Academic journal article Journal of Political Studies

South Asian Nuclear Security or Deterrence: An Analysis

Academic journal article Journal of Political Studies

South Asian Nuclear Security or Deterrence: An Analysis

Article excerpt


"Unleashed power of the atom has tainted the whole lot, put aside our approaches of thinking, and consequently we flow en route for unmatched calamity". Einstein

The world has gone under great transformations since the Cold War ended almost two and a half decades ago in the world order, which have directed the world to what most theorists term 'the Second Nuclear Age'. The first nuclear age, which was evidently marked by the strategic and ideological contention between the two super-powers, ended with the down fall of the Soviet Union. In the international security order, there are three driving forces of change which are; the super powers, technological revolution and geopolitical inflection points. The end of World War II, for example, saw the innovation of nuclear weapons together with their delivery means, which undeniably redefined the character of warfare (Krepinevich, 2012, p. 7). Art (1985) contends that balance in the nuclear age is the power to harm and not the power to defeat. Shelling (1966) reminds on the other hand that success is no longer a precondition for excruciating the enemy which later modified and constrained states' behavior towards a more rational direction (p. 22). The above notions contextualize to what is referred now as Deterrence Theory (Brodie, 1946, p.76).

Deterrence is by and large recognized as an aptitude to deter a state from engaging in a course of action, detrimental to one's fundamental security interests, (based on effusive potential).

Specifically speaking, the Nuclear Deterrence Theory, as propounded by Brodie (Brodie, 1946) which is grounded in political realism, enriches our thought process to comprehend the potential character of nuclear weapons. The elements attached to deterrence theory are the perception of the level of threat or conflict, the hypothesis of rationality, the notion of retaliatory threat, and theory of offensive harm, conception of reliability and deterrence stability'(Morgan, 2003, p. 8).

The end of the Cold War has transformed the nature of dangers however in many ways, the security problems of weak and small states are the same and even greater than in the past. The experts developed theoretical approaches to the understanding of difficulties faced by small or weak states. Small and weak states are caught up in an invariable struggle to come across the road to security or at least to survival (Khan, 2011, p. 189).The international system has transformed from abi-polar world order into a multi-polar one, with different power centers emerging in different regions. The bi-polarity, demonstrated in an almost equal military balance of power to inflict damage, and the advent of nuclear weapons maintained an overall environment of relative peace during the Cold War Era. However, the emergence of new states in the post-Cold War period with dynamic economic, military and cultural powers challenging the traditional power centers has shaped a new and complex world order, more prone to conflict than the bi-polar structure of the Cold War. Resultantly, there is arise of sadistic extremist organizations, a hatchling divergence in cyber space, and wearing down thestructure of strategic stability in three main conflictprone regions; that is to say;

a) MiddleEast,

b) South Asiaand

c) South-East Asia, are the major features which mutually contour the Second Nuclear Age.

In this new international system, there are multiple contending forces with different ideologies, strategic cultures, and often clashing geo political interests, which are in a constant state of competition. Egalitarianism among nations has been exalted as a proposal and international norm since the Napoleonic Wars; as Nicolson(1961) noted, 'the hypothesis had been that all sovereign and independent states in theory are equal, whatever might be their responsibilities or physical; power'. In this era, challenges are more than prospects and options. …

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