January Program: The Logic of American Nuclear Strategy

“The Logic of American Nuclear Strategy”

Date:  Thursday, January 18, 2018

Time:  Membership Social at 7:30
Program at 8:00 p.m.

Location: SKIDAWAY ISLAND PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
50 DIAMOND CAUSEWAY, SKIDAWAY ISLAND

Access: Open to the public and free for members, students and accompanying family members, educators, and active military and their dependents. $10.00 charge for non-members.

 Dr. Matthew Kroenig

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.

Buoyed by an innovative thesis and a vast array of historical and quantitative evidence, The Logic of American Nuclear Strategy will force scholars to reconsider their basic assumptions about the logic of nuclear deterrence.

Matthew Kroenig is an Associate Professor in the Department of Government and the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and a Senior Fellow in the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security at The Atlantic Council. His work has covered a wide range of topics in international relations and national security.

Dr. Kroenig is the author or editor of six books, including the forthcoming, The Logic of American Nuclear Strategy (Oxford University Press). His articles have appeared in many publications, including: American Political Science ReviewForeign AffairsForeign PolicyInternational Organization, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post. He was a senior national security adviser on the 2016 Marco Rubio presidential campaign and a foreign policy adviser on the 2012 Mitt Romney campaign. He has served in several positions in the U.S. Department of Defense and Central Intelligence Agency and regularly consults with U.S. government entities. In 2005, he was the principal author of the first-ever U.S. government-wide strategy for deterring terrorist networks.

He has held positions as a research fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, Harvard University, Stanford University, and the University of California. Dr. Kroenig provides regular commentary for major media outlets, including PBS Newshour, Fareed Zakaria GPS, NPR, BBC, CNN, CBS, Fox News, and C-SPAN. He is a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations and holds an MA and PhD in political science from the University of California at Berkeley. He lives with his wife and daughter in Georgetown.

Follow him on Twitter @kroenig

 

Sponsor of this Program – Levy Jewelers

As a fourth-generation family business, Levy Jewelers is a trusted part of our community. Their commitment to excellence in customer service while providing an exceptional buying experience for each individual reflects their passion for both the products they sell and the people they serve.

Savannah Council on World Affairs appreciates their support.