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Stability-Instability Paradox

As the likelihood of nuclear conflict declines, the risk of conventional war increases and as the likelihood of nuclear conflict increases, the risk of conventional war declines. This inverse relationship between the probability of nuclear and conventional military conflict is known as the stability-instability paradox. This article discusses the logic of the stability-instability paradox in detail, explaining its central role in nuclear deterrence. It then explores policy challenges that the stability-instability paradox has created for nuclear-armed states. Finally, it explains why the stability-instability paradox will remain an inescapable problem for nuclear states in the future.

The Logic of the Stability-Instability Paradox

States may seek to acquire nuclear weapons for a variety of reasons. For example, they may covet the international prestige that they believe comes with ...

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