Two basic tasks have been accomplished in chapter 2. In accordance with the recommendations detailed assessment of the research program on nuclear deterrence identified areas of disagreement and consensus. Based on criteria of reliability and validity, the findings suggest that aside from dealing with deterrence in one form or another, the program does not have a common rationale and, as a consequence, has not cumulated. The question of whether states act according to the logic derived from standard applications of deterrence theory, particularly in the nuclear realm, remains unanswered. Taking into account the accomplishments and shortcomings of the dominant testing strategies, this chapter outlines new directions for testing. It begins by describing the coding procedures and selection criteria for twenty-eight cases of superpower rivalry that serve as the empirical base for the remainder of the investigation. 1 The debate over rational deterrence -- especially at the nuclear level -- cannot move forward without an authoritative body of evidence. 2 The intention, therefore, is to provide a more clearly identified and common purpose in order to facilitate convergence of the research program.
There are several propositions embedded within nuclear deterrence that are related to rational choice and coercive diplomacy more generally and that can be evaluated using a crisis-based data set, rather than one that focuses solely on cases of immediate deterrence. The