Problem

Risk of unintentional nuclear war from strategic misjudgement

Incidence:
The mismatch existing in the field of nuclear doctrine cannot be said to constitute a cause of imminent danger, yet it is constantly fuelling the arms race, thus contributing to the factors that undermine strategic stability in the long run.
Claim:
Strategic doctrines, as the basis for arms development and deployments as well as for defence postures, rest on extremely fuzzy grounds - guesses, speculations, beliefs, and assumptions of all kinds. These can be erroneous and thus lead to inappropriate conclusions jeopardizing strategic stability.
Counter Claim:
Although the strategic doctrines which were enunciated may differ substantially, the strategic capabilities of East and West are largely comparable. If doctrinal intentions are inferred from capabilities, the mismatch seems less marked. The threat of retaliation and thus the expectation of incalculable damage is still so effective and currently reinforced by doctrinal refinements of mutual assured destruction, as to make any doctrinal speculations about pre-emptive attack a necessarily idle activity. At the present moment no nuclear power can expect to escape radiation if it launches a pre-emptive strike against its opponent.
Problem Type:
F: Fuzzy exceptional problems
Subject(s):
Hazards
War
Strategy
Date of last update
13.03.1997 – 00:00 CET