Tripolar Stability: The Future of Nuclear Relations Among the United States, Russia and China   [open pdf - 2MB]

The purpose of this work is to identify policy and strategy issues associated with long-term nuclear threat reduction. For fiscal year 2002, the ASCO commissioned this follow-on paper. Its purpose is to explore the emerging nuclear dynamic among the United States, Russia, and China in the context of the new strategic framework pursued by the Bush Administration. The end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union brought with them the end of the bipolar nuclear standoff and the East-West divide in international politics. What will succeed bipolarity? Multipolarity is one possibility, with a diffusion of power and nuclear weapons among multiple power centers in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Unipolarity is another, with a growing gap in the power differential between the United States and other powers, major and minor. A third possibility is tripolarity, in which the competition for influence and nuclear security between the United States and the Soviet Union is replaced by a three-way competition among the United States, Russia, and China. Is this a realistic possibility? How might it come to pass? Would this be a stable world? How should the new strategic framework and the strategy for stability being pursued by the Bush administration be informed by this analysis of tripolarity? 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.

Report Number:
IDA Paper P-3727
2002, 2003 Institute for Defense Analyses. Posted here with permission. Downloaded or retrieved via external web link as part of the PASCC collection.
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