The Changing Political Utility of Nuclear Weapons

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“The Changing Political Utility of Nuclear Weapons: Nuclear Threats from 1970 to 2010” by Research Associate Samuel Black discusses the political utility of nuclear weapons as measured by threats of nuclear weapon use during crises or wars. This analysis suggests two trends in nuclear threat-making: First, in the two decades since the end of the Cold War, nuclear-capable states have made more than twice as many nuclear threats than was the case from 1970 to 1990. Pakistan, the United States, and India have made the most nuclear threats in the post-Cold War period. Second, non-nuclear weapon states that are in good standing with their nonproliferation obligations have been threatened with nuclear weapons far less over the past two decades than in the last two decades of the Cold War.

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