Prolif good – War

Empirically nuclear proliferation increases the risk of conventional war – high costs encourage conflict

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Empirically nuclear proliferation increases the risk of conventional war – high costs encourage conflict

Kapur ‘7 (S. Paul, Associate Prof. Strategic Research Department – Naval War College, “Dangerous Deterrent: Nuclear Weapons Proliferation and Conflict in South Asia”, p. 171)

My study's findings have important implications for our theoretical understanding of nuclear proliferation's effects on international security. As noted, proliferation optimists argue that by threatening to raise the cost of war astronomically, nuclear weapons reduce the likelihood of conflict. My findings, however, indicate that this is not necessarily the case. Indeed, the study shows that the danger of nuclear weapons can in certain circumstances have the opposite effect. By potentially raising the costs of violence, nuclear weapons can make conflict more likely, encouraging a weak, revisionist state both to take territory while insulated from all-out conventional retaliation and to attempt to force third-party diplomatic intervention in ensuing crises. The high cost of nuclear war is precisely what promises to make such a strategy successful; nuclear danger deters adversaries and also attracts outside attention. If nuclear weapons were not so destructive, a weak, revisionist state would get neither of these benefits and would be less likely to engage in aggressive behavior. Thus, the high cost of nuclear war may not lead to lower level stability and can actually increase the likelihood of conflict.

Prolif transforms ongoing disputes into shooting wars.

Sobek et al ‘9 (David, Prof. Pol. Sci. – LSU, David Sobek, Prof. Int’l Studies and Pol. Sci. – VMI, and Semuel Robinson, PhD Candidate Pol. Sci. – Lsu, Prepared for presentation at the 2009 Midwest Political Science Association Meeting, Chicago. 2009-05-22, “Conventional Wisdom? The Effect of Nuclear Proliferation on Armed Conflict, 1945-2001”,

At the active pursuit stage, one can assume that previous efforts to dissuade proliferators have been unsuccessful and that acquisition is much more likely to become a reality. In light of the heightened sense of urgency that would accompany this state of affairs, there are compelling reasons to believe that the probability of conventional force usage is relatively great. First, as noted in the destructive preemption literature, we are more likely to observe efforts to militarily target existing capabilities, as “hard targets” begin to take shape during the acquisition stage. Moreover, in line with our bargaining process expectations, it is probable that opponents will redouble their conventional military efforts to reach a favorable settlement to the issue before acquisition. Put differently, active pursuit serves as a strong signal that the “expiration date” on the current bargaining environment is nigh. Overall, since the active pursuit of weapons decreases an opponent’s estimates of the risks and costs of preemptive destruction and increases the urgency with which it seeks to obtain the bargaining benefits of any conventional military action, we predict that targeting is more likely to be observed against nuclear “pursuers” than both non-proliferators and nuclear “explorers.” Hypothesis 1b: States that are actively pursuing nuclear weapons are more at risk of being targeted in a conventional militarized dispute than exploring and non-proliferating states.

Doesn’t solve lower level conflicts.

Reiter 6—political science prof at Emory (Dan, “PREVENTIVE WAR AND ITS ALTERNATIVES: THE LESSONS OF HISTORY”, April,, ZBurdette)

Notably, deterrence does not prevent all aggression. Nuclear theorists have described the “stability-instability paradox,” in which nuclear weapons provide stability and peace at highly intense levels of violence (the use of NBC weapons), but less stability at lower levels of violence because the use of nuclear weapons is not credible against lesser threats. 63 During the Cold War, the American nuclear deterrent did not prevent lower levels of Communist aggression, including intervention in the Third World (e.g., the Cuban intervention in Angola) and within the Communist bloc itself (e.g., the Soviet invasions of Hungary and Czechoslovakia). Furthermore, there are a few instances of nuclear-armed states being attacked with conventional weapons, including the 1969 SinoSoviet border dispute, the 1982 Falklands invasion by Argentina, and Iraq’s 1991 Scud missile attacks on Israel. However, the NSS is not concerned with conventional attacks; American conventional forces are sufficient in quality and quantity to address virtually any conceivable conventional threat, and such threats do not have the catastrophic potential attending NBC use. Our strategy is concerned rather with NBC attacks, and within this area deterrence is extremely effective.

AT Asal & Beardsley

Proliferation only reduces the risk of war by 37%, but risks absolute destruction

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)

We should also note that this was a 'hard' test for the pro-proliferation argument - we are not asking if nuclear dyads are less likely to go to war. Our analysis indicates that the presence of nuclear-weapons states as crisis actors, regardless of which side they are on, decreases the likely level of violence. This fits with the theoretical arguments of proliferation optimists and rational-deterrence theorists. Despite the support for the optimists, the evidence is not as overwhelming as one might wish, given the costs involved if there is a mistake in the calculations of leaders armed with nuclear weapons during a crisis. A 37% change in the probability of full-scale war is a large amount, but as Waltz (Sagan & Waltz, 2003: 6) points out, the costs of a mistake can be nothing short of 'destruction'. Is a change of 37% in probability worth taking the risk that proliferation may reach a ruler who is truly irrational? In either case, the findings suggest avenues for future research using the ICB dataset to explore various impacts that nuclear weapons have on crisis behavior.

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