Red Lines, Deadlines and Thinking the Unthinkable: India, Pakistan, Iran, North Korea, and China
April 19, 2013
WASHINGTON April 19, 2013– The Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) Burke Chair in Strategy has released a report: “Red Lines, Deadlines and Thinking the Unthinkable: India, Pakistan, Iran, North Korea, and China." Please find a link to the full report and summary by the author below.
Please find a link to the full report below:
Please find a summary of the report prepared by Anthony H. Cordesman below:
Early in the thermonuclear age, Herman Kahn warned the world that it had to “think about the unthinkable”: The consequences of an actual nuclear war, and consider which side – if any – might “win.” While the story may be apocryphal, Khan is also said to have told Curtis Lemay – then head of the Strategic Air Command – that Lemay did not have a war plan because he focused too heavily on strikes and inflicting maximum damage, while ignoring the consequences of nuclear weapons. Khan is said to have told Lemay that he lacked a war plan and all he had was a “wargasm.”
The end of the Cold War seemed to put an end to the need for such thinking, but recent developments in North Korea and Iran make it all too clear that there is still a need for such horrifying yet “realist” analysis. Of course, calmer heads may prevail. Reason, deterrence, and arms control may still curtail nuclear proliferation, and are the most probable result of today’s nuclear arms races. But, that probability is declining. Four different nuclear arms races are now interacting to change the need for strategic calculus and demand a strategy that looks beyond arms control and considers a much grimmer future.
The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) is a private, tax-exempt institution focusing on international public policy issues. Its research is nonpartisan and nonproprietary. CSIS does not take specific policy positions; accordingly, all views, positions, and conclusions expressed in these publications should be understood to be solely those of the authors.