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The Nuclear Taboo and Non-Western Regional Powers

The premise of this study is that non· Western countries may have differing views on the so-called “nuclear taboo” and the usability of nuclear weapons. Social and cultural norms, experiences with nuclear weapons, and regional security dynamics may lead newer nuclear powers to different conclusions about the circumstances under which nuclear use could be contemplated. This study will examine three non-Western cases - India, Iran, and Pakistan - to identify their cultural, social, and experiential differences and how these differences influence how these countries view the nuclear taboo. Western, especially American, ideas about the usability of nuclear weapons are likely to differ from those of newer, non-Western nuclear weapon sillies. The research team will investigate the circumstances under which these countries might consider the use of nuclear weapons and to determine the implications of these conclusions for U.S. non-proliferation policy and strategy.
NPS Naval Research Program
Office of the Chief of Naval Operations