The importance of the issue of missile defence was underlined at the end of 2012 and in the first few months of 2013 by several events, including Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defence, NATO’s Patriot deployments to the Turkish–Syrian border and the nuclear and missile crisis in North Korea.
The report adds to the ongoing discussion about the relationship between missile defence and nuclear deterrence while keeping in mind the vision of a world free of nuclear weapons promoted by the current U.S. administration. The interconnections between missile defence and nuclear deterrence are complicated. While in some cases MD development can lead to a decrease in nuclear arsenals, in some regions it might have a more negative effect of fuelling nuclear arms races.
The added value of the report is its wide range: readers will find perspectives on missile defence presented by authors dealing with these issues in not only the transatlantic and European contexts but also in Russia, the Middle East, South Asia and the Far East.
Regardless of the various perspectives, contexts and conclusions of the report’s individual chapters, there is no disagreement that missile defence is already influencing the thinking about nuclear weapons and deterrence. It also reveals that the interconnections between missile defence and nuclear deterrence might be more complicated than any idealistic expectations about the former as a substitute for the latter.
The role of missile defence in shaping the security environment will only be growing. We encourage every reader to engage in further exchanges of opinions with our staff and all the authors of this report.