Deterrence Options in the Second Nuclear Age


2014-02-06 by Ed Timperlake

The dilemma of the 2nd Nuke Age is proliferation of devices to additional countries, some of which are run like Hitler’s Germany and have a single point cult of personality as the leader.

This presents a core strategic challenge: how to deter a cult of personality leader sitting on top of a nuclear arsenal?

There is a nuclear response possible, namely to have targetable, nuclear weapons from the large nuclear power which removes the enemy leadership and its nuclear stockpile with limited nuclear strikes.  These are neither counter-value nor counter-strike; they are designed for decapitation and elimination of the problem.

A nuke thrown at a cult of personality leadership country will end the regime in a blinding flash. It is a valid question to use a single nukes to deter any possible use of nukes by a cult of personality country but doubtful that the US will ever embrace that strategy.

The Russians appear poised to follow such a policy towards North Korea if that country should threaten the Russian Far East.

For countries not willing to use nuclear weapons as a termination force, the question then is how to shape an effective conventional insertion force which can eliminate or significantly attenuate the arsenal, the delivery means and decapitate the regime.

The goal is to use conventional power projection capabilities to target and decapitate the cult of personality regime before a Nuclear countervalue strike can be launched.

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