Prolif good – War



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AT Rationality Checks




Rationality of states is irrelevant – even the tiny possibility of miscalculation or misunderstandings would plunge the world into the dark ages


Robock 10 (Alan, Professor of Environmental Sciences at Rutgers University, editor of Reviews of Geophysics, PhD from MIT in meteorology and fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, “Nuclear Winter”, May, Wiley Periodicals)

The Cold War is over, but many of the nuclear weapons produced during that period remain. The US and Russia are very slowly reducing the numbers of weapons, but each still maintains an arsenal far larger than necessary to produce nuclear winter. No current leader of the US or Russia would use nuclear weapons, but their existence alone makes the possibility of nuclear winter in the future possible if a crazy person or computer error or misunderstanding caused their use. The only solution is to reduce the number of weapons to a level that will still provide a deterrent, but will not create a nuclear winter should they ever be used. Reducing these numbers to a level below which they could produce a global climatic catastrophe, as Sagan was fond of saying, is a matter of elementary planetary hygiene. This number is around a few hundred, the same number of weapons that Britain, France, and China have had in each of their arsenals for decades, and a number they have deemed more than sufficient to maintain a credible defense of their countries. This is also the number Admiral Stansfield Turner,42 former Director of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), argued for on other grounds, in 1997. The United States dropped two atomic bombs on innocent people in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, in 1945 in the first nuclear war; since then, in spite of the massive buildup of these weapons, they have never been used in war again. Nuclear winter theory now shows not only that the superpowers still threaten the existence of the rest of the world, but also that the newly emergent nuclear powers now threaten the former superpowers, perhaps not with extinction, but with serious consequences including drought and famine. Eliminating the nuclear weapons will eliminate the possibility of this climatic catastrophe. If they exist, they can be used.17,43 Rapid reduction of the American and Russian nuclear arsenals will set an example for the rest of the world that nuclear weapons cannot be used and are not needed.



AT Realism




Realism fails in the context of nuclear proliferation

a. Bias

Cimbala 4 – Professor of Political Science at Pennsylvania State University, author of books and articles in professional journals on topics related to national security, he has served as a consultant on arms control to the US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, US Department of State, and private defense contractors (Stephen J., Defense & Security Analysis, “Nuclear proliferation and international systems,” vol. 20, issue 4, , 12/01/2004, http://dl2af5jf3e.search.serialssolutions.com.proxy.lib.umich.edu/?ctx_ver=Z39.88-2004&ctx_enc=info%3Aofi%2Fenc%3AUTF-8&rfr_id=info:sid/summon.serialssolutions.com&rft_val_fmt=info:ofi/fmt:kev:mtx:journal&rft.genre=article&rft.atitle=Nuclear+proliferation+and+international+systems&rft.jtitle=Defense+%26+Security+Analysis&rft.au=Cimbala%2C+Stephen&rft.date=2004-12-01&rft.issn=1475-1798&rft.volume=20&rft.issue=4&rft.spage=321&rft.epage=336&rft_id=info:doi/10.1080%2F1475179042000305787&rft.externalDBID=DFSA&rft.externalDocID=10_1080_1475179042000305787 /mr)

