Discussion Paper - International Security Journal, Belfer Center

Nuclear Conflicts of the Twenty First Century

  • Andrei A. Kokoshin
| February 2003

Analyzing certain types and characteristics of nuclear conflicts is extremely important in todayís world, labeled by some scholars and experts as the ìsecond nuclear age.

A typology of nuclear conflicts would include the following criteria. The first factor is the evaluation of political objectives for which the threat of using nuclear weapons can be used and may be readily employed to achieve. The second factor is the intensity of nuclear conflictófrom a statement that hints at the use of nuclear weapons to total war with massive deployment of nuclear weapons. The third factor involves those parties that directly interact in situations when nuclear weapons are being used as an instrument of political force.

In this paper, I define a nuclear conflict as a crisis situation in which one or more parties that possess nuclear weapons are involved, and in the course of which tensions reach the level where one or more then use nuclear weapons as an instrument of political influence.A more advanced phase of a nuclear conflict involves the use of nuclear weapons at different scales from a single nuclear strike to the use of nuclear weapons on a massive scale.

To view full text please see PDF below (login may be required).

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: A.A.Kokoshin. “Nuclear Conflicts of the Twenty First Century.” Discussion Paper, International Security Journal, Belfer Center, February 2003.

The Author