Journal Article - Quarterly Journal: International Security

The Nuclear Balance Is What States Make of It

  • David C. Logan
| Spring 2022


Recent quantitative scholarship uses warhead counts to examine how nuclear superiority might affect war and crisis dynamics. These analyses do not account for other elements that make up a state’s nuclear capability. The relative nuclear balance depends on not only technical-military factors but also state perceptions and beliefs. Archival and interview evidence from the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War reveal how states and leaders understand and respond to the nuclear balance in inconsistent, asymmetric, and subjective ways.

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation:

David C. Logan, "The Nuclear Balance Is What States Make of It," International Security, Vol. 46, No. 4 (Spring 2022), pp. 172–215,

The Author