75 years ago, on August 6, 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima, Japan, instantly killing around 78,000 people. Three days later, the Truman administration released another on Nagasaki, ushering in a nuclear age which soon became defined by the Cold War and the concept of nuclear deterrence. While ‘classical’ nuclear deterrence theory continues to guide our understanding of contemporary security and defence today, how relevant is it to a 21st century context?
Drawing on a recent paper published by Chatham House’s International Security Programme, the panellists examine contested themes in contemporary policymaking on deterrence.
What are the underlying assumptions that shape deterrence practice, and do they hold true in 2020?
Can nuclear deterrence be strengthened in responding to current international and regional security challenges?
How do emerging technologies challenge deterrence?
And as some experts argue that the lines between conventional and nuclear deterrence are becoming increasingly blurred, could the threatened use of nuclear weapons become a ‘new normal’?