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Tempting Fate: Why Nonnuclear States Confront Nuclear Opponents

Paul C. Avey


Why would countries without nuclear weapons even think about fighting nuclear-armed opponents? A simple answer is that no one believes nuclear weapons will be used. But that answer fails to consider why nonnuclear state leaders would believe that in the first place. This book argues that the costs and benefits of using nuclear weapons create openings that weak nonnuclear actors can exploit. It uses four case studies to show the key strategies available to nonnuclear states: Iraqi decision-making under Saddam Hussein in confrontations with the United States; Egyptian leaders' thinking about the ... More

Keywords: nuclear weapons, nonnuclear states, Iraq, Saddam Hussein, Egypt, China, Soviet Union, Berlin Blockade

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2019 Print ISBN-13: 9781501740381
Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2020 DOI:10.7591/cornell/9781501740381.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Paul C. Avey, author
Virginia Tech