The first problem for some important RIST theorists is that, in crossing from the world of abstraction to the universe of actual policy-making, their assumptions introduce hidden biases. Assumptions that do no damage in the world of models (where all assumptions are equal, as all angels in heaven have wings) can be pathologically misguided when they leak into policy-derived explanations or predictions. For example, Kenneth Waltz explicitly compares the behaviors of states in an international system to the behavior of firms in a market. As the market forces firms into a common mode of rational decision-making in order to survive, so, too, does the international system, according to Waltz, dictate similar constraints upon the behavior of states. The analogy, however, is wrong. The international system does not dominate its leading state actors: leading states define the parameters of the system. The international system, unlike the theoretical free market, is sub-system dominant. The "system" or composite of interactions among units is the cross product of the separate behaviors of the units.* International politics is a game of oligopoly, in which the few rule the many. Because this is so, there cannot be any "system" to which the leading oligopolists, unlike the remainder of the states, are subject against their wishes. The system is driven by the 324 • STEPHEN J. CIMBALA preferred ends and means of its leading members on issues that are perceived as vital interests to those states or as important, although not necessary vital.' Realists, especially structural realists who emphasize the number of powers and their polarities as determinants of peace and war, assume that some "system" of interactions exists independently of the states that make it up. This is a useful heuristic for theorists, but a very mistaken view of the way in which policy is actually made in international affairs. Because realists insist upon reification of the system independently of the principal actors within the system, they miss the sub-systemic dominance built into the international order. Napoleon Bonaparte and Adolph Hitler, for example, saw the international order not as a system that would constrain their objectives and ambitions, but as a series of swinging doors, each awaiting a fateful, aggressive push. If the international "system" were as determinant as systems theorists insist, Iraq would neither have defied the UN Security Council in 1991, nor would Saddam Hussein have dug in his heels in Baghdad in 2002 in the face of George W. Bush's undisguised determination to bring down his government and dispatch him to the nether regions. Hussein's intransigence following his invasion of Kuwait in 1991 stared down a united coalition of the world's greatest military powers, including a united NATO and most of the Arab world, and forced a UN-authorized military operation to restore the status quo ante in Kuwait. A much weaker Hussein, after more than a decade of economic strangulation, no-fly zones and attempted diplomatic isolation, nonetheless managed to divide diplomatically the UN Security Council and NATO in 2003, forcing the United States to relent or invade with a minimum "coalition of the willing". Systems theorists might object that they cannot be expected to make point predictions about individual decisions at a particular time. But Hussein's defiance of international opinion and threats of force, as well as his willingness to go to war against enemies with overwhelming power, occurred over more than a decade of activity in international relations. During this time Hussein was the closest thing imaginable to an internationally convicted felon. Yet he stood tall in the face of systemic seismic shifts, including American military unipolarity. Attempts by RIST theorists to circumvent some explanatory problems create others. As Robert Jervis has noted, one can divide international systems theorists according to whether the "system" is treated as an independent variable, as a dependent variable, or as both.'* Waltz contends that the most important causes of international behavior reside in the structure of the international system, i.e., in the number of powers and in their positions relative to one another.' Jervis notes that Waltz's structure omits some important variables and processes that are neither at the system nor actor level: for example, technology and the degree and kind of international interdependence.
b. It confuses formal and efficient causes – RIST is only applicable to conventional deterrence

Cimbala 4 – Professor of Political Science at Pennsylvania State University, author of books and articles in professional journals on topics related to national security, he has served as a consultant on arms control to the US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, US Department of State, and private defense contractors (Stephen J., Defense & Security Analysis, “Nuclear proliferation and international systems,” vol. 20, issue 4, , 12/01/2004, http://dl2af5jf3e.search.serialssolutions.com.proxy.lib.umich.edu/?ctx_ver=Z39.88-2004&ctx_enc=info%3Aofi%2Fenc%3AUTF-8&rfr_id=info:sid/summon.serialssolutions.com&rft_val_fmt=info:ofi/fmt:kev:mtx:journal&rft.genre=article&rft.atitle=Nuclear+proliferation+and+international+systems&rft.jtitle=Defense+%26+Security+Analysis&rft.au=Cimbala%2C+Stephen&rft.date=2004-12-01&rft.issn=1475-1798&rft.volume=20&rft.issue=4&rft.spage=321&rft.epage=336&rft_id=info:doi/10.1080%2F1475179042000305787&rft.externalDBID=DFSA&rft.externalDocID=10_1080_1475179042000305787 /mr)

