Asia
Commentary

The Impact of MIRVs and Counterforce Targeting on the U.S.-Soviet Strategic Relationship

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Editor’s note: The Stimson Center recently released The Lure and Pitfalls of MIRVs: From the First to the Second Nuclear Age, an edited volume that takes a retrospective look at the U.S.-Soviet experience with MIRVs and explores the second coming of MIRVs in contemporary Asia. In this SAV review series, SAV contributors Sitakanta Mishra, Amina Afzal, Rabia Akhtar, Sadia Tasleem, and Debak Das review each chapter with special attention to the implications for South Asia and future research. Read the entire series here.

 
By Amina Afzal
 
According to Alexey Arbatov and Vladimir Dvorkin’s “The Impact of MIRVs and Counterforce Targeting on the U.S.-Soviet Relationship” in the Stimson Center’s The Lure and Pitfalls of MIRVs: From the First to the Second Nuclear Age, the advent of multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles (MIRVs) had a profoundly negative impact on strategic stability between the United States and Soviet Union during the Cold War. The authors review the evolution of MIRVs in the context of the U.S.-USSR strategic relationship, outlining the way in which these systems influenced the development of each side’s strategic nuclear forces and contributed to an arms race. They also underscore the importance of learning from the U.S.-Soviet example in order to sustain existing strategic balances and to avoid unnecessarily large military expenditures that could erode nuclear stability in Asia.
 
Read the full article here.
 
Photo credit: larrywkoester via Flickr
 
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