Rethinking extended nuclear deterrence in the defence of Australia

Nuclear energy Australia North America

This paper examines the foundations and rationale for Australian reliance on US assurances of extended nuclear deterrence (END).

The Australian model of END “is marked by its lack of public presence, a lack of certainty about its standing and character in American eyes, its lack of a direct nuclear threat, and its resurgence at a time when nuclear abolition possibilities are being embraced by the leader of the deterrence provider.” Australian policy, Tanter argues, “amounts to a claim that the nuclear guarantee is necessary ‘just in case’ – though without any plausible specifics.” “The fundamental questions”, he concludes, “remain as Percovich has outlined them for other cases: what threats, what probabilities, what alternatives? These have never been seriously discussed in public in Australia.”

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