A second problem in RIST theories is the confusion or conflation of formal and efficient causes. System polarity is virtually identical with system structure in many RIST arguments. But this near-identity of polarity and structure is flawed. Polarity is more the result of past state and non-state actor behaviors than it is the cause of future behaviors. Cold War bipolarity was the result of World War II, of nuclear weapons, and NUCLEAR PROLIFERATION AND INTERNATIONAL SYSTEMS • 325 of the fact that leaders perceived correctly the futility of starting World War III in Europe. Leaders' perceptions of the balance of power are an intervening variable between polarity and outcomes such as stability, including peace or war. In other words, leaders' perceptions, including their risk aversion or risk acceptance, are the efficient causes for international bebavior: "systems" and polarity are formal causes. The difference between efficient and formal causes is important for theories that purport to be empirically testable. Formal causes are proved by an abstract process that follows a deductive chain of reasoning. Efficient causes are demonstrated by observation of temporal sequences and bebavioral effects. International systems theorists who emphasize the importance of structure have been more successful at proving formal than efficient causes. There is merit in doing so, and Waltz and others who have argued from this perspective deserve credit for their rigor and for the insights derived from their perspective.' The danger for international systems theorists lies in transferring inferences from the realm of deductive logic to the world of policy explanation and prediction. For example. Waltz argues both that, because there were only two Cold War superpowers, each had to balance against the other at virtually any point; and disputes among their allies could not drag the US and Soviets into war because they could satisfy their deterrence requirements through internal balancing, rather than alliance aggregation.'" The first argument is at least partly inconsistent with the second, and neither is confirmed by Cold War evidence. The US and Soviets sometimes conceded important disputes to one another in order to avoid the possibility of inadvertent war or escalation, as in the US refusal to expand the ground war in Vietnam on account of expected Soviet and Chinese reactions. And allies sometimes did drag the superpowers into crisis and under credible threat of war, as the Israelis and Egyptians did in 1973. Despite these logical problems in RIST, it remains influential as time passes for two reasons. First, international relations and security studies are as subject as are other fields to bandwagoning effects. Prominent ideas gather new adherents in leading graduate schools, and the products of those graduate schools carry the ideas far and wide into the profession, like St Paul's missionary journeys in Asia Minor. Second, RIST does have one major virtue. Unlike the majority of social science theories applied to international politics and foreign policy, it is self-consciously aware of the importance of military history and of strategy. John Mearsheimer's The Tragedy of Great Power Politics, previously cited, is exemplary of RIST theorists' ability to mine history for pertinent lessons about policy. These "positives" about RIST might balance its negatives in a world made up of only non-nuclear powers (before World War II) or of only two nuclear superpowers (the Cold War). But an emerging landscape of "n" nuclear-armed state and non-state actors changes the context within which prior arguments worked. RIST works (conditionally) in a world of conventional deterrence, where great powers can still fight major wars at an acceptable cost. Nuclear weapons change this calculation. One might save RIST in a world of nuclear plenty by arguing that nuclear deterrence replaces conventional war fighting as the major stabilizing dynamic. But this argument cannot fast-forward from a bipolar nuclear world into a multi-polar system for reasons that RIST theorists themselves have acknowledged: multi-polar systems, especially those that are unbalanced, are more war prone than are bipolar systems."

c. structural weaknesses


Cimbala 96 – Professor of Political Science at Pennsylvania State University, author of books and articles in professional journals on topics related to national security, he has served as a consultant on arms control to the US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, US Department of State, and private defense contractors (Stephen J., Armed Forces & Society, “Proliferation and peace: An agnostic view,” vol. 22, issue 1, , 1996, http://dl2af5jf3e.search.serialssolutions.com.proxy.lib.umich.edu/?ctx_ver=Z39.88-2004&ctx_enc=info%3Aofi%2Fenc%3AUTF-8&rfr_id=info:sid/summon.serialssolutions.com&rft_val_fmt=info:ofi/fmt:kev:mtx:journal&rft.genre=article&rft.atitle=Proliferation+and+peace%3A+An+agnostic+view&rft.jtitle=ARMED+FORCES+%26+SOCIETY&rft.au=Cimbala%2C+SJ&rft.date=1996-02-01&rft.pub=TRANSACTION+PERIOD+CONSORTIUM&rft.issn=0095-327X&rft.volume=22&rft.issue=2&rft.spage=211&rft.epage=211&rft.externalDBID=GARM&rft.externalDocID=9302139 /mr)

