Inadvertent Escalation: Conventional War and Nuclear Risks [NOOK Book]

Overview

In this sobering book, Barry R. Posen demonstrates how the interplay between conventional military operations and nuclear forces could, in conflicts among states armed with both conventional and nuclear weaponry, inadvertently produce pressures for nuclear escalation. Knowledge of these hidden pressures, he believes, may help some future decision maker avoid catastrophe.

Building a formidable argument that moves with cumulative force, he details the way in which escalation could...

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Inadvertent Escalation: Conventional War and Nuclear Risks

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Overview

In this sobering book, Barry R. Posen demonstrates how the interplay between conventional military operations and nuclear forces could, in conflicts among states armed with both conventional and nuclear weaponry, inadvertently produce pressures for nuclear escalation. Knowledge of these hidden pressures, he believes, may help some future decision maker avoid catastrophe.

Building a formidable argument that moves with cumulative force, he details the way in which escalation could occur not by mindless accident, or by deliberate preference for nuclear escalation, but rather as a natural accompaniment of land, naval, or air warfare at the conventional level. Posen bases his analysis on an empirical study of the east-west military competition in Europe during the 1980s, using a conceptual framework drawn from international relations theory, organization theory, and strategic theory.

The lessons of his book, however, go well beyond the east-west competition. Since his observations are relevant to all military competitions between states armed with both conventional and nuclear weaponry, his book speaks to some of the problems that attend the proliferation of nuclear weapons in longstanding regional conflicts. Optimism that small and medium nuclear powers can easily achieve "stable" nuclear balances is, he believes, unwarranted.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Posen has written a provocative and important book . . . which explores an issue that could increase in relevance as nuclear weapons proliferate throughout the Third World."—Intelligence and National Security

"As long as nuclear weapons exist, they may be used, and Barry Posen's book is a valuable contribution to thinking about ways in which nuclear use might come about."—International Affairs

"Posen . . . does a masterful job of effectively utilizing detailed information to demonstrate the complex interplay of force postures, strategic doctrines, and decision-making dynamics. In these respects, the author's contribution transcends the time frame dominated by two superpowers armed with gargantuan nuclear arsenals."—Choice

"Inadvertent Escalation makes a truly unique, original contribution to security issues and should make defense planners grapple with conventional and nuclear linkages in future conflicts. Posen's answer gives wisdom to innocent defense planners as they venture forth into a post-Cold War world."—Military Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801468377
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 4/15/2013
  • Series: Cornell Studies in Security Affairs
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 296
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Barry R. Posen is Ford International Professor of Political Science at MIT and Director of the MIT Security Studies Program.

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction: A Model of Inadvertent Escalation
2. Air War and Inadvertent Nuclear Escalation
3. The Balance of Ground Forces on the Central Front
4. Escalation and NATO's Northern Flank
5. "Offensive" and “Defensive” Sea Control: A Comparative Assessment
6. Conclusion

Appendix 1. The Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD) Model
Appendix 2. Central Region Close Air Support Aircraft and Atack Helicopters (1988)
Appendix 3. The Attrition-FEBA Expansion Model: Symphony Version
Appendix 4. A Barrier Defense Model

Selected Bibliography
Index

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