Effectiveness of nuclear deterrence against Russia
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Institute of Security and Defence, Faculty of Security, Logistics and Management, Military University of Technology, Poland
Submission date: 2023-01-07
Final revision date: 2023-02-22
Acceptance date: 2023-02-22
Online publication date: 2023-02-27
Publication date: 2023-02-27
Corresponding author
Grzegorz Kostrzewa-Zorbas   

Institute of Security and Defence, Faculty of Security, Logistics and Management, Military University of Technology, Warsaw, Poland
Przegląd Nauk o Obronności 2022;(15):127–137
The objective is to answer three research, policy, and strategy questions: 1. Is and will be the NATO and US strategy of nuclear deterrence effective against Russia? 2. Can the strategy of nuclear deterrence as the supreme guarantee of the security of NATO have a lasting public acceptance in the member states? 3. Is it necessary to complement the NATO and US strategy of nuclear deterrence with another, also strong but different, guarantee of security?

Qualitative methodology is used. Offical documents and scientific publications provide the basis for analysis.

The answer to question 1 is mostly but not fully positive: Against Russia, the NATO and US strategy of nuclear deterrence probably has and will have high although not absolute effectiveness. Evaluated are five nesserary conditions of effectiveness. Negative is the answer to question 2 if concerning Poland and other countries of the eastern flank of NATO that have little knowledge of and historical experience in nuclear arms and strategy: The strategy of nuclear deterrence based on the threat of nuclear retaliation against nuclear-armed nations will probably not gain a lasting public acceptance. Affirmative is the answer to question 3: The NATO and US strategy of nuclear deterrence requires a complementary strong security guarantee.

Scientific and technological progress will likely allow NATO to create a complementary guarantee by realizing the concept – which was unattainable in the past, including during the Cold War – of an impenetrable shield against nuclear weapon delivery means in airspace and outer space.

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