The Realist Perspective: Strengths and Weaknesses The realist perspective is frequently associated with and defined by three basic postulates about international relations.(2) First, states wish to preserve their autonomy. To do so, they often seek to balance contending powers in international rivalries to prevent any single state or coalition from attaining a hegemonic position. Second, power is measurable or, at least, comparable in units of consensual understanding. Thus, if one state holds more military power than another, both will understand that this gives the more powerful state an advantage in situations of conflict or potential conflict. For realists, this is a strong argument for connecting nuclear weapons with peace. Nuclear weapons make power immediately commensurable: few doubt that even a small number of nuclear explosions can cause unacceptable damage.(3) Third, states seek to advance their interests, but at a risk and cost that are manageable.(4) This postulate implies a different logic for deterrent nuclear forces than for conventional defense forces. Deterrent forces depend upon the expected probability of unacceptable retaliation for the attacker. Conventional forces depend upon the probability that the defender may prevail, at an acceptable cost, in battle against would-be attackers.(5) When we assume that states carefully weigh their risks before attacking and that the logic of nuclear deterrence supersedes the logic of conventional defense, the result is a glacial standoff in which nuclear weapons remain poised in their silos ready to be used in a moment that everybody hopes will never come. Taken together, these postulates support arguments that the post-Cold War world may be compatible with a hitherto unknown, and unacceptable, degree of nuclear weapons spread.(6) The arguments seem persuasive to those who believe that these fundamental tenets of realism best explain outcomes in international relations. Nevertheless, when we carefully examine their application to the problem of nuclear deterrence stability, the resulting realist model encounters significant theoretical limitations. Three questionable premises receive attention here: that a general theory of deterrence can be built on exceptional cases; that one can transfer parsimonious explanations from economic theory to international politics with equal explanatory power; and, that theories of general deterrence can adequately explain the behavior of states in immediate deterrence situations.
d. Economics prove Waltz’s analogy doesn’t apply

Cimbala 96 – Professor of Political Science at Pennsylvania State University, author of books and articles in professional journals on topics related to national security, he has served as a consultant on arms control to the US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, US Department of State, and private defense contractors (Stephen J., Armed Forces & Society, “Proliferation and peace: An agnostic view,” vol. 22, issue 1, , 1996, http://dl2af5jf3e.search.serialssolutions.com.proxy.lib.umich.edu/?ctx_ver=Z39.88-2004&ctx_enc=info%3Aofi%2Fenc%3AUTF-8&rfr_id=info:sid/summon.serialssolutions.com&rft_val_fmt=info:ofi/fmt:kev:mtx:journal&rft.genre=article&rft.atitle=Proliferation+and+peace%3A+An+agnostic+view&rft.jtitle=ARMED+FORCES+%26+SOCIETY&rft.au=Cimbala%2C+SJ&rft.date=1996-02-01&rft.pub=TRANSACTION+PERIOD+CONSORTIUM&rft.issn=0095-327X&rft.volume=22&rft.issue=2&rft.spage=211&rft.epage=211&rft.externalDBID=GARM&rft.externalDocID=9302139 /mr)

