This chapter lays out the volume's main arguments in brief. Contrary to the usual focus on superpowers and Cold War nuclear competition, the chapter proposes a different dynamic. It asks what strategies and choices certain states will make about their nuclear weapons and how those decisions about nuclear strategy can affect international relations and conflict. Examining the decisions that regional nuclear powers—such as China, India, Pakistan, Israel, France, and South Africa—have made about their arsenals thus far, and their resulting behavior, helps address these questions. Regional nuclear powers, for systematic and predictable reasons, choose clearly identifiable nuclear postures and these postures matter to a regional power's ability to deter conflict. These countries' nuclear choices, therefore, provide valuable insight into the crucial challenges of contemporary nuclear proliferation and international stability.
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