A micro approach to mathematical arms race analysis

Adam Aboughoushe
Even with the end of the Cold War, the question, Were the United States and the Soviet Union engaged in an action-reaction arms race? remains important and controversial. The bulk of empirical mathematical arms race research suggests that the US and USSR were not so engaged. Indeed, most such research into the matter suggests that US arms acquisitions were driven overwhelmingly by internal or domestic forces, as were Soviet arms acquisitions. Given the longstanding political, economic and
more » ... economic and military rivalry, between the US and USSR, the finding that they were not engaged in an arms race is perplexing. This is particularly so with respect to nuclear weapons acquisitions. Orthodox nuclear deterrence theory clearly posits that the attempt by each side to maintain a balance of nuclear forces with the other and hence deter the other from launching a first-strike should result in an action-reaction nuclear arms race. Why, then, does the overwhelming mass of quantitative research suggest that the opposite was true, in practice, in the US-Soviet case? The problem, in part, has been that researchers have been using underspecified mathematical models of action-reaction arms race interaction. The most famous of these models is Richardson's 1960 action-reaction model. Researchers have long been aware that Richardson's model is underspecified and as such that it may not be capable of revealing the true nature of US-Soviet military interaction. Since the late 1960s, arms race researchers have attempted to move beyond Richardson's simple arms race specification. Several new approaches to arms race analysis have subsequently emerged: the game theoretic approach, the economic (stock adjustment) approach, and the expectations (adaptive, extrapolative, and rational) approach. Taken individually, neither of these approaches has, however, yielded much fruit. In this dissertation, the game, stock adjustment, and rational expectations approaches were combined for the first time into a single, more comprehensive, ana [...]
doi:10.14288/1.0086659 fatcat:7ubdgifftba3jf6cxwlrulc4w4