Economic Analogies The second major set of theoretical problems with nuclear realism lies in the adaptation of arguments from microeconomic theory to theories of interstate relations. Waltz explicitly compares the behaviors of states in an international system to the behavior of firms in a market. As the market forces firms into a common mode of rational decision making in order to survive, so, too, does the international system, according to Waltz, dictate similar constraints upon the behavior of states.(9) The analogy, however, is wrong. The international system does not dominate its leading state actors: leading states define the parameters of the system. The international system, unlike the theoretical free market, is subsystem dominant. International politics is a game of oligopoly, in which the few rule the many. Because this is so, there cannot be any "system" to which the leading oligopolists, unlike the remainder of the states, are subject. The system is determined by the preferred ends and means of its leading members. Structural realists assume that some system of interactions exists independently of the states which make it up. This is a useful heuristic for theorists, but a very mistaken view of the way in which policy is actually made in international affairs. Because realists insist upon reification of the system independently of the principal actors within the system, they miss the subsystemic dominance built into the international order.(l0) An important test of whether meaningful theory can proceed on the basis of the realist, or realpolitik, premise of system separateness, or whether domestic political forces must also be taken into account by theorists, is to test realist and domestic/constrained hypotheses against historical evidence. According to Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and David Lalman, the realist perspective as formalized in their models is not supported by the past two centuries' experience of interstate behavior.(l1) The authors deduce an "acquiescence impossibility" theorem which shows that, in a logically developed game structure based on realist assumptions, it is impossible for one state to acquiesce to the demands of another "regardless of the beliefs held by the rivals, regardless of the initial demand made by one of the states, and regardless of initial endowments of capabilities, coalitional support, propensities to take risks, or anything else."(12) None of the deductions derived from the realist or neorealist versions of their international interactions game, according to Bueno de Mesquita and Lalman, were supported in the empirical data set that included 707 dyadic interactions.(13) One might argue, in defense of realists on this point, that the assumption of system determinism is a useful falsehood. It allows for parsimony of expression through focus on the essential attributes of an international system. But the assumption of "apartness" of the system and its essential state or nonstate actors is only useful, and methodologically defensible, if it leads to insights that are both accurate and not otherwise attainable. Neither exceptional accuracy nor exceptional attainability of insight has been demonstrated by realists for the assumption of system and actor "apartness." This is probably one reason why traditional realists, as opposed to modern structural and other neorealists, do not exclude what Waltz, in another study, refers to as first and second image variables.(14) Realism fails to explain the high degree of international cooperation that takes place despite a legally anarchic international order because of the biased manner in which realism deals with imperfect information. According to Bueno de Mesquita and Lalman: In the realist world, imperfect information can only encourage violence. Incorrect beliefs about the intentions of rivals can only steer disputes away from negotiation (or the status quo) and toward the blackmail inherent in a capitulation or the tragedy inherent in a war. Incorrect beliefs, secrecy, misperception, misjudgment, and miscalculation are routine features of human intercourse. In that sense, a realist world could be a dangerous world indeed.(15) In fact, the explanations and predictions made possible by realism are successfully carried out only within a closed and very constrained universe. Even within that universe, structural realism (emphasizing the causal primacy of system polarity) works better with conventional weapons than it does with a multitude of nuclear forces. Conventional wars can be fought to rectify an imbalance of power, to challenge the hegemonial rule of imperial states, or to bring about other changes in the international political environment with which states must act. Conventional war and system change can go together.(16) Nuclear weapons, and in particular nuclear weapons spread, makes the relationship between war and systems change much more pathological. War as an instrument for the attainment of policy objectives becomes more irrational with nuclear, compared to conventional, weapons. Realists actually count on this fear, of a pathological relationship between war and change, to preserve peace. Nuclear weapons will freeze the situation in favor of the defenders of the status quo, and against those potential aggressors who would disturb the peace.
e. There’s a distinction between general and immediate deterrence – Cuban missile crisis disproves realist theory

Cimbala 96 – Professor of Political Science at Pennsylvania State University, author of books and articles in professional journals on topics related to national security, he has served as a consultant on arms control to the US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, US Department of State, and private defense contractors (Stephen J., Armed Forces & Society, “Proliferation and peace: An agnostic view,” vol. 22, issue 1, , 1996, http://dl2af5jf3e.search.serialssolutions.com.proxy.lib.umich.edu/?ctx_ver=Z39.88-2004&ctx_enc=info%3Aofi%2Fenc%3AUTF-8&rfr_id=info:sid/summon.serialssolutions.com&rft_val_fmt=info:ofi/fmt:kev:mtx:journal&rft.genre=article&rft.atitle=Proliferation+and+peace%3A+An+agnostic+view&rft.jtitle=ARMED+FORCES+%26+SOCIETY&rft.au=Cimbala%2C+SJ&rft.date=1996-02-01&rft.pub=TRANSACTION+PERIOD+CONSORTIUM&rft.issn=0095-327X&rft.volume=22&rft.issue=2&rft.spage=211&rft.epage=211&rft.externalDBID=GARM&rft.externalDocID=9302139 /mr)

