STABILITY FOR SECURITY OR SECURITY FOR STABILITY? Reflecting Upon Strategic Stability Motives in Security Policy

Publication Categories

Strategic stability emerged as a concept in the Cold War realities of the U.S.-Soviet nuclear stand-off, concentrating on avoidance of an all-out nuclear war break-out during a crisis. In an era of profound interdependence, it was recognized a key to maintaining security and peace among nuclear armed nations being opponents or foes.

The Cold War strategic stability analysis focused entirely on the U.S.-Soviet nuclear competition, specifically on their intercontinental nuclear capabilities. However, even though stability notion in the Cold War strategic lexicon has always had its entire focus on nuclear arsenals, there has been no particular discourse on “nuclear stability” which would narrowly emphasize the ‘nuclear nature’ of the issues covered by the concept. Instead, the wording of “strategic stability” suggests the focus on the stabilizing effect for a critically important matter, i.e. a matter of the highest, strategic priority.


Julia Fetisova, Ph.D.

PIR Center (The Russian Center for Policy Studies)