Inadvertant Escalation: Conventional War and Nuclear Risks (Cornell Studies in Security Affairs)

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9780801425639: Inadvertant Escalation: Conventional War and Nuclear Risks (Cornell Studies in Security Affairs)
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In this sobering book, Barry R. Posen demonstrates how the interplay between conventional military operations and nuclear forces could, in conflicts among states armed with both conventional and nuclear weaponry, inadvertently produce pressures for nuclear escalation. Knowledge of these hidden pressures, he believes, may help some future decision maker avoid catastrophe.

Building a formidable argument that moves with cumulative force, he details the way in which escalation could occur not by mindless accident, or by deliberate preference for nuclear escalation, but rather as a natural accompaniment of land, naval, or air warfare at the conventional level. Posen bases his analysis on an empirical study of the east-west military competition in Europe during the 1980s, using a conceptual framework drawn from international relations theory, organization theory, and strategic theory.

The lessons of his book, however, go well beyond the east-west competition. Since his observations are relevant to all military competitions between states armed with both conventional and nuclear weaponry, his book speaks to some of the problems that attend the proliferation of nuclear weapons in longstanding regional conflicts. Optimism that small and medium nuclear powers can easily achieve "stable" nuclear balances is, he believes, unwarranted.

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Review:

"Posen has written a provocative and important book . . . which explores an issue that could increase in relevance as nuclear weapons proliferate throughout the Third World." Intelligence and National Security"

"As long as nuclear weapons exist, they may be used, and Barry Posen's book is a valuable contribution to thinking about ways in which nuclear use might come about." International Affairs"

"Posen . . . does a masterful job of effectively utilizing detailed information to demonstrate the complex interplay of force postures, strategic doctrines, and decision-making dynamics. In these respects, the author's contribution transcends the time frame dominated by two superpowers armed with gargantuan nuclear arsenals." Choice"

"Inadvertent Escalation makes a truly unique, original contribution to security issues and should make defense planners grapple with conventional and nuclear linkages in future conflicts. Posen's answer gives wisdom to innocent defense planners as they venture forth into a post-Cold War world." Military Review"

"Posen has written a provocative and important book . . . which explores an issue that could increase in relevance as nuclear weapons proliferate throughout the Third World." Intelligence and National Security"

"As long as nuclear weapons exist, they may be used, and Barry Posen's book is a valuable contribution to thinking about ways in which nuclear use might come about." International Affairs"

"Posen . . . does a masterful job of effectively utilizing detailed information to demonstrate the complex interplay of force postures, strategic doctrines, and decision-making dynamics. In these respects, the author's contribution transcends the time frame dominated by two superpowers armed with gargantuan nuclear arsenals." Choice"

"Inadvertent Escalation makes a truly unique, original contribution to security issues and should make defense planners grapple with conventional and nuclear linkages in future conflicts. Posen's answer gives wisdom to innocent defense planners as they venture forth into a post-Cold War world." Military Review"

"Posen has written a provocative and important book . . . which explores an issue that could increase in relevance as nuclear weapons proliferate throughout the Third World."--Intelligence and National Security



"As long as nuclear weapons exist, they may be used, and Barry Posen's book is a valuable contribution to thinking about ways in which nuclear use might come about."--International Affairs



"Posen . . . does a masterful job of effectively utilizing detailed information to demonstrate the complex interplay of force postures, strategic doctrines, and decision-making dynamics. In these respects, the author's contribution transcends the time frame dominated by two superpowers armed with gargantuan nuclear arsenals."--Choice



"Inadvertent Escalation makes a truly unique, original contribution to security issues and should make defense planners grapple with conventional and nuclear linkages in future conflicts. Posen's answer gives wisdom to innocent defense planners as they venture forth into a post-Cold War world."--Military Review

About the Author:

Barry R. Posen is Ford International Professor of Political Science and director of the Security Studies Program at MIT. He is the author of The Sources of Military Doctrine: France, Britain, and Germany between the World Wars (winner of the Furniss Award and the Woodrow Wilson Foundation Award), Inadvertent Escalation: Conventional War and Nuclear Risks, and Restraint: A New Foundation for U.S. Grand Strategy, all from Cornell.

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