Trust, cooperation and the Asia-Pacific nuclear balance

Andrew Futter (Leicester) and Ben Zala (Birmingham)




United States foreign policy towards the Asia-Pacific region is set to be fundamentally altered by two developments in Washington's defence policy. The first, much publicised change is the announcement of a so-called 'pivot' towards the region in terms of overall defence strategy. The second, largely going unnoticed but occurring at roughly the same time, is a move towards a far greater role for advanced conventional weaponry in the US defence posture and the subsequent effect on both nuclear deterrence thinking and practice. This paper analyses the interaction of these two trends and discusses a central tension between short-term and long-term challenges for the United States arising from this situation, and suggests that contrary to current developments, a strategy underpinned by traditional notions of nuclear deterrence may provide the most productive basis for future regional security and stability.

Dr. Andrew Futter

Andrew Futter is a Lecturer in International Politics at the University of Leicester, having completed his PhD at the University of Birmingham in 2011. His main research interests include contemporary nuclear policy, ballistic missile defence, nuclear non-proliferation, and changing conceptions of nuclear deterrence (particularly the impact of cyber warfare on nuclear strategy). He has published articles in Defence Studies, Comparative Strategy, Defense & Security Analysis and European Security, and is currently finalising his monograph 'Ballistic missile defence and US national security policy', which will be published by Routledge next year.

Mr Ben Zala

Ben Zala is the Director of the Sustainable Security Programme at the Oxford Research Group and a PhD candidate in International Relations at the University of Birmingham. He is also the Editorial Assistant for the academic journal Civil Wars (published by Routledge). He has published on nuclear proliferation, IR theory and non-traditional security issues including in Security Challenges, Cooperation & Conflict and the RUSI Journal.