Deterrence and Nuclear Strategy: A Conceptual Analysis

  • Jan Ludvík
Keywords: deterrence, coercive diplomacy, nuclear strategy, nuclear weapons, MAD


The text explores various theoretical approaches to the concept of deterrence. It links deterrence with other strategies that utilize a threat of military action to achieve political goals. Furthermore, the difference between deterrence by punishment and deterrence by denial is highlighted in the article. To develop the debate further, the various roles of nuclear weapons in deterrence are examined, while four types of nuclear deterrence strategies – namely nuclear primacy, maximum assured destruction, minimum assured destruction, and automatic deterrence – are distinguished. The text shows the unique role of the strategy of nuclear primacy. This strategy relies on denial, while the conceptual foundations of the other three strategies lie in punishment, and it is well suited not only for deterrence, but also for compellence, as it eliminates mutuality from the deterrence relation.

Author Biography

Jan Ludvík

Born in 1984, he studied at the Faculty of Social Sciences of Charles University and the University of Richmond. He is a researcher at the Center for Security Policy CESES FSV UK. At the same time he teaches Strategic Studies and Security Policy of the Czech Republic at the Department of International Relations of the Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University. His research interests include issues of strategic studies, US foreign and security policy and foreign and security policy of the Czech Republic.