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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Arrows and shields : a new type of arms competition in northeast Asia Clermont, Jean

Abstract

This thesis examines the development and deployment of ballistic missiles and Theater Missile Defense (TMD) systems in Northeast Asia. It argues that the current arms dynamic in Northeast Asia constitutes a new type of arms competition, which has significant implications for regional security and for the study of arms races. This thesis makes clear that the highly sophisticated anti-missile systems currently under development will eventually be deployed in Northeast Asia. Such deployments will increase political and military tensions in the region. Moreover, the introduction of TMD systems is likely to spark the development and deployment of more missiles, along with counter-measures and multiple warheads, potentially transforming the regional arms competition into an arms race. This thesis also argues that the current literature on arms races cannot fully grasp the situation in Northeast Asia. Ballistic missiles have undoubtedly been the most destabilizing weapons deployed in Northeast Asia in the 1990s. However, measuring arms competition solely in terms of military expenditure does not capture the importance of these destabilizing weapons. Moreover, the literature on arms races, which has traditionally defined arms competitions as an offensive-versus-offensive dynamic, is blind to the current defensive dimension of the Northeast Asian arms competition.

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