experience with prolonged guerrilla warfare, is the singularly most persuasive explanation. Thus, we recall how General Bolyatko asserts, "[War with China] would have been disastrous . . . the factor of numbers . . . [the prospect of] partisan war . . . that was important."123 Gaiduk offers, "What good would it have done to strike China with its vast population and territory? . . . The Chinese did not even fear it."124 Moreover, Kapitsa's, Elizavetin's, and Li Jinjie's descriptions of the Kosygin-Zhou negotiations suggest that China's most decisive card to play during the crisis was not China's nascent nuclear arsenal, but rather the threat to "fight to the end." Despite presenting some tentative support for the strength of nonuse norms, the overall conclusion of this study is rather alarming. During the crisis of 1969, China does appear to have passed through an extremely volatile valley of vulnerability. For China, it was the second crossing of this dangerous valley: serious tensions with the United States developed over the Chinese nuclear weapons program during the early and mid-1960s.125 Nor is China the only state to have made such a crossing.126 This reevaluation of the Sino-Soviet crisis of 1969 has been undertaken in the hopes of reaching a deeper understanding of potential conflict dynamics between asymmetric WMD powers. Consistent with the hypotheses of the proliferation pessimists, the evidence presented here suggests that states possessing small arsenals of weapons of mass destruction, but which lack China's peculiar strengths, have cause to fear. From a purely structural standpoint (capabilities), the Soviet relationship with the "rogue" China of the 1960s is analogous to America's relationship with rogue proliferators today. Both sets of relationships are characterized by radical WMD asymmetries. But today's rogue proliferators are considerably weaker than China was in 1969, and the United States is also much stronger than was the Soviet Union in 1969. Thus, in present circumstances, the asymmetries are even more radical. The pattern of U.S. confrontation with rogue WMD proliferators during the 1990s appears to be the result of instability that is inherent to the structural condition of radical WMD asymmetry. With reference to rogue proliferators, the present administration has argued that the "United States cannot remain idle while dangers gather."127 However, the underlying structural conditions of this new environment were aptly described in the early 1990s by a senior Defense Department official of the Clinton administration: "The United States now needs to take a fresh look at the feasibility and desirability of both the preventive war and preemption options against new nuclear weapon states. Their nuclear programs or arsenals will certainly be smaller than those of the former Soviet Union. . . . They may be more vulnerable to attack."128 Observers watching simultaneous proliferation crises unfold in the Persian Gulf and on the Korean Peninsula have perhaps been too hasty in suggesting that Pyongyang's alleged nascent nuclear capability explains the Administration's softer approach to that problem. A variety of factors restrain current U.S. action against North Korea, but surely the best explanation is tactical: no country would choose to fight two wars at the same time. When the Persian Gulf is quiet, Pyongyang's day of reckoning may well have come. The President's "axis of evil" doctrine illustrates that the U.S. is willing to bear substantial risks in order to neutralize the threat posed by rogue proliferators.*