"What are the implications of nuclear multipolarity for stability? This is one of a dozen questions set out by the Nuclear Deterrence Sustainment Panel of the Threat Reduction Advisory Committee as a part of its effort to stimulate 'a more profound level of intellectual activity' about how to meet and reduce threats posed by weapons of mass destruction. In trying to come to terms with this question, analysts in the United States clearly work with a very significant intellectual inheritance from the Cold War. This inheritance defines some very specific ways of thinking about nuclear stability, with an emphasis on the twin problems of arms race and crisis instability. It also defines some specific ways of thinking about multipolarity, with an emphasis on the balance of power system and nuclear proliferation. To better appreciate where inherited concepts remain valid, where they can help generate useful new insights, and where their limitations are crippling requires a new approach based on the strategic realities of the emerging nuclear era, rather than the past one. Toward that end, this paper explores three levels of analysis: The major power core, the regional subsystems, the connections between the two. In each case, new or newly significant nuclear dynamics are identified and explored. Potential sources of instability are then considered. These are then collected together to frame an assessment of the changing nuclear stability agenda." Note: This document has been added to the Homeland Security Digital Library in agreement with the Project on Advanced Systems and Concepts for Countering WMD (PASCC) as part of the PASCC collection. Permission to download and/or retrieve this resource has been obtained through PASCC.
2000 Institute for Defense Analyses. Posted here with permission. Documents are for personal use only and not for commercial profit. Downloaded or retrieved via external web link as part of the PASCC collection.