Double-Edged Sword: Nuclear Diplomacy in Unequal Conflicts : The United States and China, 1950-1958

Synopsis

An examination of the political and diplomatic role of American nuclear weapons in conflicts with a non-nuclear China in the Korean War and the Taiwan Strait crises of 1954-1955 and 1958, this study analyzes the American tendency to become involved in confrontations with far weaker powers over issues of very little strategic significance to the United States. Washington threatens these adversaries with the use of incommensurate levels of force, then ultimately backs down in the face of international and domestic opposition to ill-considered plans to use force. Unlike works on nuclear history that have either focused on superpower nuclear conflicts and ignored cases of American nuclear diplomacy toward non nuclear adversaries, or those that have focused merely on the outcomes of nuclear threats against non-nuclear powers, this book considers in depth American nuclear diplomacy toward China during the whole period of Sino-American military confrontations.