Nuclear Weapons and American Grand Strategy

October 31, 2020
Nuclear Weapons and American Grand Strategy

Exploring what we know—and don’t know—about how nuclearweapons shape American grand strategy and internationalrelationsThe world first confronted the power of nuclear weapons when theUnited States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki inAugust 1945. The global threat of these weapons deepened in thefollowing decades as more advanced weapons, aggressive strategies,and new nuclear powers emerged. Ever since, countless books,reports, and articles—and even a new field of academic inquirycalled “security studies”—have tried to explain the so-callednuclear revolution.Francis J. Gavin argues that scholarly and popular understandingof many key issues about nuclear weapons is incomplete at best andwrong at worst. Among these important, misunderstood issues are:how nuclear deterrence works; whether nuclear coercion iseffective; how and why the United States chose its nuclearstrategies; why countries develop their own nuclear weapons orchoose not to do so; and, most fundamentally, whether nuclearweapons make the world safer or more dangerous.These and similar questions still matter because nuclear dangeris returning as a genuine threat. Emerging technologies andshifting great-power rivalries seem to herald a new type of coldwar just three decades after the end of the U.S.-Soviet conflictthat was characterized by periodic prospects of globalArmageddon.Nuclear Weapons and American Grand Strategy helps policymakerswrestle with the latest challenges. Written in a clear, accessible,and jargon-free manner, the book also offers insights for students,scholars, and others interested in both the history and future ofnuclear danger.