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NATO's Nuclear Deterrence Deficit

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDeterring Russia in Europe: Defence Strategies for Neighbouring States
EditorsNora Vanaga, Toms Rostoks
Place of PublicationAbingdon Oxon
ISBN (Electronic)978-0815370156
ISBN (Print)9780815370154
Publication statusPublished - 3 Oct 2018

King's Authors


(from Introduction) In the third chapter, Andrew Corbett analyses NATO’s nuclear deterrence posture that was the core of the alliance’s deterrence posture during the Cold War. Yet, the current nuclear deterrence strategy suffers from ambiguity among NATO member states about how nuclear deterrence needs to be conducted and what its role should be in the existing deterrence posture towards Russia. In the last 25 years, the allies have reduced the salience of nuclear deterrence in their mindsets, mainly because of domestic reasons. Thus, an understanding of the key tenets and principles of nuclear deterrence has diminished and there is a lack of understanding about today’s complex deterrence landscape. For now, NATO is subconsciously relying on existential deterrence and is not proactively considering messaging about nuclear forces to ‘tailor’ deterrence. This is playing into Russia’s hands as the lack of coherent deterrence messaging activity could be interpreted as an inability to reach consensus on strategy, and therefore to reflect indecision.

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