Nuclear Weapons and Strategy

As the United States reassesses its national military strategy and spending priorities during the Quadrennial Defense Review, it must take into account how nuclear weapons change the behavior and calculations of key allies and potential foes, said Andrew Krepinevich, Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments president, on Tuesday. Much like happened with the United States and Soviet Union during the Cold War, the introduction of nuclear weapons can change a country’s behavior with proxies, he told attendees at AFA’s 2013 Air and Space Conference in National Harbor, Md. The problem with Iran and nuclear weapons is not so much the Iranians’ use of them, but rather how these weapons would affect their assertiveness through proxies such as Hezbollah, he said. “The Iranians especially have proven they are very good at fighting with proxies,” said Krepinevich. How do you preserve stability in the Middle East and the Persian Gulf if you are facing a nuclear arms race, with warning times of missile launches in the single digits and a lack of developed missile warning infrastructure? he asked rhetorically.