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Credible threat – Does nuclear deterrence work?

30 October, 2018 @ 17:30 - 19:00

B-52 Stratofortress refuels over the Pacific, April 2014. (Photo: US Air Force)

Credible threat – Does nuclear deterrence work?

Centre for Opposition Logo

The Centre for Opposition Studies at the University of Bolton invites you to a discussion seminar with Dr Andrew Corbett, Kings College London, and Dr Julian Lewis MP, Chairman of the Defence Select Committee

Chaired by John Hayes CBE, MP

National security and defence policy is perhaps the ultimate example of the politics of opposition. Countries seek to protect their citizens from external threats by making judgements about the intentions and capabilities of potential international opponents. The ability and willingness of states to oppose one another through armed conflict is a fundamental aspect of understanding international power dynamics. In this area of politics more than most, the phrase “know thine enemy” has direct relevance.

The debate over nuclear deterrence exemplifies these issues. In the 21st century, the link between the principle of deterrence and war-fighting capability is more tenuous and less intimate than it has ever been. Conversely, the role of nuclear forces in the British deterrence and defence posture has never been more complex. Popular thinking tends to consider the UK’s Trident missiles as assuring retaliation after any aggression against vital national interests, but the purpose of deterrence is to prevent aggression in the first place. So how do nuclear forces deter?

In this seminar, the expert speakers will address these and other associated issues, including how the UK’s nuclear capability fits with NATO’s overall policy, and how effective is the “nuclear diplomacy” of Russia’s President Putin.

Tuesday, 30th October 2018 at Room 8, House of Commons, at 17:30

To register your interest in attending this event, please email ku.ca1585664358.notl1585664358ob@se1585664358iduts1585664358noiti1585664358soppo1585664358-stne1585664358ve1585664358.


The Rt Hon Julian Lewis is the Chairman of the House of Commons Defence Committee. He has been Conservative MP for New Forest East since 1997. From 2010 to 2015, he was a member of the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament, becoming a Privy Councillor in March 2015. He was Shadow Defence Minister for the Royal Navy, the nuclear deterrent and strategic issues from November 2002 until May 2010 – except for a period as Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office between September 2004 and the May 2005 General Election. He is the author of two books and many articles on military and defence matters.

Dr Andrew Corbett is a teaching fellow at the Defence Studies Department, King’s College London. His first career in the Royal Navy submarine service spanned the end of the Cold War and included Command of 2 Trident submarines, capability management in the MOD and development of 21st century NATO deterrence and defence strategy. He holds a PhD in Defence Studies from King’s College London and an MPhil in International Relations from the University of Cambridge. His main research interests concern the use of nuclear deterrence as a strategic tool in the 21st century, and his current research project concerns the ethics of nuclear deterrence.


30 October, 2018
17:30 - 19:00
Event Category:


House of Commons
Room 8, House of Commons, Houses of Parliament, Westminster
London, SW1A 0AA United Kingdom