Proliferation of Conventionally-Powered Submarines: Balancing U.S. Cruise Missile Diplomacy? The Cases of India and Iran   [open pdf - 4MB]

The end of the Cold War has left the United States as the world's sole superpower. The ability of the United States to strike deep into the territories of most nations with impunity represents a new security threat to many nations. Defeating the U.S. military is not feasible in most cases, but balancing the United States may be possible, especially with weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Although WMD might provide a formidable deterrent, their technical, political, and economic costs preclude most nations from pursuing them. On the other hand, modern conventionally powered submarines are easier to obtain and operate and could present a significant deterrent to U.S. military force. This thesis assesses whether the perceived threat posed by the United States has emerged as a motivation for acquiring conventionally powered submarines since the end of the Cold War. After examining the motivations behind the recent submarine acquisitions of India and Iran, this thesis presents an economic model to predict when developing nations will be able to afford submarines if they choose to acquire them.

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