General Versus Immediate Deterrence This brings us to the third general set of problems with realist theories and nuclear weapons spread. The structure of the international system is not related to general deterrence in the same way as it is related to immediate deterrence. According to Patrick M. Morgan, the need for general deterrence is inherent in the normal day-to-day relations of states, based on the distribution of power and states' assumptions about one another's intentions.(17) General deterrence is the latent possibility that any state may opt for war within an anarchic or nonhierarchical international order.(18) Immediate deterrence is a situation in which one side has actually made specific threats against another, the second side perceives itself threatened, and a significant likelihood of war exists in the minds of leaders in at least one of the two states. For example, the onset of a crisis often signifies a failure of general deterrence, but as yet immediate deterrence has not failed because states have not yet abandoned diplomacy and crisis management for battle. It makes sense to assume that there might be a strong correlation between success or failure in general deterrence and system attributes such as distributions of actor capabilities and objectives. However, the relationship between international systems and failures of immediate deterrence is much more indirect. State and substate variables, including the attributes of individuals, groups and bureaucratic organizations, are among the filters through which any system forces must pass before those forces are manifest in state decisions and policies. The distinction between general and immediate deterrence helps to explain why perfectly logical deductions from deterrence theory based on rationality postulates often fly in the face of states' actual behavior.(19) The significance of the distinction between general and immediate deterrence is illustrated by the Cuban missile crisis. The decision by Khrushchev to put Soviet medium and intermediate range ballistic missiles into Cuba was intended, among other objectives, to diminish the publicly acknowledged (by U.S. government officials) gap between U.S. and Soviet strategic nuclear capabilities. Khrushchev's decision, made in the spring of 1962 after consulting very few key advisors, represented a failure of general deterrence. The Soviet leadership had decided to risk the emplacement of its nuclear weapons outside Soviet territory and in the Western Hemisphere for the first time. However, it was not yet a failure of immediate deterrence, which was not involved in Khrushchev's clandestine deployment program because the deployments were deliberately kept secret. Had Khrushchev carried through his original plans, he would have completed the missile deployments and then announced their existence.(20) In that eventuality, the mere existence of Khrushchev's missiles on Cuban soil, however threatening it seemed to U.S. policy makers, would not have created a situation of immediate deterrence. Only the completion of deployments followed by a coercive threat could move the situation from a failure of general deterrence to one of immediate deterrence (for example, after having completed Cuban missile deployments, the Soviet Union now demanding that the U.S and its allies depart West Berlin immediately). The preceding supposition is of the "what if" or counterfactual kind; we may never know the full story of Khrushchev's motives for the missile deployments.(21) The actual shift from a general to an immediate deterrence situation took place on 22 October when President Kennedy ordered the Soviet missiles removed from Cuba, announced that the U.S. was imposing a quarantine on Soviet shipments to Cuba, and stated that a nuclear missile launched from Cuba against any target in the Western Hemisphere would call forth a full U.S. retaliatory response against the Soviet Union. Realist perspectives help to explain the background to general deterrence failure in this instance, but they do little to clarify why the U.S. and Soviet political leaderships chose as they did. If the international power positions of states yield unambiguous deductions about their crisis management strategies, Khrushchev should never have dared to put missiles into Cuba. And the U.S., once the missiles had been discovered, need not have hesitated to invade Cuba or to launch an air strike to destroy the missile sites, colocated air defense sites, and other nuclear-capable weapons platforms deployed in Cuba by Moscow.(22) Realists would argue, against the preceding statement, that nuclear weapons made the Soviets and the Americans cautious during the Cuban missile crisis. The danger created by nuclear weapons helped to end the crisis without war, following the logic and against my earlier argument. However, realist arguments will not work in this context. Nuclear weapons did not make the crisis easier to manage, but harder. They added to the risk of escalation, to be sure, and leaders were well aware of those risks. The U.S. deliberately and--some would say--successfully manipulated the risk of escalation and war in order to force Khrushchev's withdrawal of the missiles. But the argument, that nuclear coercion was the path to Cuban crisis settlement, will not work because nuclear weapons, and the Soviet sense of inferiority in the nuclear arms race, were major causes for the Cuban crisis.(23) If it is argued that nuclear weapons helped to resolve the crisis, that is true only as a historical tautology: By having caused it or helped to cause it and making it more dangerous, they could also play a part in ending it.(24) The Cuban crisis example shows the limitations of realism in explaining even the most set piece, one-against-one confrontation between two relatively mature command and control systems during the Cold War. Realism leaves the mold in place and removes the jello. The essence of Cuban crisis bargaining was about Khrushchev's overestimation of his own risk-taking propensity. His military reach had exceeded his political grasp. When discovery of the missiles blew his cover, he retreated, not only because of U.S. power and determination, but also because he and Kennedy recognized that they had maneuvered themselves very close to an outbreak of inadvertent war, and possible escalation to nuclear war. The tendency of realism to reification of systems may have its methodological uses when systems are posited to do harmless or politically benign things. When systems are charged with the responsibility for maintaining peace and security, then one cannot exclude from the assessment of system stability the decision-making proclivities of states, nor the fears and perceptions of their leaders. Realist assumptions can help to explain or to predict failures of general deterrence, as in the case of arms races that get out of control. But what states will choose to do about these systemic processes (actually a series of state decisions, although we grant realists the benefit of the doubt) remains an open door, a window of The matter raised here is not simply a problem of the level of analysis, but one of philosophy of analysis. One cannot choose preferred levels of analysis without making some assumption about which level or levels best provide explanations and predictions for those outcomes and processes that matter most. Nuclear positivists who depend upon realism can make interesting statements about the central tendencies of state behaviors within a particular international order. But meaningful theory must also include statements about ranges or variation among values taken on by causal and dependent variables. It is both true and misleading to say, for example, that we had no nuclear wars during the Cold War era: therefore, states in general are risk averse once they have acquired nuclear weapons. The point about states in general remains not proved, and it says nothing at all about what a particular state might do in a specific crisis. Unlike business firms and their problems, with nuclear weapons and nuclear wars involved, we want to know the deviant cases and know them intimately: they may drive the entire system in new directions.

