25 Pol. Q. Int'l Aff. 37 (2016)
NATO's Nuclear Deterrence: Closing Credibility Gaps

handle is hein.journals/polqurint25 and id is 39 raw text is: 








JACEK DURKALEC,   MATTHEW   KROENIG


    NATO's Nuclear Deterrence: Closing Credibility Gaps


    Over  the past two  years, the European   security environment has
deteriorated rapidly. Much of the blame for this state of affairs can be pinned
on increased Russian belligerence and, most notably, its 2014 invasion of,
and ongoing war  against, Ukraine. This development is troubling in and of
itself, but also for what it might signal about the security of Russia's other
neighbours, including NATO  members.  With a new  threat on its doorstep,
NATO   has responded, including with the the biggest reinforcement ofNATO
collective defence since the end of the Cold War.' New measures, such as the
Readiness Action Plan (RAP) and the U.S. European Reassurance Initiative
(ERI) were necessary enhancements to NATO's  conventional forces in order
to address the most immediate assurance and deterrence needs.
    To date, however,  NATO's   response has not  adequately taken into
account the integrality of nuclear weapons to the Ukrainian crisis and to
Russia's broader military strategy and doctrine. The crisis demonstrates
that, at a time when NATO was consciously trying to de-emphasise nuclear
weapons  in its security policy, Russia has been increasing its reliance on
operational nuclear capabilities. Russia's brandishing of nuclear forces and
explicit nuclear threats throughout the crisis have exposed serious cracks
in the credibility of NATO's nuclear deterrent, and these are fissures that
Moscow   may seek to exploit in future confrontations.
    If NATO  wishes to deter Russian aggression reliably, its deterrence and
defence policy must once again contain a serious nuclear component, and
Western  leaders must begin the difficult task of revisiting NATO nuclear
deterrence policies and postures. The NATO Warsaw  Summit  provides the


1 Keynote speech by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the opening of the NATO
  Transformation Seminar, 25 March 2015, www.nato.int.


37


The Polish Quarterly of International Affairs, 2016, no. I

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