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This book addresses the under-researched discourse of the evolution of Chinese nuclear posture, and in particular, explains the absence from this evolution of a coherent and well-defined operational doctrine. Using a neoclassical realist framework, the book explains why China, after having launched a crash programme in the mid-1950s to develop a nuclear deterrent, did not debate a clear operational doctrine with respect to targeting and employment until the mid-1980s.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. Introduction: Competing Explanations for the Underdevelopment of China’s Nuclear Doctrine

Abstract
This chapter analyses the different explanations of China’s nuclear doctrine and their limits. When China tested its first atomic bomb and entered the exclusive club of nuclear states, it could learn from the other countries about the complex debate on nuclear doctrine: deterrence stability versus instability; counterforce strategy versus countervalue strategy; general war versus limited nuclear war; strategic employment versus tactical use; etc. All of these cases notwithstanding, Beijing chose not to elaborate on the development of a military doctrine about targeting and employment. A first explanation for the underdevelopment of China’s nuclear doctrine is based on a rational model. A second group of explanations takes into consideration the role played by the traditional political-military culture in the development of China’s nuclear doctrine. The third group of explanations focuses on the communist leaders’ belief systems.
Paolo Rosa

Chapter 2. A Neoclassical Realist Approach to Military Doctrines

Abstract
This chapter describes some of the major explanations of military doctrines. In particular, three approaches are analysed: The balance of power model; the organisational model; and the strategic culture approach. The balance of power model emphasises the role of international factors to explain the development of military doctrines. It emphasises the international structure, the distribution of power and the role played by external threats and action-reaction logic in stimulating the development of military doctrines. The organisational model stresses the role played by organisational culture and bureaucratic interests. The strategic culture approach stresses the importance of socially embedded images of international politics and war for the development of military doctrine. After a review of these approaches, a neoclassical realist model is advanced.
Paolo Rosa

Chapter 3. China’s Nuclear Programme: Origins and Progress

Abstract
In this chapter, a brief history of China’s nuclear programme is presented. It focuses on three topics: first, the role of Mao’s thought in China’s nuclear policy; second, the main steps in the development of China’s nuclear arsenal; and third, the elaboration of the “no-first-use” doctrine that for approximately three decades represented China’s only declared nuclear policy.
Paolo Rosa

Chapter 4. Nuclear Doctrine as a Continuation of Factional Politics by Other Means, 1964–1971

Abstract
This chapter analyses the period from 1964 to 1971, which followed the first nuclear test. This period was characterised by a very dangerous international environment (the Indochina War, the clash with the USSR on the Ussuri River, and paranoia about a possible Soviet decapitation nuclear attack), a complicated domestic situation (Cultural Revolution and the fall of Lin Biao) marked by hard factionalism, and a strategic debate captured by domestic struggle so that the development of the nuclear doctrine was a sort of continuation of “factionalism by other means”.
Paolo Rosa

Chapter 5. Elite Stability and Nuclear Doctrine Formulation, 1978–1989

Abstract
This chapter analyses the development of China’s nuclear doctrine during the period from 1978 to 1989. These years were characterised by a more relaxed international situation, although Chinese leaders were still worried about the implications of particular ominous events for national security: the disastrous Vietnam War of 1979, the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, and the launching of the Strategic Defence Initiative (SDI) by the Reagan Administration. Domestically, the post-Maoist period was characterised by a form of soft factionalism, a return to a “normal” pattern of politics, and greater elite stability. The strategic debate centred on the evolution of the concept of the “People’s War” into that of the “People’s War under modern conditions”. The nuclear doctrine was characterised by a more articulated elaboration of targeting and employment concepts and included ideas about war-fighting and tactical nuclear weapons.
Paolo Rosa

Chapter 6. Conclusions

Abstract
The conclusion provides a summary of the main research findings. The explanations of the Chinese nuclear doctrine, which analyse separately international factors, strategic culture, and leaders’ belief systems have several shortcomings. The model used in this work, based on neoclassical realism, consents to solve the puzzles inherent to the studies presented. It combines both international variables and unit-level variables to explain the way a country reacts to international threats/opportunities.
Paolo Rosa

Backmatter

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