Approaches to nuclear warfighting

A new study by a University academic argues that current passive and static conceptualizations of Chinese approaches to nuclear and conventional deterrence are no longer appropriate.

Dr James Johnson, Honorary Fellow in the School of History, Politics and International Relations, has published an article in Asian Security Journal .

Recent evidence indicates that these postures are far more integrated, flexible, and dynamic than Beijing’s official rhetoric suggests and that during the past decade a de facto shift toward a limited nuclear war-fighting posture has already taken place.

Dr Johnson says: “By applying an international Relations structural-realist lens to conceptualize a relatively under-researched discourse that relates to recent indications that China is contemplating the deployment of nuclear weapons for war-fighting (or victory-denial) purposes. A radical doctrinal shift of this kind (or even the perception of one) could presage a paradigm shift in China’s long-standing nuclear posture and the nuclear balance in Asia."