Academic journal article Military Review

The New Nuclear Disorder: Challenges to Deterrence and Strategy

Academic journal article Military Review

The New Nuclear Disorder: Challenges to Deterrence and Strategy

Article excerpt

THE NEW NUCLEAR DISORDER Challenges to Deterrence and Strategy Stephen J. Cimbala, Ashgate Publishing Company, New York, 2015, 254 pages

The New Nuclear Disorder: Challenges to Deterrence and Strategy is well written and easy to read, even if you are not familiar with the jargon or esoteric terms of art in the fields Stephen J. Cimbala covers. The book is a compendium of different ways the nuclear weapons policy problem is changing during the beginning of the twenty-first century. Cimbala examines a specific policy issue with each chapter. Many of the issues overlap to some degree between chapters, providing some continuity, but the issues are largely covered independently by chapter.

Although I cannot represent all the chapters in a short book review, I will touch on some of the more interesting ideas Cimbala brings to light. He does a nice job recounting the essential elements needed during a crisis for two opposing sides (the simplest case) to limit escalation and resolve their differences. Cimbala then points out that, essentially, all the elements he lists for a positive crisis resolution are targets for cyber war. In an actual crisis, the use of information war techniques could make information so untrustworthy that opponents would not reasonably understand one another's positions and therefore could not resolve the crisis without escalation or possibly a nuclear exchange.

The book is not based entirely in theoretical scenarios. A significant portion is devoted to historical events that highlight the ease with which a nuclear crisis could develop. Cimbala uses events like the Able Archer "War Scare" in 1983, a Norwegian scientific rocket launch over Russia in 1995, and Vladimir Putins operations in Ukraine in 2014 to show how fragile global peace may be. …

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