Dr. Glaser Book Review: The Logic of American Nuclear Superiority

Charles GlaserDr. Glaser, professor of political science and international affairs and director of the Elliott School’s Institute for Security and Conflict Studies,  is featured in an H-Diplo/ISSF roundtable on The Logic of American Nuclear Superiority by Matt Kroenig. Dr. Glaser authored a review of the book.
The review can be found here.
Book Description

“For decades, the reigning scholarly wisdom about nuclear weapons policy has been that the United States only needs the ability to absorb an enemy nuclear attack and still be able to respond with a devastating counterattack. So long as the US, or any other nation, retains such an assured retaliation capability, no sane leader would intentionally launch a nuclear attack against it, and nuclear deterrence will hold. According to this theory, possessing more weapons than necessary for a second-strike capability is illogical.

This argument is reasonable, but, when compared to the empirical record, it raises an important puzzle. Empirically, we see that the United States has always maintained a nuclear posture that is much more robust than a mere second-strike capability. In The Logic of American Nuclear Strategy, Matthew Kroenig challenges the conventional wisdom and explains why a robust nuclear posture, above and beyond a mere second-strike capability, contributes to a state’s national security goals. In fact, when a state has a robust nuclear weapons force, such a capability reduces its expected costs in a war, provides it with bargaining leverage, and ultimately enhances nuclear deterrence. This book provides a novel theoretical explanation for why military nuclear advantages translate into geopolitical advantages. In so doing, it helps resolve one of the most-intractable puzzles in international security studies.”

Dr. Downes Book Chapter: U.S. Grand Strategy in the 21st Century: The Case for Restraint

Dr. Alex DownesDr. Downes is featured in the book U.S. Grand Strategy in the 21st Century: The Case for Restraint, edited by A. Trevor Thrall and Benjamin H. Friedman. Dr. Downes co-authored Chapter 5 of the book with Jonathan Monten, ‘Does Spreading Democracy by Force Have a Place in U.S. Grand Strategy? A Skeptical View.’

Book Description

This book challenges the dominant strategic culture and makes the case for restraint in US grand strategy in the 21st century.

Grand strategy, meaning a state’s theory about how it can achieve national security for itself, is elusive. That is particularly true in the United States, where the division of federal power and the lack of direct security threats limit consensus about how to manage danger. This book seeks to spur more vigorous debate on US grand strategy. To do so, the first half of the volume assembles the most recent academic critiques of primacy, the dominant strategic perspective in the United States today. The contributors challenge the notion that US national security requires a massive military, huge defense spending, and frequent military intervention around the world. The second half of the volume makes the positive case for a more restrained foreign policy by excavating the historical roots of restraint in the United States and illustrating how restraint might work in practice in the Middle East and elsewhere. The volume concludes with assessments of the political viability of foreign policy restraint in the United States today.

The book can be purchased here.