China, Nuclear Weapons, and Arms Control: A Preliminary Assessment

By Davis, Carmel | Parameters, Spring 2002 | Go to article overview

China, Nuclear Weapons, and Arms Control: A Preliminary Assessment


Davis, Carmel, Parameters


By Robert A. Manning Ronald Montaperto, and Brad Roberts. New York: Council on Foreign Relations Press, 2000. 106 pages. $10.00 (paper).

As co-chairs of a panel sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations, National Defense University, and the Institute for Defense Analysis bringing together academics and government experts, the authors have written a short book aimed at the policy community. The authors contend that China's choices about nuclear weapons may be as important to the United States as Russia's over the next decade because China views itself as a rising power and is sensitive to its perceptions that the United States is attempting to contain it. China is pursuing a strategy of modernizing its forces and may be increasing their size. Chinese doctrine, however, is in flux, and China's interest in arms control is unclear. The authors also argue that these issues are poorly understood in the United States because current expertise on nuclear weapons issues is based on our experience with Russia, while most US experts on China are unfamiliar with nuclear weapons. Additionally, our current experience with nuclear weapons is drawn from the bipolar US-Soviet relationship; as US, Russian, and Chinese arsenals converge, we will be entering the unknown territory of a tripolar relationship. Finally, US national missile defense (NMD) initiatives are a complicating factor.

This is a preliminary assessment, and the authors point to several issues without fully developing them. First, they are generally troubled by Chinese modernization of its ICBM force. However, as they observe, force modernization may be benign. From an American perspective, Chinese forces today are sufficient for minimal deterrence. This is primarily because the United States is easily deterred: We do not want to lose Los Angeles, and we are unlikely to rely on NMD. The United States views itself as a status quo power, and nuclear weapons work well for maintaining the status quo and poorly for changing it. However, the Chinese leadership may have little confidence in China's forces because they lack a secure second-strike capability and quite possibly possess only a limited ability to manage any forces that survive a conventional or nuclear attack. Given these limitations, they may have even less confidence in their capability for intrawar deterrence and still less if the United States builds an NMD system. China's modest modernization for deterrence, particularly of intercontinental forces, may be a solution to Chinese perceptions of a problem rather than something requiring an American response.

Rather than the capability on which the authors focus, what may really be the problem is how China might use it. The ongoing debate about doctrine, especially with regard to the role of nuclear weapons, is a second underdeveloped theme. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

China, Nuclear Weapons, and Arms Control: A Preliminary Assessment
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.