Experts Say

Nuclear deterrence and conflict: the case of Israel


February 3, 2018
By Louis René Beres

“Deliberate ambiguity” notwithstanding, Israel’s’ core nuclear posture has remained consistent. It asserts that the tiny country’s presumptive nuclear weapons can succeed only through calculated non-use, or via systematic deterrence. By definition, of course, this unchanging objective is based upon the expected rationality of all pertinent adversaries. Significantly, from the standpoint of operational deterrence, national enemies of the Jewish State must be considered rational by Jerusalem/Tel-Aviv. This is the case even though such enemies could operate in alliance with other states, and/or as “hybridized” actors working together with specific terror groups. At some point, moreover, Israel’s nuclear enemies might need to also include certain sub-state adversaries that could act alone.
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