Neither a balance of power model nor a balance of terror model can predict with assurance whether nuclear Asia will be stable or unstable. Even if fewer than eight states in Asia become nuclear weapons states the problems of crisis management and escalation control, growing out of clashes between conventional armed forces, becomes harder to manage. As well, nuclear weapons have psychological effects on their owners, and not always predictable ones. Classic balance of power theory, written prior to the nuclear age, anticipated the use of small wars for intrasystemic adjustments without the elimination of major actors. Balance of terror theory regards small nuclear wars as possible escalators into larger ones. Europe's nuclear experience may be a misleading guide for twenty-first century Asia—with regard to the effects of both power and terror relationships.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Political Science and International Relations