Nuclear elimination with or without missile defence?Nuclear elimination with or without missile defence?
Faculty of Social Sciences. Political Sciences
Cambridge review of international affairs / University of Cambridge. Center for International Affairs. - Cambridge
25(2012):3, p. 433-450
University of Antwerp
The idea of nuclear elimination is becoming more popular. At the same time, missile defence is being built. The aim of this article is to link the two phenomena: does Global Zero require effective missile defence, or will missile defence hamper the road towards nuclear elimination? First, I will examine how proponents of the recent move towards nuclear elimination regard missile defence: are they in favour or against? This descriptive portion of the article is followed by a personal evaluation based on the literature. Assuming that nuclear elimination becomes a priority in order to win the fight against nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism, and assuming that missile defence will not become reliable under real circumstances, then the best option seems to be zero offensive and zero defensive ballistic missiles. Second best would be to limit the existing missile defence capabilities to theatre missile defence, excluding those theatre missile defence systems (like advanced SM-3 missiles on Aegis ships) that can easily be plugged together to form a strategic missile defence capability.