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  • Author: Eric B. Setzekorn
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Military and Strategic Studies
  • Institution: Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: In the decade between U.S. diplomatic recognition of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1979 and the Tiananmen Massacre in 1989, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) pursued a military engagement policy with the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). The 1979-1989 U.S.-PRC defense relationship was driven by a mutually shared fear of the USSR, but U.S. policymakers also sought to encourage the PRC to become a more deeply involved in the world community as a responsible power. Beginning in the late 1970s, the U.S. defense department conducted high level exchanges, allowed for the transfer of defense technology, promoted military to military cooperation and brokered foreign military sales (FMS). On the U.S. side, this program was strongly supported by National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski and Secretary of State Alexander Haig, who worked to push skeptical elements in the U.S. defense bureaucracy. By the mid-1980s, this hesitancy had been overcome and the defense relationship reached a high point in the 1984-1986 period, but structural problems arising from the division of authority within the PRC’s party-state-military structure ultimately proved insurmountable to long-term cooperation. The 1979-1989 U.S.-PRC defense relationship highlights the long-term challenges of pursuing military engagement with fundamentally dissimilar structures of political authority.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Cold War, Diplomacy, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe, Asia, Soviet Union, North America
  • Author: Adam MacDonald
  • Publication Date: 09-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Military and Strategic Studies
  • Institution: Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: China is embarking on a comprehensive modernization program to quantitatively and qualitatively improve their nuclear force. These efforts, however, do not reflect or indicate a distinct shift in Chinese views towards or policy governing the purpose and use of nuclear weapons, but to achieve and maintain a secured second strike capability in a changing strategic landscape. Specifically, military developments by the United States including Ballistic Missile Defence and Precision Global Strike are seen as threatening the credibility of their nuclear deterrent, motivating the construction and deployment of a more modern, diverse and capable force. These force reconfigurations, however, create the potential of causing confusing and misunderstandings with the United States, and other nuclear powers, of the rationales informing their improvement. Ensuring the nuclear force balance between Beijing and Washington remains a minor and largely benign matter separated from and not influencing other more divisive matters is critical in the maintenance of their relatively stable, but increasingly complicated and tense, great power relationship and the international system in general. In order to achieve this, both states must clearly signal an understanding of their nuclear relationship as one defined by mutual vulnerability and the necessity of providing guarantees and evidence that their respective military technological developments and force structure changes are not designed to alter this reality.
  • Topic: Nuclear Weapons, Military Strategy, Deterrence, Modernization
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia, North America
  • Author: Mark Halchin
  • Publication Date: 09-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Military and Strategic Studies
  • Institution: Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The reasoning behind North Korea’s continued efforts to develop a nuclear deterrent remains puzzling to many, with the heavy costs and behavior of the regime leading to the belief that it is irrational. This paper argues that North Korea’s nuclear weapons program is instead a rational strategy for the regime. The perceived threat from South Korean and American military forces, as well as its own ineffective conventional forces, make a North Korean nuclear program a viable and relatively cheap deterrent. Its limited foreign relations and near-total dependence on China largely insulate it from economic punishment. Finally, the nature of the regime allows it to disregard popular opinion while forcing it to accommodate military demands for a nuclear deterrent. The necessity of nuclear weapons for defence and the few downsides of possessing them means that Pyongyang is unlikely to give them up, thus dooming denuclearization efforts to failure.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons, Military Strategy, Deterrence, Denuclearization
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia, South Korea, North Korea, North America