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Strategy in the Contemporary World

Strategy in the Contemporary World (6th edn)

John Baylis, James Wirtz, and Colin Gray
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date: 04 October 2022

p. 20212. The Second Nuclear Age: Nuclear Weapons in the Twenty-First Centurylocked

p. 20212. The Second Nuclear Age: Nuclear Weapons in the Twenty-First Centurylocked

  • C. Dale Walton

Abstract

This chapter examines the role played by nuclear weapons in international politics during and after the cold war, making a distinction between the First Nuclear Age and the ongoing Second Nuclear Age. After providing a background on the First Nuclear Age, the chapter considers the various risks present in the Second Nuclear Age, focusing on issues related to nuclear deterrence, nuclear proliferation networks, strategic culture, and ballistic missile defences. It then discusses the assumption that arms control and disarmament treaties are the best means to further counterproliferation efforts. It also assesses the future of nuclear weapons and whether the world is facing a Third Nuclear Age before concluding with an analysis of the relevance of deterrence in the face of changing political and technological circumstances.

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