f. In the context of proliferation, RIST and RDT theories fail


Cimbala 4 – Professor of Political Science at Pennsylvania State University, author of books and articles in professional journals on topics related to national security, he has served as a consultant on arms control to the US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, US Department of State, and private defense contractors (Stephen J., Defense & Security Analysis, “Nuclear proliferation and international systems,” vol. 20, issue 4, , 12/01/2004, http://dl2af5jf3e.search.serialssolutions.com.proxy.lib.umich.edu/?ctx_ver=Z39.88-2004&ctx_enc=info%3Aofi%2Fenc%3AUTF-8&rfr_id=info:sid/summon.serialssolutions.com&rft_val_fmt=info:ofi/fmt:kev:mtx:journal&rft.genre=article&rft.atitle=Nuclear+proliferation+and+international+systems&rft.jtitle=Defense+%26+Security+Analysis&rft.au=Cimbala%2C+Stephen&rft.date=2004-12-01&rft.issn=1475-1798&rft.volume=20&rft.issue=4&rft.spage=321&rft.epage=336&rft_id=info:doi/10.1080%2F1475179042000305787&rft.externalDBID=DFSA&rft.externalDocID=10_1080_1475179042000305787 /mr)

RIST and RDTs offer some important insights about international politics, and they have a justifiable center of gravity based on recognition of the importance of military history and strategy. But theorists and policy-makers need to be careful in borrowing from RIST and RDTs. RIST offers explanatory and predictive hj^jotheses that fit some worlds better than others. A world of many nuclear-armed states has the potential to drive RIST theorists, not to say deterrence models, into the wood chippers of history. Two variables will help to determine whether RIST and RDT will remain compelling in a world of nuclear plenty: first, whether the distribution of power among nuclear armed actors is relatively balanced or unbalanced; and, then, whether the aims of nuclear states are status quo or revisionist in their attitude toward the existing distribution of international power and other values. RIST and RDT have a lot to say about the first set of variables but understate the importance of the second set. The relative military potential of state actors matters a great deal for the future of deterrence; so, too, do the aspirations and motivations of the future nuclear heads of state. History shows that systems matter, like parents do, but their rules are not always followed by intrepid adolescents with an impatient grasp for power and glory.



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