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

  • Paolo Rosa
Chapter

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.

Keywords

Action-reaction Strategic culture Mao’s military thought 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of TrentoTrentoItaly

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